The most popular items of choice tend to be my nice camera, my iPhone and any type of gum.
I even tried JUST buying cinnamon gum (in hopes that it would burn their mouth a bit and they would hate it... because truth be told, I don't even really like it), and they STILL swiped pieces!!!
I used to get angry when my kids took these things (especially without asking), so I came to terms with it pretty quick and heavily educated them on how to safely use the camera/iPhone, and to always ask for permission first when taking or using something that wasn't theirs.
Sounds easy right?
Well... there was a stipulation. In return for always asking permission, I had to promise to say YES sometimes to them if they wanted to use my nicest camera, the coveted iPhone or begged for the last piece of gum.
It's funny how life happens in cycles with sharing, don't ya think?
When you're little you're told to SHARE, SHARE, SHARE! Think of others and be nice!
Then as a teenager and young adult, you usually become super self-absorbed. Since you can take care of yourself and don't need other peoples help as much, you tend to be a lot more selfish. The phrases "I" and "Me" come out of your mouth more than you can even imagine, or would like to admit.
Then you get married or into a serious relationship with another person, and all of a sudden you start with the "Us". If you're like most people, you put that other persons needs in front of your own and you start a lot of that sharing stuff again :)
Bank accounts, last names, responsibilities, a place to live and even a bed!
It can be tough. Especially if you've been on your own for a long time.
But then come the kid(s).
Ohhhhh the kids...
They can literally suck the life out of you and leave you lifeless on the bathroom floor in a pool of their dirty, soggy bath towels.
And then magically... fill you up with so much light and happiness that you just cry in the middle of Target for no reason, while shopping for french bread and spaghetti sauce (yes, this happened to me last week)... because really, it hits you like a ton of bricks that YOU made that little, messy, wonderful human being who sings and dances through the aisles without a care in the world!
After having kids, the concept of sharing from a parents perspective is brought to an entirely new level.
Almost 100% of your time, energy, money, thought, worry and love is poured into those little people that you raise/bring into the world.
It's wonderfully exhausting. lol.
Even in the short month or so that I've been home all day, I've had a lot more time to see the importance that being a good parent (according to my own standards) has had on my girls' lives.
It's not that I didn't realize it before, but I just wasn't being as proactive, or nearly as present as I should have been. I'd been so bogged down by a million unnecessary, unimportant work or personal things, that I didn't allow myself enough time to stop and really take it all in. To honestly ENJOY my kids and soak up all the small precious moments I have with them each day.
The laughing and giggling. The hugs and kisses. The quick little shopping trips to grab last minute dinner items. The dancing and the singing...
My list could go on and on.
Sure, money is tighter than it's been in awhile around our house right now, as we transition from a 2 income household down to one - but moving forward in this new journey with a completely different point of view and appreciation for being home while my kids need me the most, has completely changed my outlook on what I do everyday. And most importantly, how I share MY knowledge and life experiences with them, that I've had so far.
Confidence, manners, respect, social awareness, hard work, appreciation for God and this beautiful earth, cultivating talents and being truly kind to ALL people, are just a few of the most important things that both Cason and I are responsible for instilling into our little girls.
Cason's always been really good at living in the moment, but me?... not so much.
Sure, grandparents, friends and neighbors all play a huge roll, but when push comes to shove, EVERY child needs a parent figure or two that they can consistently count on, love and trust.
To enjoy or suffer (something) with others.
To divide one's own and give part to others.
Maybe it means I've been too selfish in the past. Maybe it means that I'm just finally growing up a bit more and giving less thought to what I want for myself and what others think about me or how I say or do things... but this is the first time in my life that I've felt like I WANT to share everything!!!
The appearance of perfection and hopes that I say the "right thing" to my kids, my extended family or even those of you who read my posts, doesn't seem to weigh so heavily on my mind anymore.
Sharing the joy of capturing a fun moment with an awesome camera, playing with a silly app on your iPhone together or indulging in a fruity piece of gum with the people you should be the BESTEST of friends with (psst... that's your kids and significant other) are SO MUCH MORE important than stressing out about the 'what if's' and 'probably shouldn't' scenarios in life.
Isn't it crazy how life works?
How even when we think we've gone down the best road, there's sometimes another one waiting all along for you to find, so that you can learn something new about yourself and grow THAT much more!?
Here's a challenge...
Stop and ask yourself:
"Self, are you happy?"
"Are the 'important' things in my life right now, REALLY that important? Or am I missing the mark?"
PS: Nobody wants to admit that they're doing things wrong, or a little backwards. Human nature makes us defend our choices, ideas and actions. So if you find yourself making excuses or justifying how you run things in your life right now... psshhh, welcome to the club! (I'm sorta the president. ha!)
Maybe this post is just for me.
Maybe I'm the only one who has had a moment where I was forced to move on to a different track in life, only to look back and realize how NOT awesome the last one was... or quickly realize how GREAT the new one is!
Sometimes it just takes being real with yourself, and stepping outside of your current situation and comfort zone, to see how great you REALLY have it - or more importantly - with a few small, yet significant changes, how great things CAN be.
Start sharing wonderful, simple, beautiful moments with the people you love most.
Then take a leap.
It usually only takes about 30 seconds of insane courage to decide that you're going to change your life completely. Even though things ahead may seem uncharted and scary, if you know it's what you're suppose to do, all of the other stuff will fall into place.
Trust your instincts and heart - overwhelming happiness will come right along with it, I promise.