Being a parent causes you to be a lot more self reflective. We all have our flaws, vices, defense mechanisms, and idiosyncrasies about us that our friends and loved ones either love or hate and regardless endure. But when you become a parent you realize that those flaws don't just affect you and those around you, but they play a part in shaping the life of another human being. It's quite overwhelming when you think about it.
One of my many flaws is my inability to think before I act or speak. You might be thinking "What the heck kinda pastor's wife are you?" Well... when I'm counseling and listening to other people's problems, I am very careful of what I say and I take great pains in choosing my words carefully. So that's that... but when it comes to the daily grind and the endless to do lists.... I am the complete antithesis of looking before I leap or thinking before I speak.
Think (Speak+ GNC)
I remember one situation that totally illustrates this about me. My husband wanted to try this prework out mix called JACK3D (Jacked).
So went to the the GNC at the mall and there is no parking. He says he'll loop around the parking lot and drops me off. I rush in the store.
I see a guy stacking protein containers, he smiles and is about to greet me with the GNC shpeel and I cut him off cause I'm in a rush.
"Excuse me, I want to get JACK3D!"
He gives me an awkward look and just looks at me.
"Sorry I'm in a rush I need to get JACK3D now and some vitamins."
I realize he might think it's strange that I'm buying it, so I explain.
"Sorry, I mean my husband wants me to get JACK3D."
He's flushed and just looks at me.
"Do I have something on my face?" I think to myself. "What is wrong with this guy? So awkward."
I say to him with a hint of annoyance "Can you tell me where I can find it?"
Then he realizes what I meant and lets out a relieved nervous laugh. "It's right over here"
At that moment I realized he thought I wanted to get JACKED as in really buff. I felt utterly embarrassed and I couldn't look the guy in the eye as he was finally giving his GNC schpeel about vitamins and JACK3D.
I told Joe what happened when we got home and he laughs but then says he was so happy he was not with me. He'd prob never be able to show his face again at the store.
Another time I remember after our small group we were all talking about Kareoke and my friend who is also Korean American was saying how we should definitely go Kareoke one day. I respond enthusiastically to my friends, "I loooove NRB!"
Immediately you can hear a pin drop and there's this awkward silence and my Korean American friend bursts out laughing hysterically. I realize she and I are the only Koreans in the room and the rest of them do not realize NRB stands for No Rae Bang (Kareoke Room) but they thought I meant ...another thing that NRB stands for. I quickly explain the acronym and you could hear the sigh of relief in the room.
So there you have it. I often don't think before I speak. I also rush into decisions without thinking through them. I jump before knowing what I'm crashing into. In the past that primarily only affect me, and lead me to make poor choices and I would brace myself for the consequences. Now as a mother, the consequences affect another life. My son.
Look (Leap +Preschool)
At the end of the summer there was some turn around with his preschool teachers and we had moved about 25 mins away from his preschool. So, distressed by the turn around and sick of driving through traffic, I swiftly looked for other options closer to home. I visited a preschool and saw their nice clean facilities and the teachers seemed nice and accommodating, so I enrolled him there and patted myself on the back for a job well done.
One thing I didn't take in account though was the depth of love he had for his friends at his old school. I just thought "He's 3 years old, he'll adjust and make new friends." Unfortunately that wasn't the case. He wasn't clicking with the friends at his school and he didn't like the teachers either. Funny thing was, this new preschool was is a widely known chain and was very orderly and institutionalized but that doesn't translate to love and care to a 3 year old. He missed the teachers at his old school and his close group of friends that were together since they were two. Everyday he started asking me about his friends. Where did they go? How come he couldn't see them? I explain that hes going to a new school and he could make new friends. That wasn't enough and he didn't want new friends he wanted the friends he had.
After a month of going to the new school I noticed subtle changes in his demeanor. He's normally nothing but a ball of boundless energy and joy, but you could tell a slight tinge of anxiety touched his normally happy disposition.
Then one day we had to stop by his old preschool because my husband had to meet someone there. I thought it would be a good idea to appease his yearning to see his old friends, so we went with him. As soon as his old classmates saw him squeals of excitement filled the preschool. They were practically mosh pitting him and all of them wanted to get their arms around him.
"Joey!! Joey!! We missed you!!" they exclaim earnestly.
His old teachers came out of their classes to hug and kiss him. What did Joey do?
He stood there crying.
Not just a normal 3 year old boy cry, it was more like weeping. He cried so hard his body started shaking. He ran away from his friends and clung to me for dear life. I was so confused.
"Why is he acting this way? Isn't he happy to see them?"
Then his classmates lined up to go to chapel time, I took my crying boy into my arms and carried him out of the play yard. His whole class starts yelling.
"Joey where are you going?? Come back!! Let's go to chapel!!"
Hearing the sadness and disappointment in their voices and feeling Joey weeping in my arms made me realize. I made a mistake.
When we went home I asked him about why he was so upset. And he said "mommy, because I so sad to see my friends. I want to go to old school... I don't like new school.. I want old school."
I was too brash, thought too little of his feelings, gravely underestimated the depth of love a little boy can have for his friends and the strength of those bonds. I overlooked the fact that his friends became a part of him and seeing them again without knowing if he would ever see them after that, lead him to feel sorrowful.
I ate my words and called his old preschool to see if there were openings. The preschool director said that his classmates were so sad during chapel the day we visited. When the pastor asked them who they wanted to pray for his whole class said "Joey!" Her words compounded my guilt.
So we enrolled him back to his old school. He was so happy and excited to go back. The first day his friends crowded around him and gave him hugs and kisses. He stood there confident and happy to receive all of them, knowing he was back for good.
He's back to his old happy crazy self. I learned to remember that though he is little, I should never make little of his thoughts, feelings, and his friendships. He's 3 years old and has a deep capacity to love, to grieve, be joyful and internalize the situation around him. I realize that I have to be all the more weary of my short comings because they affect him. Hopefully, for my son, I'll do better the next time around to think before I speak and look before I leap.
Its been raining a lot where we are in Hawaii. Its rainy season now but a couple days ago the sun came out for a bit after a full day of rain. I took the kids out to the field across the street from out house and got to take pictures!
Not a day goes by where I am not completely dumbfounded by the beauty of Kaneohe...