Sunday, April 26, 2009

YES

Word of the Day today is: YES

Though I made my mother swear to keep me from falling in love and marrying until I was at least 26 and had my PHD in Psychology (yeah, I once thought such a thing was possible), I was a young bride. Nineteen years old, to be exact. At twenty-six I was pregnant with my fourth child. A young bride, and a young mother of a chunk of kids. Goodness, I am amazed any of us survived me! So many mistakes. Oh my, it turns my stomach to think of it! I was just barely learning to deal with myself when I became responsible for so many powerful young souls. In an attempt to follow the guidance of the mother I admired the most, I tried to keep the reigns tight like my mother had. At least it seemed so in my own mind...that my mom kept tight reigns on her kids. But we're all fairly independent souls, so I'm not sure where that notion came from, except that as a kids we knew exactly...I repeat...e-x-a-c-t-l-y what to expect when we disobeyed our mother! I thought a mother-in-control was a mother who said "No" as a matter of course. "Yes" was a word to be used for only the most perfect occasions. So the day my friend Sally Jo gave me a book by her other friend Jeroldeen Edwards was pivotal for me. One of the essays in her book, which was about the joys and sorrows of parenting something like thirteen children, alluded to her belief that as parents we should try to create within ourselves an instinctive response of YES to our children's desires. YES should prevail until reason supplies evidence in support of NO.
"Yes, Love, we should go out and jump in the rain," or "Yes, I do think we should read another book." I had not considered that these might be appropriate answers. It was rather liberating for me, though I do not profess to have always followed this theory in my parenting. But I know it helped at some level, to have given myself permission to think outside the box of order and control.
Tonight we waved goodbye to my sisters and other family members as they returned to CA. It got late. Sarah and Dave, who are staying with us this month while she works at Tanner Medical Clinic, walked down the street from Gram and Libby's at 11:00. Two year old Anna Bella and five year old Timothy got into their PJ's and brushed their teeth. "OK, time for bed now!" Sarah whispered. Timo started to sob..."But you promised we would have our family movie night!" Tears from both little sets of eyes, and really sad, really tired moans, and Mommy looked at Daddy. Soon enough they were all snuggled into pillows on the TV room floor with a 1/2 hour Disney show.
The rest of the "normal", "scheduled" world may criticize. Snuggling on the floor at midnight when work begins at 8 am might not work for them, and that's OK. But for this little family, whose mommy spends nearly 100 hours a week driving to and from the hospital where she pulls 16 hour shifts in an attempt to fulfill a very big family dream, it is the right thing. I celebrate their ability to turn away from social mores, the ones that tell good Christian women they have only one place they should be, that tell good Christian men where they should be as well, and that tell good Christian children they should be in bed and sleeping at 11:30 pm. I peeked in just five minutes ago and saw love bouncing back and forth there on the line of pillows of our play room floor. This was an exercise in YES. Not the YES of a lazy soul, but the YES of one who hears the sticks of the Big Drummer making the beat for their song.
Some YES' are mistakes, this I know. And so are some NO's. But I have learned that when we are building trust; when we are building friendship; when we are nurturing the ability to dream big and to walk with a little risk in order to get to higher places, YES is the word of choice. At least by instinct. NO may prevail in the end, which is often the right thing, but YES bubbling up first makes for sweeter moments and sweeter memories.

10 comments:

  1. Hi Cori - My mom sent me your link and this is the first post I have read and I love it. People think I say yes too much with my kids ... well, maybe I don't! Thank you for your insight. And Jaroldeen is one of my true heros from my youth. She is inspiring - as are YOU! With Love - Polly

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  2. Hi Cori,

    GREAT sentiment and great piece here. I have only one thing to say; YES.

    Bob

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  3. Hi Cori. Kristen Randle sent me on over to visit ya and I have to say that I am glad she did.

    I love your thoughts here. Instinctively (not sure why or how) I have always felt I should say, "yes" as often as possible. Even if he answer is, "no". To find a way to say "yes".

    "Mommy, can you read to me"? (I'm up to my elbows in bread dough. Obviously not a good time.) Rather than say, "no, not right now". Say, "yes, in a little bit after I get the bread in the oven".

    Thanks for letting me visit.

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  4. I think this is the beauty of parenting. We as mothers and fathers get to decide what is best for our little ones... and we know them best so it usually works out just fine.

    i have learned to say "yes" a lot more in my life because of you and for that I will be forever grateful.

    love you. and sarah too!

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  5. Thank you! I SO needed to read this. You did say "yes" as a parent and look at the wonderful fruit of your labors. I hope I can instill some of this in my children. We joke around our house that I am the 'Captain Von Trapp' and Casey is the 'Maria' of the family. Thanks for such wisdom.

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  6. First of all, I will speak for the group by saying "praise the Lord, the word of the day is still alive and kicking!" Thank you for not forgetting all of us who make change in our habits for the better after reading your wise thoughts. Yes!

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  7. I have felt much the same way. And I can see it as the child, looking back on my folks. As a child, you try so hard to do something wonderful - if you take that to the father or the mother and their only response is to deconstruct and teach, it's very hard for your heart to learn hope, somehow.

    You have such a mellow style - like your songs. You are better at these essays than I am. And I always thought I was a little good. You refresh me.

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  8. I have once again learned from you by reading your blog. You are an inspiration. I know I keep repeating myself, but it is so true. Don't ever stop writing. I hope some day these are all published and you are wealthy. If not, the wealth is in knowing that you have touched a bunch of lives on line. WOW. Powerful message from a dear friend. THANKS.

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  9. Awww...make me cry at 4am while I'm blog-stalking on my overnight shift. Thanks for being so understanding and supportive of our completely unconventional life. One day, hopefully, we'll get to a more normal schedule. For now, though, I'm grateful for the moments I have with Timo and Bella, even if some of them are at completely unreasonable hours! :) Thank heaven for blackout curtains and kids who will sleep in... Love you so much!

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  10. Oh that was sweet. I hope I can remember that challenge. It seems to go against my grain!

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