Years and years ago, I learned a trick that I keep in my back pocket. I pull it out to use when I have weeks that feel more like months. The wise dispenser of this universal knowledge was my then therapist--she would listen to me with her chin resting on the heels of both her hands, while she leaned in, like she was trying to hear the words I didn't say that were hidden between the ones that I did. I sat in her office, lulled by trust into feeling it was her living room, and I would tell her about my life.
"... and and and (hic sob) and... i just can't take on any more, you know? (hic)"
"... oh, that just... sounds like SO much. You really are doing so much."
"... i... i... i know. and i'm tired." (topples over mugful of pens on her desk while grabbing for tissue)
She was so smart, this woman. She knew what I needed was to have someone hear my lamentations without offering advice. Her words were like honey poured down a sore throat. I lapped up her syrupy offering by the eager spoonful. "Sounds like you're doing a lot." "My gosh, how do you do it all?" "Is there anything you can't do?" She was music to my ears.
Those were some mighty fine days in the sun with her. Until she developed psychotherapist burnout. Buh-bye Wisconsin and your soul-crushing winters, hello rejuvenating Arizona with your healing rays. She was gone.
But this treasure of a human being gave me something ever eternal: a pearl of wisdom that I now employ daily, and have even passed on to my children.
Behold, Dr. Suzanne's glistening nugget of treasure:
Don't wait for someone to say "good job." YOU tell yourself, good job.
I call this writing up my own brag sheet. This week has been ripe for it. Getting ready to send my son back to college, which will not be easy on the heart, and preparing my middle boy for his senior year of high school, AND preparing the youngest for junior high--It has been a week. One that needs me to reach around and pat my own shoulder blades with a "Good job, Alexandra!!" Double exclamation points!!
I had a lot to do, my friends, so celebrate with me. Read along to this week's brag sheet:
•Hauled off a vanful of toys, shoes, books, games, clothes to Goodwill.
•Cleaned, repaired, pressed, donated, school uniform items for kids that aren't able to buy uniforms.
•Took a meal to a new mom.
• Wrote a stack of long overdue thank you letters.
• Vacuumed and cleaned the minivan!
• Cooked dinner four times this week.
• Said what the heck and laughed in the face of stacked dishes and laundry and went with the three kids to see Minions.
• Took oldest kids back to school shopping and was patient throughout the selection process.
•At 7:30 a.m. on Monday, I went out to our front yard and had at it, pulling weeds like I was mad at somebody. We no longer look like the only Halloween-ready house in the subdivision.
There is still a lot I didn't do that I need to do before August is over BUT I did do some stuff, and doing some stuff is how you one by one knock the items off the stuff to do list.
Am I right? Or am I right?
GOOD JOB, ALEXANDRA!!
I know. I know.
It's enough to brag about.
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