Letting go of expectations.

 Stuffed into borrowed, hand-me-down winter clothes, Finn was uncomfortable--scared and resistant to going out in the snow. Just two days earlier we went to see the Big Trees and he wasn't dressed warmly enough (because the kid flat-out refuses to wear a coat most of the time). He despised walking in the mud and snow. It took every drop of patience I had to help him have fun (picture frequent, loud three-year-old emotional breakdowns). I realized that I would have to force him into warm clothes for the trip up the mountain.

It was a beautiful, blue-bird day--perfect sledding weather. Finn's little friend was all about it. The two of them were like Frog & Toad. Remember them? Toad tends to be a bit reluctant and a pessimist, while Frog is a glass-half-full kind of guy. 

Finn laid himself down on the snow and refused to walk. I tried making deals like I did in the trees a few days ago: "Walk to that tree over there and then I'll carry you to the next sign". Wasn't working. Finally Jason pulled him on the sled. It was more important for him to have a positive experience then to make him walk on his own, but man, was he stubborn.

Of course, eventually I got him sledding. His cute smile truly melts my heart.

He's like this in almost all new situations. Clinging to me or his dad and sucking on his finger while twirling his hair, it's usually time to go home by the time he warms up. Even though we know we shouldn't, Jason & I get frustrated sometimes: Why can't he jump right in and have fun like the other kids? It worries me. I want so much for him to be happy and fun and adventurous--my expectations get in the way. I try not to let them.

I was a sensitive kid and remember being shy. My emotions were (still are) difficult for me and my parents to deal with. I felt like my mom wanted me to be different--as if she didn't really like me. And that was sad. (It still makes me sad just thinking about it.) She did the best she could. We talked about it as adults, which was so healing for me. I don't blame my parents, I just want to learn from my own past and help Finn. My mom would say to me "Don't be such a worry-wart!", but no one ever told me how not to worry.

Finn needs my understanding and acceptance. He needs my help to learn how to deal with his own fears. I want him to know that it's okay, that I love him when he feels reluctant, or scared, or shy. He can take all the time he needs.  

And even though my parents didn't teach me how not to worry (probably because they didn't know how to show me at the time), they taught me how to persist when I felt defeated or unsure, to look for the positive in people and situations and to believe that I can do whatever I set out to do. I hope I can do the same for my boys.

I think I had a breakthrough on the snow. I will let go of all expectations. It's so simple, yet can be so hard to do.

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