Am I only seeing the problems with my kids?
Last week, my 4-year-old had his yearly follow-up appointment with a surgeon. I dreaded taking all 4 kids along with me — a year ago, we had to wait 2 hours to see the surgeon due to an emergency. Any kind of appointment with 4 kids can be hectic, especially with so many people crammed in a small exam room with only two chairs!
I threw a couple of toy trucks and a few books in my purse before we left and prayed it would be a relatively fast appointment. It turned out we were only there for 15 minutes this year. But I realized something important as the day went on. I noticed that I often get so wrapped up in getting everyone in and out and making sure they are well-behaved that I don’t really notice anything but the problems.
For the most part, my kids did well in the waiting room, and during the appointment; there was a moment when Judah got a little loud when he exuberantly responded to the doctor talking to my kids.
We went to find my sister after the appointment — she works at the hospital. Turns out, she was looking for us too. She asked the receptionist if we were there and the woman responded with, “Oh, you mean the really-put-together mom with a bunch of beautiful kids?”
And after we met some of my sister’s coworkers, she told me that every one of them commented on how well-behaved the kids were. Now, I am not saying this so you think my kids are amazingly well-behaved all the time because they definitely aren’t. We have certainly had our screaming-in-the store moments. I am telling you this because my take on the morning is different than that of these strangers. I was tense and stressed and Judah was starting to get louder and louder. The kids touched things I didn’t want them to touch. And while I would have said the morning went ok, I definitely could have listed all the problems we had.
When it comes to my kids, I tend to notice the problems before I notice all the good things. Some of it is because problems just demand my attention, and some of it is because I am just not taking the time to really notice the positive. I didn’t really think about how my kids sat quietly while I talked to the doctor. I didn’t pay much attention to how Levi kept Titus entertained while we were waiting, or how Eden shared her book with Judah without being asked because he really wanted to look at it too.
How many other things to I miss through out my days? Am I seeing the full story or just the problems that demand my attention?