Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Some of the best are the Simplest

By: Samantha S. Daviss

Seems as of lately our lives have been super chaotic. Between school activities, after school obligations, my personal and professional responsibilities, not to mention that my family and I are building what we can only pray is our “Forever House”. It is all so exciting, but we have a lot on our plates right now.

We seem to go from appointment to appointment, job to job, and place to place with no rest for the weary. But this past Friday night, I was lucky enough to get to stay home with my boys and play on the floor with them, and watch them just be boys. Who would have thought that that young girl at Texas A&M University, or that young energetic 20-something would be excited and look forward to a Friday night at home? Funny how our priorities change.

The house pretty much looked like a hurricane blew through it, but at the end of the night I just stood there smiling at the mess I had to endure and put away. I am pretty sure every single toy was pulled out of our shelving system and utilized. We managed to build tent houses for everyone, all connected by tunnels; and every single stuffed animal in the house was lined up like a row of soldiers awaiting their orders.

We rounded our evening out with pancakes for dinner followed up by baking cookies together. I have never seen them more excited to be together, and the fact of the matter was it was just a nice quiet evening in our house.

We all seem to forget that it is the simplest things in life that make us all smile. I was the happiest I had been in a really long time. We were all home together, warm and cozy, playing simple mindless games, and just enjoying the fact that we were there together.

Kids are pretty resilient people; they will go and do just about anything you require of them, with very few complaints. At least that is how my kiddos are; but to see them at home playing, using their imaginations, and giggling over a few chocolate chip cookies that they intently watched baking the full 15 minutes was absolutely the most peaceful blessing I had received in a long, long time.

So from that moment on I made it my personal vow to take each one of my boys on a “date” at least once a month, individually. I have tried to do it in the past, but something always comes up; but no more…we are going to have special one-on-one mommy time. The years with all of them are slipping away too quickly and I need them to realize that the quiet, playful, at-home moments are the most important. Not the trips, the gifts, or the money spent on them, but the time spent on them.

I need them to realize that no matter what happens in their lives, where they go, what they do, or who they end up with … their mom and dad will always be there for them to share in the quiet moments. 

Whether or not they want to talk, or just sit in silence, we will be there no matter what.

So sometimes it’s better to just keep things simple, clean and to the point. Baking cookies, building blanket forts, or just dangling your feet into the side of a pool or over the edge of a dock. They just need to know that you are there. We think we are giving them attention by running them around from activity to activity, feeding them, clothing them; but they need more, they need to know that for a few solid hours they are the center of your attention, no outside distractions, or curiosities, just you and them. 

They need to know what you always tell them…that they are the center of your world.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tell them how you feel

By: Samantha S. Daviss

I have said it before, but showing your emotions is not a bad thing. In fact it reminds those in your life just how you feel about them, and where they stand in your thoughts and heart on a daily basis. If you show them in a joyful and positive manner, then they know you love them and how important they are to you. But if you show them in a negative style, then they will have nothing to feed off of other than uncertainty and destructive actions from you.

Recently one of my closest friends in the entire world almost lost her mom to a tragic car accident. Sadly the other driver did lose their life; and this accident happened in the blink of an eye. The two drivers were each going to their respective places of work, just minding their own business on a sunny Monday afternoon. But the next thing the two of them knew, was that their lives, and their family’s lives had been changed forever.

This woman (my friend’s mom) is a fighter, and I have no doubt that this tragedy will not put her under. But she was considered in serious condition at the scene of the accident and for a while after at the hospital. I know in my heart, she never woke up that morning, giving it a second thought whether or not she should go to work, for fear her life (and one of a total stranger) would forever be changed.

But you see, it was changed…they both were…forever. So the importance of never leaving the house angry, or sad, or with any sort of ambiguity between you and your loved ones is so important. It is actually an unwritten rule that we should all follow on a daily basis. Tell those around you just how much you love them. Watch how you speak to those around you…your tone carries a lot of weight with others. Think about how your actions or decisions may affect or hurt those around you. And really think hard to yourself, is that issue really worth arguing about…or berating the other person about? In the big scheme of things, probably not.

Too many bad things are happening in today’s society, too often. We are all moving too fast and missing the big picture of life. Just the other day it was in the news that a few schools in our surrounding areas had received bomb threats. So who would have woken up that morning thinking their child was in danger…certainly not the parents of Sandy Hook elementary school (almost two years ago). I am not sure what is happening with our society today. I know bad things and wrong choices have always been made since the dawn of time. But society today just feels so disconnected from each other. We are managing to hurt each other’s feelings through numerous portals of social media, and the sad part about that is, no one seems to realize we are hurting or damaging the emotions of others around us. Everyone just says and does things flippantly on social media these days without a second thought to the repercussions it may have on those around them.

It may not be intentional damage being done, but nonetheless it is being done. So that to me is why it is so very important to tell those around you just how you feel about them. Tell them you miss them. Tell them you love them. Tell them just how much they mean to you, and how they have impacted your life.

Start looking for the good in everyone around you, instead of ridiculing and pinpointing the negative. This world is a great big beautiful place covered in millions of interesting and fascinating people, and we all need to just learn to embrace one another.

So the next time your kid does something that bugs you, try to talk it out with them and not stay angry. The next time your BFF rubs you the wrong way…let them know it. Don’t hold that animosity inside, because you will, over time, start to resent them. And if something were to happen, you don’t want your final memories of them to be feelings of exasperation.

And for some reason the people that are closest to us are the ones we seem to lash out at the most. I guess it is because of a comfort level that we have with them. We feel we can say or do anything to them, and their unconditional love for us will always be there. But that is the furthest from the truth. 

Be the kindest to those closest to you, especially the one you share a bed with. Because after all, they are the one you wake up to every morning, the one you chose to share your life with, and the one you will regret losing the most (especially if your last words were ill-spoken).

Don’t think showing your emotions is silly or puerile; because there may come a day that you won’t get to hold that person, love that person, and tell that person just how much they have meant to you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Things I wish my “Toddler Self” Knew

By: Samantha S. Daviss

As an adult, of course we will look back and say “If I knew then, what I know now”…but most of that applies to life lessons, life events, and major bumps in the road that we had to overcome, if we had only “known then, what we know now”.

This collection of thoughts and activities is a little more rudimentary, in the fact that it is just common sense, for us as adults:

1)      Sleep…it’s funny how kids fight wanting to nap, or go to bed at night, or even fall asleep to the hum of the road in a comfy car seat; but nonetheless they still fight it. As if it is some big surprise that they have to sleep. We all need it, and they don’t know that one day they will desire, nay revere sleep. As an adult…all we want to do is sleep. Between work, kids, activities, responsibilities, and life goals…we never seem to get enough of it. What I wouldn’t give for someone to carry me from the car and lay me in my bed and tell me I couldn’t get out until the morning. Ahhh…one can dream.

2)      Eat…Did someone say food? You can eat whatever and as much as you want, as long as it is healthy with the occasional treat thrown in…and not gain an ounce? Sign me up. Oh to be able to eat all day long, whatever I wanted and not be able to eat enough to put on weight because my metabolism is so fast and trying to keep up with my high energy levels. But yet kids sit there avoiding their food only to play or refuse what is put in front of them.

3)      Laundry …the days of your clothes magically appearing cleaned, folded, or hung up a day or two after you throw them into the laundry hamper. It was mystifying, almost like a laundry fairy lives with you. As a child you never really thought about the fact that you always had clothes to wear. You opened your closet and there they were, just waiting to be worn. But now as an adult, my laundry room is my “special room”. You know how men have a “man cave”? Well so do I…and it has a wonderful hum and vibration 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is quite pacifying.

4)      Bath time…Jackpot! To walk into your bath room, with a drawn bath, filled with bubbles, toys, and nice warm water and the scent of lavender to calm me down for the evening before I curl up in bed. Who wouldn’t want that? Well, apparently kids! It is a battle every night to make them realize that they have to get the dirt off their faces and from between their toes. Now, as an adult I am just lucky if I can sneak away for 10 minutes to shower in peace and quiet without an audience.

5)      The Stroller… it is a constant battle to get kids to stay in their strollers. They are always climbing out, or crying because you have strapped them in with a five-point harness for safety. If I had only known then…I would have been cruising around, looking at the giraffes at the zoo, or taking in the sights at Disney World, or even enjoying people watching at the mall…all chill-like with my bottle in one hand and a rattle in the other. But now, I am behind that stroller, with nine bags strapped to me and struggling to push it over the rocky streets or up the sixty degree incline. Man I would love to put my feet up, be pushed around, and maybe sip on a very dirty martini in my stroller, today.

6)      The hip…again, what is with always wanting to get down and walk? I would love to be carried around on someone’s hip all day long. At a higher height, able to see everything, and not needing to exert any form of energy. But now I am the one carrying the 45 pounds on my hip, and I am pretty sure that after three kids one hip is forcibly higher than the other one; either that or my other leg is shorter.

7)      The Bag…they see it, they know it, but they have no idea how much effort is put into the “mom bag”. They know all their favorite snacks, books, trucks, dolls, and toys are in there. They also know if they fall there are Band-Aids, Neosporin inside, plus wipes and diapers when needed. What they don’t know is that it weighs about 25 pounds and has created a dent in our shoulders. I would love for someone to have all my needs on hand in a cute monogrammed bag, like headphones for silence, or a romantic novel, or yet again, a martini shaker, so I can have a cocktail whenever I desired.

Kids these days (well kids of any day) just don’t know how great they have it. If I had only know then, not necessarily any wisdom that needed to be imparted on me, but just the knowledge of knowing how to chill and enjoy life…toddler-hood would have been awesome, and there would have been none of this “terrible two’s” stuff.