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Things I Learned From My Daughter (before she became a teenager)

Young girl in water

I’ve realized over the years that I can be pretty intense at times, especially when I’m in the middle of writing a book and my mind is mulling over plot, tone, character etc. etc. I’m also one of those people who worry way too much. I used to believe that dwelling on problems and trying to figure out possible outcomes would give me some control over my life.

Yet, I’ve come to know that the opposite is true.

Trying to figure things out and immersing myself in worry and fear only served to keep me out of control. And, to top that, the stuff I was perturbed about usually worked out in ways oftentimes better than any scenario I had imagined. My worst-case imaginings never came to pass.

Luckily, I have a daughter who (before teenager-hood set in) would say something that helped change my perspective and snap me out of my spinning mind.

Here are some of those comments that have stuck with me over the years:

  • Mom, you think too much
  • I’m playing in the moment. Come play.
  • Lighten up!
  • What’s the point of living if you don’t have fun?
  • Come sit next to me.

And whenever I listened, we’d sit back and paint or color or play, while humming made-up tunes or singing the ‘song of the day’.

Sometimes it’s just about being.

This last sentence didn’t come from my daughter. It’s what I’ve come to believe. It’s what I got out of her attempts to engage me in the moment whenever I’d be running around like a headless chicken trying to get things done or attempting to check off one more item on my To Do list while writing and meeting self-imposed writing deadlines and all too real translation deadlines… all the while forgetting the point of having a child; of being a mother.

In the past few years there have been an increasing number of articles and books about staying in the ‘present moment’ and not letting our minds dwell on the past (which we can never change) or the future (where we place deadlines and limitations based on our beliefs).

The thing is, my daughter got this. She knew it in her soul. I had to learn – maybe even relearn since I was a child once upon a time – what she, and in fact kids in general, know instinctively and intuitively.

Worrying is a waste of time and an amazing drain on our energy.

So here’s to letting go of the heavy stuff, the negative thoughts and worries, the limitations I’ve chosen, albeit subconsciously, to embrace.

“Lighten up, Mommy. You think too much. Come sit next to me.”

“Thank you, my darling daughter. Now, let’s play.”

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