Here’s another example of an empowered child, as told to me by my DIL (daughter-in-law).
Two years ago on the first day of preschool (I was there but didn’t witness it personally), T’s friend was holding her mom’s hand and as they walked up to the door, she stopped, threw back her shoulders and declared, “I am wonderful” and walked inside to face the world.
Apparently, no one could figure out exactly where the phrase came from, as mom said she didn’t recall saying it, but we all agreed THAT is the level of self-confidence we should strive for.
We could put that on our bathroom mirror to see every morning as a daily affirmation, our anthem. We are wonderful warriors.
Take a deep breath, hold your head high and say,
I AM WONDERFUL
Wonder full. Full of wonder.
Wonder: a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.
We could hope for nothing less than to be full of wonder: tending to excite wonder; surprising, extraordinary.
It makes waking up every day just a little happier to be full of wonder as opposed to full of anhedonia; reduced motivation, unable to experience joy in any of the things one had previously found fulfilling. In the DSM-5, anhedonia is a component of depressive disorders, substance-related disorders, psychotic disorders, and personality disorders, where it is defined by either a reduced ability to experience pleasure, or a diminished interest in engaging in pleasurable activities.
It’s like living in a world that’s shades of gray as opposed to one that’s full of color.
Whether you’re a parent or a grandparent, never ever forget that children absolutely absorb our words, positive AND negative.
If your goal is to raise happy, healthy, empowered, imaginative THINKERS, remember that every word you say to them becomes ingrained in their fertile brains and becomes a part of their belief system.
Although I really and truly believe this and it’s been my lifelong philosophy (minus a few weeks of Angel Boy’s angst-filled teenage years), this was reinforced yesterday in the most casual and BEST way.
During one of my FaceTime calls with T, he said, “Grandma, I’m gonna flip the phone and show you this. You’ll think it’s amazing, I know you will.”
He flipped the camera to show me a crystal that his other grandma sent to him.
“Can you believe how sparkly it is, Grandma? I’ll save it to show you after the virus.”
(It seems as if now everything is always “after the virus.”)
Then, wait for it,…wait for it…he says, “Oh, I almost forgot. I’ll flip back. Here I am, Grandma. Here’s your beautiful boy.”
He smiled at me with his daddy’s Imperial jade green eyes and those curls that have a life of their own.
Without a trace of humor or artifice, he was very simply repeating exactly what I said a zillion times, “Could you please flip the phone back so I can see my beautiful boy?”
And when he does, I say, “Oh, good. there you are. That’s who I want to see; my beautiful boy!”
He ABSORBED the positive affirmation–and knows deep inside where it counts–that he is my beautiful and smart and very loved little boy. He KNOWS he is valued for being who he is, not for any accomplishments, but simply for existing.
Haha, my work here is done. He is truly and beautifully empowered, inside and out.
Here’s an easy-to-save graphic with a few important positive affirmations for our children and for ourselves.
“I know I am. I’m a very small person and now you’re almost as big as I am.”
“Let’s compare hands, little Grandma!”
“OH MY GAWD, Grandma. My hand is almost as big as yours now!”
“I know, T, remember I told you that you are growing and growing every day and I stay the same size?”
“You’re my old little Grandma.”
*Yes, I am. (Lolz.)*
“Grandma, can you carry me?”
“I don’t think I can do that anymore, but let me try. You are so tall and SO heavy. I can pick you up, but I can’t carry you now. Daddy will carry you if you’re tired.”
“Daddy, Grandma cut triangles and hearts and circles and squares and I glued them to a piece of paper. Do you wanna see? Grandma said that’s one of the things I’ll do when I go to Kindergarten.”
“Grandma, did your little boy Daddy do that too? Did he like to glue shapes? Did he like to read? Did he like to watch Sesame Street? My Daddy is your little boy, right, Grandma? But he’s a man so how can he be your little boy? He’s big. My Daddy is so big. He’s bigger than you, little Grandma.”
“If there’s no gravity in space, how did the astronauts not float away when they were on the moon?”
What a great and thoughtful question, T. Let’s research it and find the answer.”
“Grandma? Do you love me more than a chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles?”
“Hmm, that’s a really tough one, buddy. I do love chocolate a LOT. Let me think about it. Well, the answer is yes, I love you more than a chocolate cupcake with sprinkles.”
“Do you love me more than seashells and rocks?”
“Oh NO, that’s going to be so hard. Let me give it some thought. *Sigh*. You definitely know how much I love seashells and rocks, but I love you so much MORE.”
This went on for the longest time until he was completely assured that I love him more than ANYTHING IN THE WHOLE WORLD.
Since I’m pretty much a (willing) prisoner here at Casa de Enchanted Seashells just like we’re all enduring stay-at-home orders, I decided to create a positive mindset and find the beauty inside and outside these four walls and my infinite garden.
Today, the sky is blueblueblue with occasional puffy clouds so I thought I’d focus on blue.
Cerulean, ultramarine, the shade of a Ceylon sapphire.More like a periwinkle blue, but still BLUE.
The blue of agapanthus, also known as Lily of the Nile, from bud to flower.
Happy to have a home to go home to, no matter what it looks like, that’s the message I’m getting from this little bird, being grateful for what we have.
Every spring, for years and years, this dedicated vireo mom builds and rebuilds her home in my garden. If I count them all up, I’ve been grandma to approximately one hundred babies.
As you can see, her home looks a bit shabby. It really needs to be repainted and I attempted to fix the bottom with string because it was starting to fall apart. I’m not much of a handyman (woman) but it’s OK for now.
After our week-long rainstorm, it was sunny and warm; a perfect time to pick weeds and do some heavy lifting in the garden.
Picture this: Our backyard can be divided into threes. There’s the level part with a lawn, and then there are twenty-eight steps that lead to the first hill, with more winding steps that ascend to the summit.
I took a break, eating a tangerine while I sat at the top of the mid-steps. From this vantage point, I could survey the entire level of the garden below. Birds were singing, butterflies were fluttering around in the soft breeze, and my eye caught the progression of something floating down from the palm trees in the neighbor’s yard to land on my lawn.
What was it?
I ran down and found a soft and beautiful hawk feather. It almost seemed to glow in the early morning light.
What a joyous treasure, don’t you think?
According to Native Americans, a feather from a hawk symbolizes guardianship, strength, and far-sightedness. Another meaning : You are being asked to listen to the advice that friends and family are giving you. The messages you are receiving about the decision you must make is correct and only comes from love. Allow yourself to let go of the control and surrender. I like this one, too: Your life is taking a turn that will lead you on the path to happiness, joy, success, and love.
Hmmm, that certainly gives me something to think about, you know?
Every day starts at around 5:45 a.m. It’s nonstop talking unless he’s eating or sleeping.
“Grandma?” Which really sounds more like “Grand-maw” if you’re sounding it out.
“I’m hungry. Let’s go in the kitchen and I’ll sit on the big stool and watch you make my breakfast.”
“Grandma? Why is it still dark out? Why do you love seashells so much? Can I have this rock? Why do you cut up my apple like that? Why do you make me oatmeal? Why is the stove hot? I burned myself one time and Mommy put ice on it. Why do you put cinnamon in it? I wish I was in a rocket ship and could fly off to space.I didn’t wet my bed last night. I’m wearing my Batman undies. Look, Grandma, look at me. Why do you love me so much? I’m your first little boy, Daddy is your second little boy. Right, Grandma? Right? Grandma, are you making coffee now? Why do you do that? That’s the same kind of coffee you get at MY house. We have a Trader Joe’s there, too. Is this safe, Grandma? (As he jumps from the chair to the sofa, and back.)
“Be ever so careful, my favorite boy!”
Silence as he’s eating his breakfast. But not for long…
“I’m really smart, ammnt I, Grandma?”
“Yes, T?” “Is that a TV screen? I only get to watch it for special. When do you watch it, Grandma? Why are you so small, Grandma? Daddy’s big and you’re small. You’re my little Grandma. I’m going to be bigger than my Daddy soon. Like when I’m six or twelve. I will, I really will. I’m not kidding. For reals. My Dad is SO strong, right, Grandma? Why did your little boy grow up, Grandma?
That one got me. “Hmmm”, I said. “I think about that too, T. Sometimes I wish Daddy was still a little boy and then I think that he grew up so he could have a little boy like you and make me so happy. What do you think?”
“I think….I think that I want a breakfast burrito now. I’m still hungry.”
Yup, he’s his Daddy’s little boy, that’s for sure. No doubt about it.
The questions have been coming fast and furious as soon as he turned three.
It started with ” where do sloths live?” and I said, “Let’s go to the library tomorrow and do some research.”
The next day we went to the library and checked out a few book about sloths.
After that it was “let’s do research” about everything that had been cooking in his brilliant little mind.
“I love the solar system, my favorite planet is Neptune, I love Neptune because it has rings. We live on planet Earth. I want to know about astronauts.”
Another trip to the library; more books. When he learned that astronauts wear diapers in space, he had to repeat that fact at least a hundred times.
“What happened to dinosaurs?” “Why aren’t there dinosaurs anymore? Why are they only in museums? Why are they just skeletons now?”
“What’s lightening?” “How does electricity work?” “How does a volcano erupt?” “How do bees make honey?”
That question couldn’t be answered very easily with a book, so we did something really special: computer research. We found a video that explained it in a way a toddler could understand. I have to admit that I didn’t know exactly how bees made honey and what we learned made me appreciate the importance of bees even more than I did before. For example, did you know that forager bees have two stomachs, one just to capture the pollen that will eventually turn into honey? Or that some of the jobs that other bees in the colony have is to vomit the contents of their stomach into a succession of about twenty other bees’ stomachs so that certain chemical changes can take place? Or that all the bees work together to flap their wings and evaporate the liquid when first placed in the comb and that when the liquid becomes thickened—well, that’s the end product—honey. In order to produce just one pound of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited. A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey. One bee colony can produce 60 to 100 pounds of honey per year. An average worker bee makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. I’m THIS MANY YEARS old and never knew all of that. It took a brilliant 3.5 year old child to teach me!
Finally, my very observant little grandson said this… “Why don’t you eat meat, Grandma?” When I gave him a simple answer about how I love animals and don’t like to eat them, he said he didn’t like to eat animals either. His mom told me that later that afternoon, he asked her why Grandma doesn’t like to eat animals.
I’m so grateful to be able to generate a thought process like that. We are in desperate need of his generation to make the world a better place. Kinder, more compassionate. More empathy for all living creatures with whom we co-exist on this planet and learn to become better stewards of our oceans and the air we all breathe.
He’s so adorably exuberantly awkward in his joie de vivre. But me? I’m beyond exhausted with so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.
I know other parts of the country are freezing, buried under a mountain of snow, but here in SoCal, it was about seventy-five degrees and sunny (don’t hate).
It was the perfect day for a hike in the back country to inhale sandy, dirty trails and think about setting positive intentions for 2018.
We drove for a couple of hours (to a secret spot) and started walking. As the sun rose to its celestial meridian, I started shedding layers.
Does this look like it could be a Native American bedrock metate?
Beautiful fruiting manzanita; well, I think it’s manzanita…
We know it’s a going to be a great day when the trails are heavily strewn with coyote scat!
And this remnant of a coyote or bobcat’s meal. Upon close inspection, it looks like part of a tail but I’m not too sure how it ended up perched on the dried grass.
Steep and rocky.
Stopping for a snack and water, the perfect time to touch up dry lips with a little Chanel. I’m always prepared!
Who says leaves don’t change color in Southern California?
There’s really nothing more soul satisfying than exerting oneself physically until you’re bone tired and then eating a huge late lunch (with french fries) and feeling zero guilt about the amount of calories consumed!