My daughter approached me this morning saying, “don’t freak out mom, but…” Now, if you are a mother, you can anticipate my reaction to these words without hesitation. My mind is racing with all of the scenarios involving permanent marker and glitter glue that could possibly warrant this opening line. I paused, though, and realized that there are two ways to interpret her comment. In both cases, there is cause for concern.
On the one hand, my six-year-old mermaid may have caused a mini-tsunami in the bath tub that will require several towels and a lesson in the principles of water management but, on the other, she may be highlighting a tendency on my part to, in fact, “freak out”. Either way, I have a problem.
I’d like to think that my freaking out would be reserved for real tsunamis in life where my emotional response is proportional to the actual incident but I’m afraid that I tend to react to daily mishaps with less grace and calm then I might like to admit.
My daughter’s attempt to preempt these reactions when anticipated, leads me to believe that they are not becoming and perhaps too frequent altogether. I have learned to expect a little mess with toddlers let loose in the house but I’d like to be better able to respond in a dignified fashion to the inevitable splashes on my bathroom floor.
I think I need to avoid “sweating the small stuff” (if you can pardon the cliché). Life is full of little mistakes and my ability to avoid freaking out is directly related to my own perception of what really matters. I need to learn that many incidents are not worthy of the reaction I give them and that I need to exercise a little more self control and perspective when confronted with a mess. After all, it was only water.
If it was permanent marker and glitter glue then I might be justified.
(originally posted in 2009)