September 3, 2020
I had a bad day today. Have you ever had one of those?
Especially in 2020, I’m finding it hard to fake it when everything’s not okay. It’s hard to reach down for a little more, only to feel like there’s not much left in the tank. It can feel like a struggle to find anything good on social media. With everything going on–it can be a challenge to stay positive.
Sometimes I just feel like zoning out for a few minutes.
One silver lining in the six-month, shelter-in-place has been spending incredible amounts of time with our two-year-old son, Myals. He means more to me than anything in the world–especially on the worst of days. Nearly three-years-old, he still likes to cuddle up before naptime. We cherish these moments (while they last).
It just so happens that I was having a bad day this past summer. On daddy duty, I had to hold it together, right? Still, the funk hung with me. I could feel tightness, stress, and anxiety. It was all I could do to let a fake smile take over the frustrated frown on my face. That thing on my mind wasn’t going away anytime soon.
Nearing naptime, we lay down on the couch. Super still. Super silent. Except for the Nick Jr channel on TV, playing so softly that you could barely make out the words.
Laying beside me with his head right there on my chest, I could feel his sleeping patterns setting in. Slowly but surely, we were dozing off…
Until it happened.
Those Bubble Guppies.
During their episodes, and for no particular reason at all, they just break out into song. It’s almost like a musical–an animated musical of happy, singing fish!
And right about the time those happy fish start dancing and swaying, our two-year-old shoots up like a cannon to join them. But not by himself… Pulling on my arm all excited, he yells in a hurry:
Come Daddy! Come Daddy! It’s time to dance!
Oh my. I did not expect this–the first few times anyway. And, seriously–this was the last thing I needed right then. I didn’t feel like being happy. And singing. And dancing. I felt like being upset. And growling. And grimacing.
Do you know how hard it is to keep your grimace when you’re singing with Bubble Guppies?
Do you know how hard it is to maintain the miserable mindset when you’re watching dancing fish?
Do you know how hard it is to focus on the funk when your two-year-old is laughing and holding your hands while jumping around in circles together?
And finally–after three more ups-and-downs of dances-and-dozes, the show was over. Not longer after that, he finally fell asleep.
And then, there I lie, completely awake with my thoughts:
What are my next steps? Do I go back to where I was a little while ago, or try to let it go and move on? How can I possibly be happy and dancing when the world is full of disease, death, hatred, and violence? Is this okay? What should I want to do? What do I feel like doing?
What’s the right thing to do?
And, can it be? That a two-year-old who doesn’t know most of the things going on in the world all around him right now, just might know the most of all? As a parent, I felt like I was supposed to be teaching my son all these life things, yet, here I find myself once again, learning from him.
Looking back, I was so grateful for those 100-second segments. For the time spent singing, dancing, and laughing with my son. For the time to forget about the lesser concerns I couldn’t let go. For the time to be free–even if just for a moment.
Blogger’s Note: It’s important to clarify that I’m aware of the privilege some use to simply check out of their life, situations, or circumstances for a little while when the going gets tough–because they can, even though others do not have that privilege. That’s not my intention here. My goal is not to check out of life circumstances as much as it is to have 100-second stress relievers in place to make it through. End Blogger’s Note.
So, when you’re having a bad day, when the going gets tough, or when life hands you a few hard knocks, what’s your 100-second strategy? If you could free yourself from stress for 100 seconds, what might you do?
Would you pray, meditate, or initiate mindfulness? Would you turn up the radio, exercise, and dance it out? Would you read, write, or take a lap? Would you phone a friend?
If 2020 has taught me a few things, it’s that family time is priceless, other people matter, my potential problems really aren’t that bad, and, when it all starts feeling like a bit too much…
It’s time to dance.
Turn the radio up.— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) August 6, 2020
Dance it out.
We got this!
No. I'm not working late at the coffee shops and restaurants tonight. Or, at least, I'm taking a break for a few hours. Tonight, we practice saying "Bubble Guppies," we play trucks, and we read books together. #MyalsMoments #LittleH1 #HamstraHighlights @LeannHamstra pic.twitter.com/tWHL9CVn6q— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) December 20, 2019
When life gives you lemons it’s okay if you don’t feel like making lemonade. We often buy into the belief that we are supposed to be happy all the time. That’s not reality. It’s human to feel. So feel what you need, give it space, and then move forward ❤️! #ThursdayThoughts— ✨𝓜𝓪𝓻𝓲𝓪𝓱 𝓦𝓪𝓵𝓴𝓮𝓻✨ (@MariahAWalker) September 3, 2020