I am not a morning person and I don’t drink coffee, but I do my best to be cheery. I am an optimist after all and each day is a fresh start full of potential. Most days I look forward to hearing my little dude shout for me from his room to start the day. Some days however, he should stay in bed or I should or maybe I just really need to drink coffee.
I’ve read some and heard some about thinking of yourself and your life as a bucket. Paying attention to what fills your bucket and to what empties it is helpful in making choices about how to spend your time and resources. Since learning this bucket idea I’ve made lists of what fills my bucket and what empties it. Attempting to be intentional about making time for things that fill it and saying no to the things that empty it when possible. A simple idea that has helped me to make more thoughtful choices.
So I’m a bucket. But some days I feel more like a colander. Yeah, I know that sounds strange. Allow me to explain. I want to be full of all kinds of goodness, but there are days…days when I develop holes. And I wish it was just the bad stuff than drained out, but it is the good stuff too.
My boy is typically pretty easy going, but there are times when he has a knack for making holes. Perhaps it is not enough sleep, hunger, waking up on the wrong side of the bed, or just a bad day – regardless, some days he complains as easily as he breathes. I try real hard not to complain. People who habitually complain drive me nuts. If you aren’t offering a solution or making a choice to change your situation for the better then I’m not interested in hearing you gripe. Unfortunately, every so often, my sweet little one is like a power drill poking holes in my bucket.
Poke, poke, poke.
On the latest of these days it went like this: he woke up asking for me, I smiled. He came into our room. Nice. Then he started complaining about how MY pillow felt. Here we go I thought to myself. He proceeded to complain about his breakfast choices, the clothes he had to put on, the color of his socks, the way his toothpaste tasted, the temperature of his milk, that we didn’t have time to play outside before the bus came – it went on and on. Nothing was right. I let the first couple slide by, knowing that it wasn’t worth conversing – logic held no power to turn the tide. But somewhere in between me not properly buttering the toast and trying to explain that he really did have to go to school, I lost it. I sprang leaks.
Drip, drip, drip.
There went my good stuff. All the positivity, laughter, words of encouragement, and grace dripped out of me until I felt empty. I pleaded with him to stop the complaints. I told him that I wanted each day to be filled with gratitude. I told him that despite the fact that the day in front of me was filled with things I had to do and none of them were things I wanted to do, I was going to have a good day anyway. I told him I wanted him to leave the house happy. I urged him to try seeing the best in situations and in people. I told him
“I don’t have enough positive in me for the both of us.”
I explained that when he complains about every little thing, it sucks all the good stuff right out of me. I shed a couple tears and told him I was done talking to him for the morning unless he changed his attitude.
We weren’t chatty, but we managed to part at the bus stop with hugs and smiles. I made a conscious decision to not let the yucky start to the day set the course for the remainder. I spent the rest of the day deliberately seeking out things to patch those holes. Not really seeking so much as noticing. When I came home from working and saw my husband helping our now much happier boy find the proper pages in his music book at the piano it patched many holes. Such a simple thing, but I felt full again. The sweet conversation I struck up with a stranger while waiting for take-out patched a few more holes. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
There are times when we are prone to spring leaks. Learning to appreciate the minuscule things that patch those holes can make all the difference. Let’s be quick to offer a kind word, a friendly gesture, or a smile. It could be just the patch someone needs.