Visualize What You Want

by Mary Ann on August 16, 2010

I picked up four of my grandchildren last Thursday. I am keeping them for a week. Friday my newly married daughter and son-in-law and I took all of them to the zoo plus two more. Six grandchildren in all, ages two through ten

Early Friday morning one of the 2 year olds woke up wet and crying for his mom. That was his third “wake up” since going to bed the night before. The four year old had fallen out of bed in the middle of the night and had woken up the second two year old who didn’t really want to go back to bed. It took a while to convince him it was still night.

Breakfast was a series of spilled milk, spilled cereal and “she has more than me”.

Then we moved on to getting dressed, combing out really long snarly hair as gently as possible and hunting for one of  the two year olds sippy cup, a MUST have! We looked for misplaced flip flops and admonished Parker to stop throwing things off the balcony, including sliced watermelon which seemed to make a delightful splat as it hit the pavement.

By then it was lunch time. Gee whiz!! There was peanut butter and honey all around, blueberries rolling on the floor along with a few grapes and a bit more spilled milk and crushed cookies. Then thirty minutes or so of strapping them all into car seats for the five minute ride to my daughters where they would play while I went to the store to buy more milk and cereal.

After the shopping trip I made another lunch because I know that food is a must at the zoo, even if you have already eaten lunch. More pb and j, more grapes and blueberries, and the all important sippy cup and bottles of water. Lots of water! Then it was time to load up a double stroller, a single stroller and thirty more minutes to strap them all in for the fifteen minute ride to the zoo.

As I drove with four of the six children in my car, I was lucky and had both two year olds, I felt just a tad stressed. It was hot. I hadn’t had much sleep and what I had was continually interrupted. The decibel level in my car was nuts! The word “grandma” was being uttered every 10 seconds or so followed by a question which I couldn’t answer before another two or three “grandmas” were called out. Grandma, did you know giraffes have purple tongues? Grandma, look at that man on that big bike. Wouldn’t you like a big bike?  Grandma, Aubrey can’t have all the cheese sticks. Grandma, are we there yet. Grandma, are you glad we are going to the zoo?

Well that was a very good question and I had a serious choice to make. As I drove I began visualizing the day. I needed to decide to have a wonderful time. I was going to love being at the zoo with these precious little people. I was going to be happy to answer all their questions, kiss their scraped knees, (I knew there would be a few) and wipe sticky mouths and runny noses. It was going to be the best day ever. I could see it in my mind.

As we drove the ten year old asked the two year olds if they were excited to be going to the zoo. That set them both off, screaming “Yes”. The screaming became a contest to see who was the most excited. The stream of questions asked in rapid fire continued from the back. I began to hear how funny it all sounded. The questions were hysterical. The contest was silly. They were all so excited and happy. I started laughing until tears were in my eyes. It was hilarious!

At the zoo I continued laughing. I laughed at the skinned knees, the pouty faces, the sad moments, the scary times, the funny statements. I laughed at it all. Children are amazing to watch. It is amazing to see their expressions, their reactions, how they perceive what is happening, what they are seeing.

As we were ending the day my legs were killing me. So were my feet. My arms were tired of pushing strollers. The two year olds were racing up the hill and of course one tripped into the other and they both took a spill rolling over each other. There were tears and more owies to kiss. My daughter and her new husband looked drained. As I looked on I started laughing again. It really was fun just being part of all the hoopla and confusion and movement and questions. It was fun. It makes me laugh just to write about it and see it again in my mind.

Parker and Jack

I know that you are thinking I am crazy. I raised seven children and I have been in this place many times. I never thought it was fun. It was tiring. It was over the top. It was a lot of things, but not fun. On this day, at this zoo, it was fun. I had determined that it would be. I had visualized the fun. And it was fun just watching little people deal with life! I was paying attention to these people. I was present in a different way. I saw more, and felt more, all of which transcended the stress, the tired, and the noise.

Aunt Kate and Maggie

When we got home there was dinner to fix. Then we all went for a walk. Three girls aged ten to six on scooters, then Jack, the two year old, with his pink stroller and Parker, also two, with his green wheelbarrow. The parade was followed up by four year old Maggie in her stroller and I. More walking! It takes along time to take a parade of six children around the block. Lots of time for more laughing which I did. Jack is short and round. Parker is tall and lean. Walking behind them was a scream; watching their little bodies, so different, pushing along. I had to laugh at the girls enjoying and arguing in turn all the way around the block. We must have been quite a sight as a woman crossed the street from her home to ask me if I needed any help. That made me laugh too.

When we finally made it back home my husband’s car was there. Yes, the “relief shift”! Five children trooped up the stairs with me in the rear carrying Maggie. As we all burst through the door I hollered out “Don, I need your help”. I heard a very grumpy, muffled reply coming from somewhere in the kitchen. I rounded the corner with Maggie still in my arms too see my 61 year old husband on his knees in a sea of blueberries. I began laughing hysterically and saying “this is so funny”. “It’s not funny”, he replied. “Oh yes, it is funny”, I said, “and the perfect end to a very perfect day”. By the time we had retrieved all the blueberries even he was laughing at the silliness of the situation. Ashley who is eight had come in to help pick up berries and she said, “Grandma you have laughed a lot to day.”

You know the best thing about the day? It’s the fact that because I made a decision to enjoy it, all of it, I had. And because I had, I was able to allow my grandchildren to enjoy all of it. No fussy adult, no angry words, no hurt feelings, just a day to be a kid, just the way kids are. It was an amazing day.

Every day can’t and won’t be like this. Life isn’t that neat and orderly. However, making the decision about how you are going to respond in any situation can make all the difference. Visualizing what you want something to be is powerful! It defiantly does make a difference.

You know what the rest of your week will be like. If you have some challenging situations that you have to deal with think about them before hand. How do you want them to turn out? How do you want to feel at the end? Then visualize it. It will make a difference.

Jack and Uncle Brady

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