13 days of loving more year two, 442 days running total
Dear Orange Rhinos,
This is another, pull up your chair, grab a cup of coffee, tea, or wine and a box of chocolates kind of post. Expect typos, lack of clarity and a boat load of enthusiasm. Actually now that I am writing, forget the aforementioned beverages, it’s more like a champagne kind of night for me, for all of us. You’ll see why.
I wrote something in response to two comments today that got me thinking, really, really thinking. Several of you wrote about something you achieved, eluding that it wasn’t much; that you still yelled, but baby steps were taken and that is good. And then there was the question… “Right?”
And my answer…HECK YEAH!
Baby steps are BIG steps, big time!
Now, I don’t know what those of you who wrote those wonderful comments were feeling at the time and I will not presume to know. So I will just tell you my story. I am terrific at playing down small successes in my life. I don’t know why, I just do. But really, again,
Baby steps are BIG steps, big time!
Think of it. When a baby takes a first step, I don’t know about you, but I run for the camera, the phone, the video camera, the everything electronic to record it. To record the one, singular small, step. Shoot, even the quarter of a first step I recorded and then jumped up and all around like a happy monkey shouting for joy. “You did it! You did it baby! You walked!” It was a baby step literally but it was a BIG step and it was celebrated appropriately with hoopla galore!
Think of it. The first drop of pee in the potty. Not a full on pee, fill the potty (or in my case, spray the piss all over the potty) type of pee, but just a drop. I don’t know about you, but I have never been more excited about pee in my life until I saw the singular first baby drop ever so slowly drop into the toilet water. I think I called everyone I knew when each child peed in the potty for the first time. It was a little itsy bitsy baby pee but it was a BIG step and celebrated appropriately with hoopla galore!
And forget kids for a second.
Think of it. The first time you held a boy’s hand because he liked you and you liked him and you were “going steady.” It wasn’t any major stop the presses romance or full on intimate existence (shoot, I was what, in fifth grade, we won’t even talk about when my first kiss was…way too embarrassing!) but yet it mattered. It was a baby step towards the beginning of a relationship, it was a baby step at the beginning of a lifelong journey of relationships, but it was a BIG step at the same time and celebrated appropriately with hoopla galore! (How many girlfriends did you call? How many times did you write about in your diary??? I called lots and lots. And I think I ran out of ink for my pen!)
Oh there are so many baby steps in life. I do a great job celebrating the baby steps my kids achieve and that I experience as a mom: oh baby had first words, first food, first sleeping through the night, first laugh, first crying when I left. All baby steps…all BIG steps because they show signs of growth. And I truly celebrate and document them like mad. #4 sad Mommy today. Not just mama but mommy. I think the entire playground knows that because I shouted out with such glee!!
So why, why is it when I achieve baby steps in my life as a friend, a wife, a person, that I don’t shout with appropriate glee? Why do I play the success down?
As a friend: Oh I gave my name to someone new at the PTA, I shared a small secret about my life, I called and invited a new person to dinner. All baby steps…all BIG steps because they take courage…and yet I stay quiet and say, “yeah, well, I should have done that years ago. Everyone else has the courage. I am just shy. So, big deal” instead of sharing and celebrating.
As a wife: Oh I admitted I was wrong about which night was trash night, I said I was sorry when I knew it was important even if I didn’t feel it, I didn’t nag over everything, only every other thing on my honey-to-do list. All baby steps…all BIG steps because they required selflessness and embracing the relationship, not just the me-ship…and yet I stay quiet and think “whatever, that is part of marriage, it’s what I should be doing” instead of congratulation myself on growing.
As a person: Oh I didn’t dwell as long on fights with my mom, I did something 95% perfect instead of 110%, I acknowledged I was grumpy, too grumpy with my kids and made myself laugh to snap out of it. All baby steps…all BIG steps because they required mental talking and self control…and yet I stay quiet and think “yeah, so what, you still have room to grow” instead of shouting from the rooftops that I am trying and trying hard and that is HUGE and worthy of a champagne toast.
Oh, the list could go on and on of little achievements in my life, in all our lives I presume, that we deem to be baby steps that are really BIG steps. And, oh, I could go on and on sharing the list of my excuses for why baby steps are small and don’t deserve celebration. Yes, I am the queen at playing down my baby steps in life.
Enough of that. That bologna thinking stops tonight.
Am I saying every baby step needs a parade equivalent to Macy’s Thanksgiving parade? No (I acknowledge that there is a fine line between celebrating and bragging but that’s a whole separate post.) But for me, today made me realize I need to stop ignoring my baby steps of success and acknowledge them, even if just to myself. If I can celebrate every single baby step, literally and figuratively, in my children’s’ lives, then I can do that for me and I should do that for me. Positive reinforcement helped my kids take more first steps, more first bites of foods (green beans aside, they STUNK), more risks, more of everything and will do the same for me. Baby steps are BIG steps because the first step is often scary. It takes so much courage to let go of fear; it takes so much strength to do something that is imagined to be hard or uncomfortable. And it takes positive reinforcement to make those baby steps keep happening. So again, time for me to start embracing that…
Yes baby steps are BIG steps. And they are worth acknowledging and celebrating.
So forget the wine tonight. Open a bottle of bubbly with me and Toot Your Rhino Horn LOUD AND PROUD for being here and a part of The Orange Rhino Community. For showing up and trying. For succeeding. For succeeding by learning from a yell. For succeeding by not quitting. For succeeding by finding the courage to admit you want to change. For taking the BIG baby step.
(And then take two aspirin because I don’t know about you, but Champagne gives me a wicked headache.)
All my support,
The Orange Rhino