A couple of summers ago we spent a week of our precious Minnesota summer in the best way possible… with our family at a cabin on the lake. A couple of days into our trip, my son and I went kayaking on a hunt for the biggest and best lily pads. We had been admiring them from a far earlier that day and wanted to check them out for ourselves.
Out on the calm lake feeling the warm sunshine with absolutely no distractions, we started having a conversation about some of the new changes in our lives and how those can cause us to worry. It came up naturally and I was just thankful he was talking. I shared how much I can feel the same way at times & reassured him it was okay and normal to have those feelings.
We had just moved to a new neighborhood which was wonderful and exciting but also scary to leave behind the comforts of what we had known. We had a new school year on the horizon, which always brings on some nerves in our house and this year for me included sending our baby girl off to Kindergarten. And while she told me “I got this” at open house, I found myself having a hard time letting go.
Part of the special bond my son and I share is we are wired similarly in many ways – some better than others. On the lake that day we acknowledged that worrying can be a part of us, but we could also help each other with it. And it was in that moment, we agreed that we needed to have a quick and catchy phrase we could say to each other, or to ourselves, when we needed a friendly reminder to stop that pesky bad habit of ours.
We knew we needed it to be simple so together we decided to come up with something that would:
- Be direct – while sweet and fluffy has its place and can be nice at times, we wanted something that didn’t beat around the bush, and called us out directly. We agreed a little tough love works for us.
- Give us perspective – reminding us that our thoughts can give us more doubts than are necessary. We talked about what a difference even a day can make and how funny it is because typically the only thing that changes are our thoughts. The idea that you don’t need to believe all your own thoughts is a concept I wasn’t even aware of much less grasped when I was his age.
- Rhyme – making it catchy and easy to remember, not to mention more fun and that’s always a good thing!
And after a few different combinations, together we came up with what stuck and worked for us, “Don’t worry, you’re thinking blurry”. This spoke to the heart of our conversation. We don’t do our best thinking or see things as clearly when we’re worrying. It was simple, yet meaningful to us and every time I hear it, it reminds me not to worry, but it also reminds me of that beautiful and simple moment together on the lake. I can feel the calm and peace I had sitting on that kayak; I can remember giggling over our failed attempts at some of our earlier phrases and I can remember just feeling so much love for my sweet, young boy.
It’s been 3 years since that summer and while we may go stretches when we lose sight of it, it’s stuck. Five simple words and it brings us back to where we’re supposed to be.
Sometimes it’s him saying those words to me and I love when he does. Because as we often tell the kids, it doesn’t matter how old you are, adult or child, we all have something we need to work on. Being candid and open about this is important to me. In a filtered social media style world, I want our children to know that nothing in this world is perfect, and to accept others and ourselves under that premise.
We try to be intentional to celebrate our strengths and unique gifts, but also work to embrace those areas where we feel weak or need some support. Because it’s all about becoming a better version of ourselves a little bit more each day.
And when we need a friendly reminder, we know just who to go to and what to say.