Thursday, July 24, 2014

Molly's Mantra

Back in June, when the boys went to basketball camp, I took the girls up to New York to visit Grandma in the Red House. When we arrived, my mom had a new sign by her front door and a new statue. As soon as I saw it, I thought of Molly. THAT IS MOLLY! Look at her, hands outstretched, smile on her face, ready to soak in whatever the day has to offer her. Throughout the years, I have taken thousands of pictures of my kids. I was always a big picture taker, even before the cell phone cameras. My kids know that I need to take a picture of them to document the soccer and basketball wins, the dance performances, the birthdays, the holidays, and the everyday ordinary stuff in our life as well.

So when I saw my mom's new statue, my mind went right to all the pictures I have of Molly with her arms outstretched, savoring the moments. 

New York

Harpers Ferry
Even with a broken arm!

Newport, Rhode Island

Plymouth, New Hampshire

Dollywood, Tennessee

Great Falls, VA

Smokey Mountains, Tennessee

Lake Winnipeasaukee, NH

Poconos, PA

Charleston, SC

Montauk, Long Island

New York City

Sagamore Hill, Oyster Bay Long Island

Central Park

Drayton Hall, SC

Kiawah, SC

So as you can see, her arms seem to always be outstretched. It doesn't seem to matter where we are or what we are doing, she likes to soak in an experience, take it all in, she notices the big details as well as all the little details of a day. When we went to Sagamore Hill, Teddy Roosevelt's house, she searched through the museum to find all the answers to the scavenger hunt. When we walked on the nature trail to the bay, she stopped at each tree to look at the leaves to identify them. She noticed that the north shore of Long Island is hard and rocky and that the south shore is soft and sandy. When we got to the water, she noticed the crabs and the shells and the horseshoe crabs and the birds and you could almost hear the wheels turning in her head as she thought and processed and learned and just was taking it all in.

Back in May, Molly and I went to NYC with her dance performing troupe. We saw the musical Newsies and she just fell in love with it. She has watched the Disney movie dozens of times, can sing all the songs by heart, and can recite certain parts of the movie with a thick New York accent. One of the songs is Seize the Day and that has become her mantra. This ten year old will talk about seizing the day and savoring the moment. These words are now a part of every daily vocabulary.

Last night, I was at one of Ryan's basketball games and was sitting with a group of moms. One mom that I hadn't met before was talking about a camp that her son went to last week and how wonderful it was. She said it was a bit out of his comfort zone and after the first day, he came home not wanting to go back. She said he was going, that he was with his friends, and that he had the choice to make it a good experience or sulk about it and make himself miserable. It was his choice. She said her son ended up having an amazing week. We each have a choice every. single. day. How are we going to take on the day? Are we going to seize it? Are we going to savor it? 

The thing is, I don't have Molly's SEIZE THE DAY attitude. Molly usually wakes up happy, ready to go to school or dance or Shannon's soccer game or her brothers' basketball games. Even if it is something that she particularly doesn't want to do, she makes the most of it. It seems to come naturally to her, it is who she is.

I, on the other hand, am cranky and crabby in the morning. I certainly do not wake up with a Seize the Day attitude. My worst mommy moments are probably in the morning trying to get the other non-morning people out the door and to school on time. There is no seizing the day, it's more like survive the day. 

And that's life. You just can't seize the day, every day, but for some, like Molly, that positive outlook, that seize the day, that dance even when it's raining outside attitude (One of her favorite movies is Singing in the Rain.) it comes easier to her than others. It's as if she doesn't make the choice to be happy, she just is. But I'm more like the little boy that didn't like his camp on the first day. I need to make the choice each day, it doesn't come so easily. I have to think about it and make the choice.

One day last week, we were sitting at the dinner table and the kids were discussing personalities and they were saying that Ryan is a "mini-me" of Chris, which I agree with, they do have similar personalities as well as Ryan looking like Chris when he was a kid. They also said that Molly was my mini-me, that we like the same things; school, books, museums, musicals. This may be true, we do enjoy similar things, but it is me who wants to have her attitude of arms outstretched to take on the day no matter what. She is my example.

And now, I have a reminder of that in my front garden because when I told my mom how much I loved her new statue and how it reminded me of Molly, guess what came in the mail a few days later?

Here is my new statue, arms outstretched, birds sitting on her arms, it makes me want to start singing Zippity Doo Dah…Mr. Bluebird's on my shoulder.

And here is Molly and Grandma, standing like statues, trying to get the birds to come to them.

And one finally came.