Monday, November 22, 2010

The Opportunity to Practice

Today I have an opportunity to practice what I am learning about focusing on joy and peace instead of giving in to panic and worry. I'm tired of being pessimistic and expecting bad behaviour from William in any given situation. I'm changing in so many of my prejudices and ideas; why can't William change in his behaviour choices? I've seen him change in the last three months with my own eyes, but sometimes old habits die hard, and we revert back to what we've seen and experienced before.

This morning both kids have dental cleanings and check-ups at their pediatric dentist. When I booked this appointment nine months ago, I breathed the hugest sigh of relief (a close comparison would be the sighs I uttered after giving birth both times) and November 22nd seemed like forever away on the calendar when it was booked. Well, today has arrived, as these things do, and it's time to go.

It's time to encourage William that it will all be fine, and that the "special toothpaste" they use for whitening and protection at the end will taste better than it did last time, and that nothing will hurt. I'll push the optimism ball uphill as we get dressed, drive to Calgary, wait in the waiting room and then are ushered into the treatment rooms. I'll smile and laugh and pretend it's more fun than it actually is, all the while praying fervently that he won't break down sobbing or refuse to open his mouth and participate (both of which he's done on several occasions in that chair before).

When my stomach began cramping up and hurting around dinner time last night, I felt a rush of relief as I contemplated coming down with a stomach flu and would therefore have a legitimate reason to cancel the appointments. After I put the kids to bed, I realized I was actually stressed about the dentist, and decided firmly to put my new positive outlook into action.

I am different now, and so is William. Perhaps the entire dynamic of the dentist visit will shift as we work together as a team. I am also more aware of the embarrassment and frustration I used to feel when he would refuse to comply, and I hope and pray I won't be as deeply affected by that as I have been in the past. He's a four year old kid, as fiercely stubborn as his mother is, and it is my job to help him through these difficult situations without forcing him violently and crushing his sensitive spirit. I have absolutely no idea how to do this well, but I can try to the best of my ability.

I can be aware, and that awareness is a gift, as it provides the opportunity to practice, and the grace to fail. If I fail to support William when he needs me, and he panics at the dentist, I can try again another time. I can refuse to feel judged by anyone for what may occur. I can't control the outcome today, but I can control my response to it. I don't think I ever understood that before as clearly as I do right now, at this moment. I'm grateful for this insight. It is going to help all of us today.

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