by Cassidy Gillard
This is the time of year for so many things: celebrating, giving, love, family, and most importantly, in my personal opinion, reflecting and appreciating.
For me, reflection is a way of bringing all of the other holiday-time goodness to light. When I reflect on my year, or my week, or my last hour of the day, I search for moments I can celebrate. Moments I experienced giving, moments where I felt or witnessed love, moments with family, and moments to appreciate. I’ve come up with a few moments and lessons to share with you, in hopes that it will bring some cold-weather cheer to your hearts.
I work in a classroom with kindergarteners and preschoolers, so there are always a multitude of strange, or hilarious, or sweet moments to reflect upon. One of my most shy students walked over to me this morning when we were on the playground. She was completely bundled from head to toe - hat, mittens, scarf, snow pants, huge puffy jacket... the works. As she got closer to me I noticed that she had tears welling up in her eyes and she was about to cry. When I asked her what was wrong, she began to cry and said, “I have a really itchy itch.” So of course I turned her around, moved her scarf out of the way and helped her scratch her itch. I laughed as she walked away, and the first thing that came to mind was, “man, I wish having a really itchy itch was my most pressing issue!” Which is true - when you grow up, things just don’t have the same kind of importance, and sometimes, self care is something that kind of slips into second or third or fourth place on the to-do list. So I got to thinking about that, and I realized that if having an itch was something that could bring this sweet little girl to tears, then I need to redefine the importance of self care. My advice to you; scratch the itch, and if you can’t get it, ask someone to help you out. If you take care of yourself right away, it is easy to get back to playing with your friends and enjoying yourself.
The next moment I’ll share was much less comical, yet quite humbling. Recently, I was riding in my friend’s car on the highway at night. As we merged onto the entrance ramp, we came upon an accident involving a car that had flipped and was upside down. It had just happened, and police hadn’t arrived yet. Within seconds of seeing the accident, my friend parked the car, jumped out and ran over to help. As I watched the traffic back up and the scene unfold, I noticed two kinds of people. There were quite a few people who ran to help right away, and there were even more people who sat in their cars, turned up their music, honked their horns and yelled out of open windows. I was honestly pretty shocked that people who could clearly see the problem were choosing to be so impatient, rude, and inconsiderate, but I was quickly reassured by those running toward the danger. My friend returned out of breath and shaking from adrenaline and his words were, “I couldn’t just not do anything. All of these people were just sitting here and they needed help!” My advice to you; offer positivity to situations where you may feel unable to help, and even when you feel inconvenienced.
The last moment I’ll share with you is from camp. There was a girl who came to camp years ago who was absolutely terrified to mountain board. After four years of trying to convince this girl to get on a board, her counselor finally convinced her to put pads on. Once she had pads on, her counselor and I very gently encouraged her to stand on a board, and she did. Fairly quickly she decided she would go down, but only if I would hold her hands. I held her hands, and she was so excited that she was doing it that she kept going, and going, and going. It was all very exciting, of course, but what really hit me was the look on her face every single time she went down the hill. Even though she was only going about ten feet, and she had an iron grip on my hands the entire time, she had this absolutely beautiful grin on her face. Just looking at that smile gave me chills and made me so proud of her. She made the decision to go down. Of course she had lots of encouragement, but if it takes a kid four years to jump on a bandwagon, you know they’ve really thought things through, and when they decide they’re ready, you know they absolutely are. The best part of that day was on her last run, when she said, “I wanna go on my own.” My heart literally jumped with excitement, and after I held her hands for a few seconds to get her started, she let go. She was going on her own. I think she was going solo for all of fifteen seconds, but in those fifteen seconds, she was more excited and proud than I have ever seen anyone before in my life. She faced her fear, she became less afraid, and she flew solo. My advice here isn’t to face your fears and dive into everything with gusto (although I do often live that way myself). My advice is to take your time, so that when you’re ready to do whatever it is that scares the pants off of you, you can feel excitement and pride in its truest form.
Whatever this time of year brings for you, I hope you are able to take care of yourself, offer positivity, and take your time. Reflect on and appreciate each moment that you possibly can, and know that you are loved and appreciated for being a part of the CMR community.