So before we had this talking, idea spouting, imaginary play BIG BOY in our house...I never realized how much a parent serves their child. Why? Because you don't expect any gratitude from a little person that can't say a peep. A smile? A giggle? Sure. And on those really lucky days, a kiss. But until Nash could talk like a mini-adult, I never expected anything in return. Now that he spouts 'thank you's' like a boss, I started to realize what a hideous, God-awful server I am. No really, I am.
Similar to how Nash feels about celery. And many other green foods...'I don't wike it. Not one bit!' I don't have a servant's heart. As much as I try, I just don't. That's our Walt. He's our helping spirit. Our acts of service guy. Our giving guru. My 'is there anything you need help with?' man and Lord have mercy, I'm so thankful for those seven words on some super, long days.
He's always helping. And never expecting. Really, he is. And he isn't. It's amazing to watch. And anybody who has ever stayed at our home for longer than a night has beared witness. It's magical. And awesome. And incredibly humbling to see my husband's serving heart at work.
But me? Nope, I'm just not a server. Soooooo completely not...a server.
I was a waitress once. While living in Australia. And then I became the bossy waitress. Or the waitress with keen leadership skills (ha!) The 'let me tell everyone else on staff how to do it' waitress. Yep, I am so surprised my lil' arse wasn't fired. But my boss was awesome. He actually saw my 'leadership' potential and placed me in a managerial position. Bam. That worked. Boss. Sort of. But not server. Nope, not a server.
Serving. Such a small, simple word with so much punch. For real, I'll totally admit it. It's a huge struggle for me. I love hosting friends at our home but I always have to remind myself before the doorbell rings to ask. Ask if they need water. Ask if I can take their coat. Ask if they're hungry. Just ask. All of this is totally second nature to Walt. He asks me multiple times a night if I need anything. But believe me, you can't live with such character and not have it rub off. I return the favor and try to serve him too. I've gotten much better in the 'serving your husband' department over the years. It's been the glue during the hard times in our marriage.
So when Nash's toddler years snuck on my like a stealth ninja in the night, I felt suffocated by the serving. All day. Every day. Serve. Serve. Serve. But none of it felt like serving to me. Because many days, I kid you not, it felt like slave work. Ball and chain, no key in sight, handcuffed to the house...slave work. How sad is that?
Making meal. After meal. After meal. Day. After day. After day. It was a never ending conveyor belt of pb&j sandwiches to slop together, apple cores to throw in the trash, sippy cups to fill with milk and tiny plates/silverware to wash. Only to have it happen again. And again. And again. I mean seriously, y'all. How many times does this kid eat? (I keed, I keed! He's really so darn amazing!)
Can't this tiny dictator do something by himself? Well yes. And no. We've gotten better about snacking less and eating more at meals. Which cuts down on the amount of 'serving' I have to do for him. But he still needs help. And guidance. And patience. And a Mother who serves him meals. With a joyful heart. Where was this joyful heart that all other Mom's seemed to have? Why can't I get a slice of that pie? What I needed was a slice of humble pie.
So the biggest change was in me. Not Nash. Not Walt. In me. In my hideous attitude. In the pity party in my head. In my inner dialogue. In my 'woe is me' thoughts. And actions. My attitude. Oh how I wish I would've made this change sooner. Cause my effing attitude sucked in this area. And it was bleeding over into other areas of my life. Lawd have mercy, it was ugly. Maybe unaware to everybody around me. But I knew it. And I knew what I was thinking. And it wasn't pretty. And it was no way to charge through these years as a stay at home Mom.
Me. Me. Me. I needed changing. Some soul searching was paramount to my sanity. Big time.
How did it happen?
Two little words: my pleasure.
So simple. So profound. So life changing. No soul searching needed.
One of my best gilfriend's in here in Austin is well, amazing. She's that wife that never (ok, super rarely) speaks ill of her husband. She's that Mom that reminds you to laugh at motherhood. At your trials. At her trials. At your kids. And her kids. She tells such great stories. She never takes anything too seriously and always has these listening ears that will sit down with you for hours. And listen. Really, truly listen. And love you. And serve you. She spouts out words of wisdom like she's the freakin' Dr. Ruth of marriage and child-rearing for our generation. She is a gift from God. I mean it. Stop blushing Lauren, you're a badass Momma/wife/friend and deserve all the praise. In. The. World.
I never really noticed how she spoke to her children until Nash started talking. That's when you really do start to notice how parents talk to their little ones. Because you're starting to form your own parental dialogue. And just like in any other area of parenting, you pick up little pieces of influence here and there. Well, I do.
So I watched Lauren. Keenly. I adore her children. No wait, I love her children. Truly love them. They are a few years older than Nash and Clover. I admire her marriage and I respect it. So I looked to her for wisdom without even asking.
Her oldest is in school and her youngest is almost a year older than Nash. The precious Lola. We're over at their house playing. I'm flustered because I'm dragging along a newborn Clover and a 'two year molar popping' crazy boy named Nash. Teething isn't our thing. I'll just go ahead and put that out there. Nash was not himself for those few months while his molars were coming in.
So I'm holding a tiny baby, while Lauren is racing around her kitchen, feeding my child. And as you can clearly see, that act, in and of itself, was enough to bring me to tears. I'm pretty sure I looked up at Lauren. Making lunch for Nash and Lola. Talking to them in the kindest tones. Asking me if I needed anything. Yep, my eyes watered. I remember it clear as day. I had to look up so the floodgates didn't open. I held it together. But if I could choose an emoticon for my feelings at that moment, it would be that little crazy face where they are laughing so hard they're crying. But in this case the laughter isn't funny. It's crazed. Like insane asylym, commit me now, crazed. That was me. Nearly crying tears of joy because I needed someone to help me. Just help me serve my child. Just this once. It felt so freaking good.
Cause I was so over the slave work. The serving. The meal after meal. The non stop filling of sippy cups. The pop a boob out of my shirt and nurse. The serve. The serve. The serve, serve, serve. The selfless serve...I was clearly over it!
(Side note: sleep deprivation can make even the easiest of situations seem so drastic and massive. I wasn't getting much sleep during those first few months so serving seemed like this huge uphill battle for me. Taking care of a whiny/fussy toddler, in general, was a battle. It was a hard time...those first few months. But I promise to write about that in the near future.)
But what I soon found out is it actually wasn't the serving. It was my attitude while serving.
Back to Lauren's house.
She hands me some water. Oh sweet and delicious water. Water that you swear you can never get enough of while you're nursing.
Then she hands the children their plates. They both thank her. Good kids, those two. Lola first. Then Nash. His sweet little munchkin voice, "Dank you, Miss Wore-win." He looks up at her, with his big blue eyes and smiles. She strokes her hand through his moppy head of red curls and says, 'My pleasure, my little darrrrrrrling.'
I sit there. I stare. I watch him start to eat and not even skip a beat.
Did he not hear her? That's some profound stuff right there.
"Miss Wore-win, can Nash pwease have more gwapes!"
"Oh certainly my darling, here you go!"
"Oh my pleasure!"
Ahhhhh! There it is. She did it again. What the heck? Where is this coming from? How did she learn this? How have I never noticed this? Ok, I'm getting to the bottom of this...right...now.
"Lauren, I love that you say 'my pleasure.' Seriously, fill me in!"
And so began a succinct but eloquent explanation about how one day it just dawned on her. She heard Michelle Duggar say it. And now she says it all the time at work. 'My pleasure!' To customers who are being real turds, total a-holes. She works for an airline. Yep, now you believe me about the turd part? She has to deal with people at their worst. People yelling. People angry. People tired. People stressed. People. People. People. All the time.
And she says 'my pleasure' to these people. People she doesn't even know. Or love. Or cherish. People she'll never see again. People who give nothing in return. People she'll never kiss. Or hug. Or laugh with. Just ordinary old people.
But here, in her home, are three very special people. People she seldom said 'my pleasure' ever to. So she started saying it. And it clicked. And it worked. And she found pleasure. At work and at home. Quite often. In serving others.
She said it has truly changed how she interacts with people. Her people. Her cherished children and adorable husband. What's bigger and better than that? Nada.
What the heck, I thought. Two words. One mission. Easy enough.
Fast forward a few months and I'm on the bandwagon. Like I'm the freakin' president of the 'my pleasure' sorority. I say it. Spout it. Proclaim it to anybody and everybody who will listen. It's catchy and easy. Two words. That's it. And guess who had a sort of spirit revival, if you may? Yes sirree. Me. My heart. My family.
I find I'm no longer having pity parties in my own head. I'm no longer thinking these hideous thoughts that I'm not appreciated. I'm no longer looking at Walt for validation. Or Nash. I'm just going along my day, doing what I do...serving my people. As best I can. Always with a 'my pleasure!' Especially when I hear a thank you.
It really has humbled my spirit. Refreshed my Mommy mojo. Turned my heart around in a way I can't even begin to describe. Guess who else says 'my pleasure' from time to time? Walt? Nope. Nash? YEP! It might be the cutest thing you've ever heard. 'Oh my pleasure, Momma!' Yep, total swoonfest over those.
I'm so very, very eager to share this with the world. I really do think companies like Marriott and the Ritz Carlton are onto something with their 'my pleasure' banter, I just never imagined the profound effect it would have on my heart. As a wife. As a mother. As a friend.
All aboard the 'my pleasure' train and see where it takes ya! Don't thank me. Thank Lauren. Or wait, Michelle Duggar. Yep...that's hilariously awesome, ha!