Since she was about a year or so old, Ava has been complaining about the sharp on ramp we take each morning on our way to daycare.
We go from heading East to heading North and so that turn on to a new road is a twist that sends your body to one side.
And she didn't like it. Sometimes she would cry. Sometimes she would whimper and whine. But every time I knew she wasn't happy.
And so I would feed in to it. Saying things like, "I'm sorry!" or, "It will be over soon!" Because it always was over within a matter of seconds. I didn't think much of it because it was so short.
And then, a few months ago, inspiration struck.
What if instead of commiserating I made it seem fun?
So the next day on the way there I said, "Ava, are you ready? It is going to get twisty!" And as we made our way up the ramp and around to head North I declared, "Weeeeee!"
And you know what she did?
She clapped and said, "Again!"
I showed her that the experience of unusual movement in the car could be fun, and enjoyable. And I don't even have to remind her every time now. She's moved on from associating it negatively.
Now, to apply this more readily in my everyday life.
I've thought of it a lot as together Matt and I came to the difficult decision to release our dog from pain and suffering.
Over the weeks as we built up to this, I would try and give myself perspective.
I thought of all the other pain and suffering people around the world face every day. I thought of losing people in a more tragic way.
And then I thought of all the goodness and happiness in our lives.
I told myself over and over, "My children are happy and healthy."
I tried to balance that all.
But it was still the hardest day of my life since my Dad died.
I wasn't expecting that.
And I didn't even try to change my perspective in that moment, because I know deeply how important processing is. I know the path of grief and I know that you have to go through it. There is no way around it.
But getting back to Ava, the most amazing thing about children is that they force a change of perspective on a constant basis.
Being wrapped up with them and their world this weekend took me out of my head and gave me a reset. I laughed with them in the day, and then cried after bed at night when I went back to my own processing.
I danced, and sang and played with them, and then sat with my Husband later after they'd fallen asleep and we cried more and talked about all we were feeling and all we had just experienced.
Perspective, Grief and Balance. It was a hell of a week.