Thursday, November 15, 2012

Lessons from Bed: Rules to Live By

I don’t do Halloween. Jeff doesn’t like it either. So, once we had our own family we decided Halloween was one of many celebrations we were not going to take part in; the others being Santa, New Year’s Eve, the Easter Bunny, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s day, and others not directly related to our system of beliefs. Although we have our version of Halloween in Lebanon called Eid el Berbara, celebrated on December 4th, in all my childhood years I remember having dressed up in costume only once, and even then I felt ridiculous. St. Berbara had donned on different characters in order to escape the Romans who were persecuting her. She used to hide in wheat fields. Cooked wheat with sugar, cinnamon, almonds and raisins, something similar to American-style oatmeal, is served during this "holiday" and a special song is sung. My late grandmother used to call on Eid el Berbara as her excuse to make that treat for her grandchildren although she really did not need to go that far to convince us to enjoy that treat.
This year, however, Jeff and I made an exception and JR got to take part in her first, and possibly last, trick or treating expedition. The timing was right, and the distraction was perfect. I had just been admitted to the hospital for an emergency cerclage and we enlisted Sonia to help with JR. We were not prepared for the surgery but were lucky that Sonia came to our aid at a moment’s notice. She dropped what she was doing, picked JR up and headed back to her place where she kept her two girls and their friend engaged, fed, rested and happy for the rest of the day. And since the surgery happened on Halloween dressing up and knocking on people’s doors proved to be a most successful form of entertainment for the 3 year-old. It was so successful that JR did not notice that I was not there until it was time for her to go to bed and Mama was not there. And, “facetiming” Mama was a poor substitute.
Choosing to allow JR to dress up like a frog and knock on people’s door proved to be a decision that we won’t regret. She came back happy with lots of stories to tell. And while this decision may not align with our overall parenting style, being flexible and allowing room for the unexpected is. And while I would love to raise my kids with “rules and regulations,” I love being able to offer them adaptability more. Life is full of surprises and having the skills to bend with the change is invaluable. So yes, there are traditions we won’t incorporate into our daily life; but when the choice is between bending the rules to allow myself and my family space to function, or being rigid and thus crippling, I will chose to bend the rules.
And that is one of the many lessons this bed rest challenge has taught me.


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