I love this sequence of pictures of our granddaughter, Charlie. I know how she feels and what she is thinking.
1) “I know you want me to smile, but I need a minute.”
2) “I’m going to pretend you’re not there. I need a minute.”
3) “You just don’t get it do you? I need a minute.”
4) “Please, just get out of my face for one MINUTE!”
Some people call it “alone time.” Some say, “I need my space.” Some pout, some have a meltdown, some whimper, and some shout. We all handle it differently, but we all have those moments when things just get to be too much and we’re no longer rational. We’re off when others want us to be on. We’re not feeling the gratitude or appreciation.
Here is my theory.. It all started with the starving children overseas. You know, the ones your parents told you about to guilt you into cleaning your plate.
I never heard the word “stress” when I was growing up. If you have an old Webster’s Dictionary, the definition is something about pressed wood. Now stress is the reason for everything we do that’s bad, like drinking, smoking, eating too much, taking too many sick days, and a multitude of other bad things.
I sometimes think of something my Mother said in the middle of one of her meltdowns. Someone told her that she had no business acting the way she did because she should be grateful that one of the “what ifs,” wasn’t happening to her. What if you didn’t know where your next meal was coming from? What if you or someone you love was fighting some terrible disease?
Mom’s mood didn’t improve one bit, because she was a worrier. She hadn’t thought about some of those things. Now she was worried AND felt ashamed. Her answer? “If people don’t have big things to worry about, they worry about little things.” She had a point. You’ve heard the expression, “Cheer up. Things could be worse.” Sometimes followed by, “So I cheered up and sure enough, things got worse.”
Do we really not have the right to feel like Charlie did unless the very worst has happened? Sometimes, all we need is a minute. If we don’t get it, we might need professional help.
The other side of this is that you must recognize when others need a minute. Like our granddaughter Skyler in the picture above. You have just said “No” to a four year old. They might not be able to articulate it, but in most cases they need a minute to come up with plan B…or maybe you need a minute to think about what their plan B will be.
This time of year, is inherently stressful. We’re all looking for that special gift for the person who already has everything. We want our kids and grandkids to understand the meaning of Christmas, but they still make a list as long as your arm. Be easy on yourself. Ask them what they got for Christmas last year. You might get a look like this.
I’m in favor of having a “Give me a minute day.” A day when all you have to say is, “I need a minute,” and everyone will know if you don’t have that minute to gather yourself, or re-center your life, they will suffer the consequences no matter how many children overseas are starving.
I realize not everyone is going to agree with me. In that case, I’ll give you a minute.