Sunday, April 15, 2012

Scatter Sunshine

The other day a friend dropped me off at home, and while opening the door she looked at our yard and said "Nice flowers." It's true. The flowers in our yard are nice... in fact, they are beautiful. The tulips, daffodils & hyacinth are in full bloom and look lovely.  The yellows, pinks & purple contrast beautifully and I just adore them. The problem is that she didn't stop there. She said it, and then she said "nice weeds," as she kicked a weed that was growing so well it had made it's way out of the flower bed and onto the driveway. It was said in passing. And probably in fun. But I didn't find it funny. I wonder what my face looked like when she said it. I think my jaw probably dropped, and then I recovered with a little laugh and some lame excuse, before grabbing Roly out of the car, and going inside without a backward glance. 
I know I blew things out of proportion, as I tend to do these days, in my ridiculously sensitive state, but what she said made me so mad. I just kept thinking "Why did she have to say that? Has she seen my life? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?" Ultimately I realized that I wasn't mad that she told me there were weeds in my garden. I was mad that I knew there were weeds in my garden, and I was too overwhelmed to deal with them. I was mad that she didn't acknowledge how tough it would be to do all the weeding for such a large garden. I was mad that no one had offered to help me weed that said garden. 
I have a very active little boy, and a very active little fetus and the thought of weeding the front garden just scared me. I couldn't wrap my head around how to get out there, with Roly in toe, and get this done without him running into the street. I put forth some piddly little attempts, which would last about 20 minutes while Roland would stay close to me, digging in the dirt, and helping me weed, until he would get bored and start venturing out past the flower beds and closer and closer to the street.  A couple of those attempts got a single corner of the yard weeded... I'd say 1/8 of the total that needed to be done. 
A few days later one of Dave's friends dropped by and made some crack about our "Garden of Weeden." Well that was just salt in my open wound, and I tried not to let it show, but yet again I found myself wondering if anyone had considered how the dickens I was supposed to get this done.
I just wanted someone to consider the following: Roland sleeps until 7:30 or 8:00 am. From that time forward, until 8:00 pm he is essentially by my side, running away from me at high speed, or in my arms. He has become a good little napper, but the truth is, so have I. I tend to nap during the day when he does, and if I don't I tend to feel a bit of exhaustion border-lining hysteria by about 6 pm. So to get myself through the day without a snap, I nap. So, I can spend about 20 minutes at a time in the front, which does approximately nothing. And if I wait long enough in between weeding, the attempts I've made are already grown in with more weeds, that match the rest of the yard. 
So that day, after Dave left I decided I'd waited long enough. I got my butt in gear, and went out to do some weeding while Roland slept. I accomplished a lot more in that short time, without worrying about my little munchkin running in front of a city bus, than I had in previous attempts. When Dave and his friend got back his friend was quick to point out the progress. He said it looked great, and went on to say that it was good for me to spend time on my hands and knees, as it encourages baby to be in the right position during labor. A simple comment. But it really brightened my day. He acknowledged my attempt, and encouraged me to do more.  
Well, that explanation took much longer than I thought it would... apparently I'm not over it! But most of this is beside the point. What this situation really got me thinking about was the people in my life that scatter sunshine, that fill my mind with hope and happiness... vs. the people that leave rain clouds... and piddle on my parade.

I had a conversation with a friend a while ago which has stuck with me. We were talking about her mother in law: a beautiful, confident, creative individual, who my friend greatly admires and knows cares about her. In a moment of feeling completely overwhelmed and frustrated my friend wondered aloud why her mother in law had never expressed words of encouragement to her. "She has never told me I'm a good mother, or a good wife, or a good cook. She never tells me what we are doing right." My friend was wishing that someone would spread a little sunshine, and acknowledge her sacrifice. Her mother in law is one of the most stylish and talented ladies I've ever met, yet when the people around her needed to feel the confidence she seemed to exude she wasn't able to share it. I couldn't help but contrast her mother in law with another woman I know- my Aunt Trish. Trish is a beautiful, creative, amazing woman. Her house will forever be one of my favorite places in the world, made better only by being in her presence. Here's the thing about Trish- she is hilarious, full of this self degrading humour that perhaps only our family understands and an honesty which I greatly admire, but more than that, when she speaks she builds. She uses the word "perfect" to describe my actions way to often for it to be true, but enough for me to feel really great about what I'm doing when I'm with her. She allows other people to feel good about their attempts, which encourages them to go on, to try again, and to try really hard to live up to the words she has already used to describe them. She has amazing children, with that same ability. I admire her, and love her, and I appreciate all the sunshine she has brought into my life. 

So, in reflecting on these different people- the parade piddlers and the sunshine spreaders I just wonder which  one I am. Am I building people up? Am I encouraging them to do more and be better? Or am I using confidence as a guise to hurt others and inadvertently tear them down? Do people I come in contact with want to hear what is going to come out of my mouth? Or do my friends and family take cover when I'm about to speak? Can I see past the weeds enough to point out the flowers? Do I point out the weeds without realizing that someone is doing all they are capable of in that moment to get rid of them? Am I tearing others down in my own attempts at humour or attempts to build myslef up? 

Do I encourage? Do I uplift? Do I inspire? 

I hope so. I am going to work on doing so. I want my friends, my neighbours, and more than anyone else, my family- my husband & children, to feel like when they are with me they are capable of doing anything, that all attempts are good enough. I don't want feelings of discouragement, insecurity, hopelessness or fear to be brought on by words that I speak. 

It might seem hokey... but I'm going to insert the lyrics to a hymn, which I've been humming to myself since I started writing this. It really just describes how I feel perfectly. 

Scatter Sunshine
Hymn #230, by Lanta Wilson Smith.

In a world where sorrow
Ever will be known,
Where are found the needy,
And the sad and lone;
How much joy and comfort
You can all bestow,
If you scatter sunshine
Everywhere you go.

Scatter sunshine all along your way;
Cheer and bless and brighten
Every passing day;
Scatter sunshine all along your way;
Cheer and bless and brighten
Every passing day.

Slightest actions often
Meet the sorest needs,
For the world wants daily
Little kindly deeds;
Oh, what care and sorrow
You may help remove,
With your songs and courage,
Sympathy and love.

When the days are gloomy,
Sing some happy song;
Meet the world's repining
With a courage strong;
Go with faith undaunted
Thro' the ills of life;
Scatter smiles and sunshine
O'er its toil and strife.


  1. Great post Ali, I feel your pain over weeding. I'm sorry we made so many flower beds! The only way I got it done was to put Aubrey on a blanket barefoot and you know she wouldn't dare step on the grass!

    1. Your flower beds are a blessing to this planet. They are beautiful. I just suck at keeping up with them. That made me laugh out loud to remember Aubrey and her fear of grass... although it wasn't even fear- she just detested it. Funny girl!

  2. I love your blog Ali. love it.

  3. I always love to read what you write! You write so honestly and it inspires me.
    Every time I drive up to your house (not that frequent any more... single tear) I notice the beauty of the flowers!