Recently, Rowen has been very difficult to put down to sleep at night. What used to be an effortless and joyful evening routine has become completely ineffective and a lively boy remains wrestling amongst the pillows. Sometimes I handle this gracefully and patiently, but mostly it has been completely aggravating. Feelings of helplessness, anger, and frustration begin to boil over to the point that I have to take a leave from the bedroom to gather myself, or ask for Matthew's help.
Last night was no exception, but this time, as Rowen joyfully bounced around the bedroom while I became increasingly restless and upset, I decided to not act on these emotions but instead to just witness the storm brewing inside. What I found ultimately was a sense of powerlessness at the core of these swarming emotions. I had no control over what was unfolding with Rowen and my upset was being caused by my unwillingness to surrender to the reality of the situation. He was not about to fall asleep, and no amount of being grumpy would change that. In that moment I found calmness amidst the storm inside. The struggle ended, I shifted gears, and we all went back into the living space to let him continue to wind down while I accomplished other chores I felt restrained from doing.
In a moment, I went from seeing Rowen as a difficult and unruly toddler to him being the most adorable and playful little man. The key was allowing myself to feel the weight and validity of my emotions, embracing that sense of feeling powerless and knowing it was okay to feel that way, and then making an active choice on how to shift our energy to honor all of our needs.
We both fell asleep sweetly about an hour later.