Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How do you break a slump?

Ughhh. Since going on a wonderful vacation in April, life around here has not been a bowl of cherries and I have found myself in a big slump. A slump as a mother, wife, and my creative side as well. I think the slump started with Steve's infection he picked up in Mexico. We struggle to stay ahead of the kids and our commitments on a good day, but when we added a hospital stay, crutches, visiting nurses into the mix . . . life got away from us.
Fast forward six weeks and the sudden death of Steve's father and especially for Steve, the slump continued. I am not sure which is worse, battling a slump of your own or helping those you love with one they face? Having my mom to talk to and around with us the last 10 days really helped me to realize that it is time for me to step up a little more. I have taken on tons of extra stuff that Steve handles and that coupled with him sleeping downstairs in the hospital room we have created . . . has me missing him a bit. Also I miss seeing him smile. The kids miss having happy parents. Pretty sure we have passed our slump onto them a bit. They wonder when Grandpa is going to come down from the sky with his new friend Kevin (when people have told them Grandpa is up in Heaven, they understand it as his friend Kevin) I think we actually have turned things around for the kids, getting them back to their routine and spending lots of time with them. Much harder on Max then the two three year olds, but at 8 you tend to bounce back pretty quick and also he has the whole ability to think for himself thing going on. So here is where the silver lining of this story comes in and a feeling I needed to make sure I captured in print . . . what I learned from an 8 year old and little league baseball.
Max has had the opportunity this spring and summer to play on a baseball all-star team. He loves baseball and has been thrilled to be a part of this special team. They had a cinderella season and became the team that just kept going. Sports in Max's young life has always pretty much gone his way. He is a bigger kid and gifted with some athletic talent and some brains, a good combination. This experience for him was the story of the little fish in a pond of some much larger, more experienced and a little older fish. In short, Max made solid contributions to the team, but for the first time in his young life he was not one of the team leaders. He struggled a bit to find his way. He along with a few other kids on the team were moved up from the Bantam group, where they faced a batting machine instead of live pitching. He started off hitting okay, but as the team kept advancing and the pitchers faced got stronger . . . Max struggled with confidence. He started to come to the plate a bit defeated. It was so hard to watch our always confident and positive kid struggling. (note to max if this is ever read later in life- tons of great hits and plays did happen both in the state tournament and the mid-atlantic championships, you had a great experience) In two recent games however, he struck out five times in a row. He was in a slump.
Here is the fun part of the story. He realized after those two games that the only way to get out of his batting slump was to face what was going on. On the way home from the second game, he asked me and some others, how he could shake this thing. Then he thought about it and realized that it really was a confidence thing, he knew how to swing and just needed to think positive. He needed to swing the bat and have some fun. So he did. An older brother of a friend on the team, took the boys out the afternoon before the last game and he shook off the curse. Or at least he changed his outlook. They ended up losing the game by one run and not advancing to the finals, but it was a heck of a battle and great game. Also they were the first team in the history of our town to even get to a regional tourney and to tie for first in the pool, they did great! He ended on a positive note and is committed to practicing hitting all year, so he will be able to make the transition to the new league without having to face another slump. In the car going home, he told me that HE had to decide for himself to break the slump and it was in his head. You just have to shake these things off.
I actually think the kid is on to something. I have decided to change my mindset and get out of my funk. I am hoping it will be contagious and help Steve as well. My day with the two little ones has been great. Getting back to being a boy enjoying summer has been great for Max. He is attending real old fashion swim, games, hike, etc. kind of camps in the woods the next two weeks. He mentions he misses Grandpa, but that getting back to life has helped. Just like the batting mom, you have to put it out of your head for awhile. Smart kid, huh? So Mom is going to get Dad back in his groove and we are going to find our mojo. I don't know about you, but being happy and positive is really such a better way to spend the day.
From a creative front, it did work for me today. I am a bit over committed in flickr swaps and decided to take care of a few. A sense of accomplishment is a great feeling and I love the items I made. First I finished a clutch for the gather clutch swap and I think it is fun and great. I hope my partner feels the same. Had a hard time getting a sense of what fabrics she would like and what I had that might have a vintage feel. In the end, I just had to go for it and stop worrying. I think it was a solid double.
Then I finished this am with my two little helpers a pair of potholders and a fun little towel. I am not sure if I will use them for the Potholder Pass or the Urban Homegoods swap. I think I will see if either of my partners remark on them or perhaps make a second similar set. I love this fabric grouping from Robert Kaufman and paired with linen, black, white and red just can't be beat.
So friends, how do you get out of your head and break the slumps in life you face?

5 comments:

CupCakeCutie said...

Thank so much for your honest. SO much of what you see on Blogs is all the pretty and happy stuff. Some times that's awesome and up lifting. But a lot of days it leaves me feeling like something is wrong becuase my life isn't always pretty pictures. I too have been battling a slump this summer. Choosing to see the positive, getting on with life, and taking time to create help me a lot.

lindaschiffer said...

Sounds like your son has a good head on his shoulders!

I've fought with bouts of depression and low energy/slump all my life. (sigh) Mostly, for me, the way to get through is to do more. Extremely hard to do - don't I know! But, even one step forward, one tiny step, gives me courage. One small swap item sent out or one fifteen minute cleaning of one corner or one page of color in my sketchbook or even one good meal.

Helping someone else get through is way harder - the best I've ever been able to manage is to offer comfort and a shoulder/ear. Maybe you and your sweetheart could spend a few minutes together at night, sans kids, just sitting side by side and being together .. or eating something special you both like ... or watching the news. Whatever - the point is to be together. :)

Wishing you the best!!

:) Linda

PS For me, progress out of a slump starts with COLOR - crayons and a blank piece of paper help me. :)

Natalie said...

Two quotes come to mind...

"just keep swimming...just keep swimming...just keep swimming swimming swimming...what do we do we swim swim swim!" Dory in Finding Nemo

"Life has handed me a fare share of lemons. I have decided to make grape juice with them, then stand back and watch everyone wonder how the heck I did it..." my cousin Kari

I'm sorry thing have been so tough for you and your family lately. Let me know if there's ANYTHING I can do to help out!

Three Dancing Magpies said...

Thanks for reading and thanks for wonderful comments! We will be okay and I think just realizing and a little kick in the pants is what I needed. I am a take charge kind of gal and for some reason, I have been sitting back a bit! It is time to make some Grape Juice!

megan said...

Oh man life sure can be tough sometimes. I wish I had some profound advice for getting through it, but when I think back to really hard times in my life, I'm not too sure I handled them very well. I think just hanging on and trying to stay focused on the things that are good is the best way. That and a glass of wine and a little retail therapy:) sending healing, energizing thoughts your way.

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