I want to tell you a story before I tell you about the 6 reasons why asking why is important.
Each of us tells and has stories that stay. Words we hold onto when we’re frightened, hopeful, in awe, and lost. Rhymes and mantras from childhood visit us over the years. We learn new ones in our teens and in our 30’s.
Some give us hope that we’ll find a parking place when we’re late. Others are sent to the stars and to God in hope of solidarity or peace. Most, probably, as we tend to draw on these things when we need them, are sent in panic.
Today, for the first time since I trusted the short bus, I panicked when the regular bus didn’t deliver my son. “Where’s my kid?” I asked, more confused than worried, just yet. More worried than I wanted to show. Do we all blame ourselves, first? For missing something?
He wasn’t there. My little boy did not get off the bus.
I’d already dialed and yelled at she-who-answers-phones at the school while searching. I wanted to punch her for saying “maybe he stayed after?”
He’s SIX, and developmentally delayed. He doesn’t “stay after,” at least not yet. As a neighbor girl told me and her mom where the next stop was, I walked towards it, while humming in my head about not stepping on the cracks, because that’s what came to mind, when not knowing where my son was.
“Step on a crack, and break your mother’s back,” I whispered, avoiding them, still on the phone, saying “NO this is not okay, he’s six years old!”
And then, him, running toward me, snot and tears covering his face. Covering mine.
Me, “thank you thank you thank you thank you” and all of the un-words that we have when we crash to the sidewalk on our knees, thanking all that is to be hugging a cold, frightened six-year-old.
He’d gotten on the wrong bus.
Thank you thank you thank you thank you to all of the alls that it was one that has our same route. That there are dozens of them, spidering from the school to the unknowns, or to all of the sortof-knowns that he may have gotten off at, and I just can’t even.
I don’t have words for how terrified this makes me.
Words. Each of us has the ones we go to when we’re worried, thankful, hopeful, or frightened. Each of us also has words that we hope to aspire to.
Like, finding a word for 2016.
I thought about this a lot. That resolutions are meh, that a word was such a better idea. And I found words, although the ones I thought of didn’t perfectly fit as my word of 2016.
Love. Should love be my word of the year? Well, yes, but no because I’m pretty confident that I know what this one is and is not and how to use it and grow it and pass it on. I think I can do that already.
Health. Well, sure. I want to live until the year 2059 and beyond. I want to meet my son’s children, and be able to walk and breathe. I also know that I need to focus on this more while understanding that it’s not my word. Not now, anyway.
Acceptance. Um, yes. I always want acceptance, for my son, for me, for each of us regardless of skin color, religion, sexual orientation, clothing choices, bad decisions, bad hair, bad breath… each of us deserves to be seen as a people above all else. But I already have that in my word cape.
So I’m going to throw this next one out there, because I’ve been thinking about the word of the year for a few days now, and I keep coming back to this one. I thought about writing a New Year’s post with it as the single resolution before this week’s Finish the Sentence prompt was even suggested.
That word is “why?”
6 Reasons Why Asking Why is Important.
Why? ←– hehe see what I did there?
My 2016 word of the year is why. Here are the reasons I’ve chosen it above 1,001 others that have run through my head and my life over the past few days and decades.
- By asking myself “why?” when it comes to choices, I’ll more easily identify the ones that I’m making for me. As a mother and a friend and a human living among others, there will be times that I make choices for others, sure. And those matter as well. Of course, I’ll chaperone my son’s field trip even when I’m tired or need to reschedule a conference call. But that’s for me, and for him, and for big good reasons.
- Why am I eating this? Am I hungry? Am I emotional? Am I feeling ill and need something? Am I craving ice cream because I haven’t had enough water today?
- Why am I doing this? As a person who sometimes isn’t very smart about making healthy choices like occasionally smoking, asking myself why helps. I can go without, and so why, when I’m not feeling well am I craving this? Do I need alone time? An escape? Why?
- Why do I engage in conversations that I don’t want to have? This one is more complex, as many involve family or work or friends that I want to build up, but asking myself why I’m staying up later than I want to to work though something that is not mine may help me to prioritize, and to have the patience to get through it, or the strength to get off the phone.
- Why am I writing? Am I doing it because I must? Yes, of course. No writer writes for others, really, or, if they do, they must know something I don’t, because it’s a lonely business, and one filled with more self-doubt and criticism than many callings are. There are those who think of it as a hobby. And, maybe, in some ways it is.
- Why do I write what I write? Why do I share what I share? I don’t know the answer to this, but I know some of the symptoms, and the love, and the hope that’s found here. I think I should explore that more. I also think asking myself why I don’t submit more often to other places is something worth thinking about. Am I afraid? Lazy? Both? I’ll let you know when I know.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday prompt. This weeks’ sentence is “My 2016 Word of the Year is…”
Hots: Me (findingninee.com) and
Mardra Sikora – this week’s sentence thinker-upper (http://www.mardrasikora.com/)
and Allison McGrath Smith (http://thelatchkeymom.com/)
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