We have been here a little over a month. In the box (that’s what I call
our apartment) for about 2 weeks. Philip’s back at work full
time and I’m home with the boys 24 hours a day 7 days a week…..
Needless to say I am growing into a very grumpy mom…. frustrated with
Philip, irritated with the constant fighting among the boys…
I was reading a blog before we came written by a family that had
done something similar 20 years ago. The parents described their
experience as “the worst time of their lives but the best thing they
could have done for their family” I now understand this…They had said
how hard things were when they were in the thick of it squabbling kids,
moody teenagers, whining and crying with no familiar outlets, breaks
etc…But that 20 years later their experience created a deeper bond
to each other and each child grew in ways they would never have grown
without the experience. They had more compassion for others, became
global citizens and wanted to make a difference in the world….

I think were in the thick of it now…. Silas turned 14 away from
all of his friends, Thanksgiving with no tofufurkey, no turkey, no
cranberries, no family…Now Christmas fast approaches but no school
programs to attend, no cookie exchanges or solstice spiral, no
Christmas eve with friends, no chance of snow….. Small things
compared to an exciting adventure yes, but, it’s the small things that
give us a sense of belonging and purpose to our lives…without those
events and seasonal rhythm’s I felt lost.

So, here I am in a bit of a funk tired of my kids, fighting with Philip and longing for some Christmas spirit. Last night like so many nights in the last couple of weeks we were all arguing. Each of us feeling justified in our anger. Silas went to his corner Zeb to his, Philip and I were staring each other down in the living room..and then Arlo climbed into my lap and whispered in my ear “mom remember the Buddha inside of you” I began to cry.

Cham Temple- Looking in

How can this little person be so wise. With those words I let go of my anger and saw
things differently. I’m sure this sounds corny but, all of things I’m missing are here inside of me and right in front of me. If I can hold that feeling for even a day then Arlo has given me a wonderful Christmas gift.. Arlo whispered the same to Philip and each of the boys one by one and each of our
hearts were warmed the anger began to melt away and we ended up with a beautiful evening. Instead of bitching about the “bad” behavior I was able to see and share with Philip the positive things that happened that day. Like how when we were riding in the tiny elevator in our apartment Silas and Zeb saw what a hot and miserable job the poor guard had sitting in that stifling box all day long taking people up and down.
They thought he need a cold drink so they bought him a cold bottle of water and brought it back to him… With out any comment or promoting from me they just did it…When I’m wrapped up in my own angst or frustrations with them I miss the point of our move… it’s happening in little ways everyday.. they are growing and learning….They are seeing the world through the eyes of others….
It may be hard but it will be worth it.

If you’re wondering why my five-year old think of such a profound
thing to say I think it is A) because he is an amazing being and B)
because we are reading A Pebble for your Pocket by Thich Nhat Hanh who is a well know Buddhist Monk born here in Viet nam
The book tells us how we all have a little Buddha sitting in our hearts waiting to grow
and radiate light…It’s a beautiful book that Arlo loves listening
to. I recommend it to everyone. As you can see it’s wisdom has made
quite an impression on one 5 year old.