compromising

We got some practice in the art of compromise over the long four day weekend.

We made a huge gluten free thanksgiving feast (leftovers galore) for just the three of us and ate when everything was ready, around lunchtime. M made a dry brined turkey breast and one drum stick and it was the most delicious turkey ever, we all agreed.

I skipped the mashed potatoes because there was just so much food. Maybe I'll make them later this week, or maybe I'll make a gratin instead. Next weekend is the start of Hanukkah, so we'll undoubtedly have latkes (my favorite!).

Our big compromise was over what to do on Friday (aka Black Friday, aka Buy Nothing Day, aka Opt Out Friday): we all wanted a low key, chillax day, but I also wanted to go to the beach and that was not happening. After a protracted negotiation, we agreed to go for a walk along the river/ creek near us instead.

And I'd I just left the story there, you might think we had a nice walk with no issues at all because we'd made a compromise that everyone agreed on. And that's true, we did all agree, but just because you've agreed doesn't mean you have necessarily let go of your original want. So while it was a nice walk, it was also an exercise in letting go of expectation and frustration.

I really wanted to go to the beach.

And Remy really wanted to not go for a walk. At all.

He's nine and a half, so instead of temper tantrums, he mostly sulked a bit and tried to trick us into turning around. And I'm forty, so instead of temper tantrums, I sulked and was annoyed with everything and everybody and had to convince myself to let go of the frustration, one breath at a time.

It's great to be able to model that to my kid. I could say, "hey! I'm frustrated too! I have to let go of being frustrated just as much as you do!" And then actually do that, instead of just talking about it.

And between admiring the amazingly gorgeous weather, the beautiful trees, the endorphins of walking, swinging for awhile at the playground in the middle of the walk, and the huge pile of leaves Remy got to stomp around in, by the end of the walk we were mostly frustration free, so we decided to get lunch and then go bowling, which was a lot of fun.

Making a compromise is great, but sometimes it's just a first step. It can take work to let go of expectations and frustrations and decide to be happy with what is. To happily commit to a compromise instead of begrudgingly. And so that's what we practice, together, as a family.

It isn't easy. But it's worth it.