This life is yours.

Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well.

Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly.

Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature.

Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you.

Take the power to make your life happy.

— Susan Polis Schutz


Flashback to winter 10 years ago.

10 o’clock in the morning. Loïc, my 2 and half year old son and I are having tea and a cookie. Baby Rohan is asleep and Loïc cherishes this time he can spend alone with his mother. The sun is shining outside despite the -10 degrees Celsius.

All of a sudden Loïc asks me to go play with him outside in the sandbox (his favorite activity irrespective of the weather conditions). I usually get him dressed and let him out to play by himself but he insists that I come along this time: drooping, pleading dog eyes, slight pull at my sleeve, ‘pleeeaaaase Mommie’. How can I resist?

We get dressed – which takes a while, what with the -10 outside and hence the need for multiple layers of clothing – and stumble outside into the sunny cold. Loïc rushes to the sandbox and immediately starts pulling out stuff to show me: a bulldozer, a bucket, a small rake and shovel. ‘Come Mommy, help me’.

And I’m thinking ‘Uggghhh, why can’t he just play and I watch him? Do I have to do this?’ (it is 10 am and -10 degrees remember?). I sit down – what else can I do? – and start raking the half-frozen sand.

It gets me thinking. When we are little, we love to play in the sand, in the water, in the woods, in the barn – you name it. We can spend hours doing something repetitiously. And we hate it when our parents call us inside because it’s dinner time. We have the feeling there is never enough time to play the games we love.
And when we get older and are finally allowed to decide about our own time, how come we have stopped loving such little, silly games? Now that we can have all the time in the world, why are we not playing in the sandbox or in the woods all the time instead of watching tv or surfing the web?

My mindset shifts and I start enjoying raking the sand, heaping sand into the truck. We start running around the garden, aimlessly (another favorite occupation of my son – which I usually get him up to because it tires him out and he will be ready for a nap :-).

There is still a thin layer of snow in the garden and we get out these big plastic shovels they make for sliding down the hill on your bum. I show Loïc how to do this and after a few failed attempts, he finally manages to keep his feet in the air and slide down the slope. What a joy to hear that laughter, coming from deep within a child’s heart. ‘Again Mommy, again¨!’. And off we go for about 15 minutes (typical time spent on one activity before getting bored and needing to do something else) when we switch to the swings. I haven’t sat on a swing since summer and I can tell you it’s a whole different experience when it’s cold. It’s great!

When he is ready to go off into the sandbox again I stop him because it’s lunchtime. He mopes and doesn’t want to come inside. But I have my secret weapon: the lure of home-cooked food and he is running to get inside and out of his playing clothes.

So this morning I chose to play with my son and did it well and loved it. I was part of his game and of nature.
I took the power to control my feelings and hence the direction of the morning. I took control to make my life happy.

It seems such a small, unimportant step, but deciding to really be there and enjoying it was the best thing I did that day.