“The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.”—Flora Whittemore
My daughter is not a morning person. Each day, getting her out of bed classifies as a struggle in itself, but getting her ready to get out the door on time to get to school is nothing short than a Herculean task.
Getting dressed is the big challenge—since the time she turned one and could barely walk —Morgan decided glamour was the name of her game. Before making her appearance, the diva has to select her costume, which involves laying out five different outfits on her bed and making sure they are all color-coordinated and matching her mood of the day; accessories are the next step and their selection takes just as long as choosing the clothes. An hour after getting up, she finally comes downstairs (no rush there either) and takes fifteen minutes to brush her hair.
Daily routine: Morgan gets up around eight and we rush out of the house at 9:15, often eating breakfast in the car because we are running out of time. Rare is the morning when I don’t ponder on the fact that patience must be the lesson I came to learn in this lifetime.
Yesterday morning she surprised me by getting up on her own and sporting a great mood. She tiptoed downstairs and pick-a-booed me in the kitchen, her little cherub eyes sparkling with an unknown glee for that time of day. My first thought was that she was either coming down with a strange virus, or this happy-so-early-in-the-morning attitude was the result of a strange planetary alignment I wasn’t aware of. Regardless, I wasn’t going to look into a gifted horse’s mouth; I smiled brightly and swept her up in my arms. Then, reluctant to let go of the moment, and aware of Morgan’s competitive nature, a sudden thought pierced the fiber of my thoughts and sparked an idea. “Let’s see who can dress first. I bet that I can get dressed faster than you can.” Magic words – Morgan ran up the stairs ahead of me and flew to her bedroom to get dressed. In two minutes she was out of the room with clothes on! I wasn’t about to waste a perfect chance to succeed, so I milked the situation for all it was worth. “I bet I can brush my teeth before you!” I said running to the bathroom. She ran to her own bathroom and brushed her teeth. We repeated the same routine for other tasks and, as if by miracle, we were washed, clothed, fed and ready to go at 9:05.
In the car I couldn’t help wondering why I never thought of appealing to this side of her personality before. We got to school before they even opened the doors, nobody got angry or stressed, and Morgan gave me a huge hug before getting out of the car. Was this the secret I had been searching for? Suddenly, the words “I bet I can do this faster than you” sounded awfully similar to “Open Sesame.”
On the way back home I thought of how many times we continue knocking on doors that refuse to open, and we become frustrated when we get little or no response; we waste our energies and become annoyed, and never once do we think that knocking harder will not make much of a difference; sometimes, we just have to try a different door.
Certainly, this could be just a momentary lapse of drama for her, but looking at it from a different point of perspective, it’s also possible that stifling the original conflict using a game was all that was needed.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that things will continue the same way. Meanwhile, I will take what I can, and I will be thankful for blessings hidden around every corner. Sometimes a different approach is all we need to open new doors leading us to our preferred destination.