Happiness: Turn It from Two Dads

 It's time for some happiness, friends! Welcome to Thursday and the every-other week series that Joy and I have going on. It's lovingly titled Turn It, and we're talking about how difficulties can become strengths when viewed differently. If you missed Joy's first post about the amazing work being done with MRIs and children's fears, go ahead, check it out (and join us back here!!).

I have two (short, I promise) Turn It stories to share with you this week.

1. Have you seen this story floating around the interwebs? If you were brave enough to follow the link, you'll see an adorable photo/video of a little boy named Carter. Carter travels via wheelchair because of spina bifida.

And if you click over to see this photo of Carter in his Halloween costume, you won't see a little boy who suffers from a challenging disease. You'll see a thriving boy who is living a happy childhood thanks to the assistance of his loving father.

Carter's dad turned it. Carter's wheelchair serves as the foundation to a magical ice cream truck complete with service windows full of ice cream cones. Not just anyone can wear this incredible costume. It was made to delight and show off the talents of one very special ice cream truck driver.

2. Story two comes from my home. The main character of this story is my husband. He is a problem solver by profession and vocation, and he so easily carries over these talents to his life as a dad.

As a co-parent with him, I find myself watching some of his (very successful) strategies.

We have three kiddos (7, 5, and 2), and boo boos, scrapes, cuts, and bruises are a daily happening. My husband and I are working to raise strong children, able to express themselves while also knowing when the sobbing over a hangnail is just too extreme.

A while back, we had reached a stage of parenthood when our children were running to us with every knick and teeny, tiny mark. My reassurance that said injury would be fine seemed to only aggravate every attention-seeking need my children have. The crying seemed to multiply.

My husband started a ritual that is now a part of our family dynamic. When M falls down and hurts her ankle, she comes over to her dad (same process here). Her dad listens carefully and attentively (that's what we all want anyway, right?), and offers his hand. He then says

"Squeeze my hand and show me how bad it hurts."

My daughter squeezes with all her might and receives the silliest, loudest, funniest reaction from her father. She in turn laughs, forgets the pain, and makes her own face to top his performance.

Last week my 2-year old son observed his older sister C fall down from the monkey bars. He ran over to her, offered a caring face and an outstretched hand. He said, "Squeeze my hand and show me how bad it hurts." He does a great silly face; I think it's in his genes.

Today is my baby boy's third birthday. And I am incredibly grateful that his life entered mine. Happy birthday L!

Have you noticed someone around you turning their difficulty around? In even small ways?

XOXO, MJ

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