This past week was stressful for reasons outside of my control, and some of it was very, very public. Beyond the normal stresses of getting ready for the holidays, the constant weight of grief and the emotional fragility of the holiday season, there were other challenges that tested my strength and resolve. And oh yeah, I also did my first newspaper interview about my new book.
Today, I had some time to myself to wrap gifts, and while I did it, I thought a lot about the past week, and came to some realizations. The first realization was how amazing my husband and children are. Throughout it all, they stayed calm and supportive, picked up the slack for me, made me laugh, and reminded me that love is all that really matters at the end of the day.
The second realization was that I have been truly blessed with some of the professional role models I have had in my career. Last weekend, I dropped off copies of Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude to two women who were my very first professional supervisors. Just that they wanted to read the book touched me deeply. But then with all the craziness this week, the first person to reach out to me was one of those women.
For the years I worked for her, she often said, “If we believe behavior speaks, we need to listen.” That has been one of my professional mantras ever since. (The other is “treat each child as if they were our own.”) She would say it over and over, and encourage me (and others) to look at the behaviors children showed as their way of telling us what they needed. When she reached out this week, she reminded me of that again, and those simple words, shortened to “behavior speaks,” made me refocus, recommit, and keep going. Those two simple words meant more than I could express when her message arrived, and still do.
Behavior speaks, and we need to listen to what it says. That is true for all of us. So hopefully my behavior speaks too, and hopefully, my behavior is showing that I am internalizing Sam’s message of unconditional love.