This morning as he was having another of his daily I-Don't-Want-To tantrums, I had to leave the room. And all I could think was I don't want to. I don't want to. I don't want to listen to another one of these fits. I don't want to be late for work again because of a meltdown. As a matter of fact, I don't want to go to work at all. Or eat foods that are healthy instead of giant cheeseburgers with towering plates-o'-fries on the side. I don't want to clean the house. Or be in school. Or buy the groceries. Or cook the meals. Or be nice. Or do the laundry. Or wear regular clothes instead of sweatpants. Or feel guilty about everything I'm doing wrong. I don't want to...well, again...I could go on. Believe me, I could.
The only difference is, there is no one to cajole or plead with me or bribe me or yell at me when I don't want to. Because I'm the mom. And the grown-up. No, most days I don't want to be. I would rather be anyone else instead. But I am. And I don't know when exactly life changes from not doing things you don't want to do, to doing them anyway. I don't know when that moment is that, "Sometimes-we-have-to-do-things-we-don't-want-to-do" becomes something that our parents tell us, to something that becomes our daily mantra. I don't know when we make the shift from crying about what we don't want to do, to sucking it up and just doing it. (OK, and maybe sometimes still crying about it.)
Is it a sudden change? A gradual one? I don't know.
I just know that all of us spend a good part of our lives doing things we don't want to do. Because we know that we have to. Or that we should. Or that it makes someone else's life better. Or that people are depending on us. Or that we need to set an example for those little ones watching our every move. And I, for one, am grateful to all of the people around me who do things every day that they don't want to. Because it makes my life better. Because when it comes right down to it, we are all a part of each other's lives. And, just like the cast of Gilligan's Island, we are all stuck here together. On this miserable, beautiful, dangerous, exquisite, frightening island of life. Each of us having something unique and useful to contribute. Whether it be material things, or friendship, or guidance, or great ideas, or intelligence, or beauty, or comic relief, or all of the above. All of us make the lives of people around us better by doing what we sometimes don't want to do.
So I am going to try to have more gratitude and be more conscious of the reasons why I am doing all of those many, many things that I don't want to do.
And if I can't always remember the reasons, well...there's always: Because I Said So.