There was a cartoon picture going around the internet a while back that I really got a kick out of. It featured a bear and a rabbit and talk of “toilet paper”. I’ll include it here in case you haven’t seen it (and need a good laugh).
Lest you think I am a heartless person, please know I’m not! I just appreciate the bear’s clever humor. 🙂
Speaking of bears (yes, this is my feeble attempt at segueing into today’s topic, haha) … have you ever thought about the different meanings of this word? There is of course “bear” the noun, which describes a “fuzzy, hairy, honey-eating, bunny-abusing animal” that we see in the pictures above. Then there’s the other, not-quite-so-entertaining definition. You know the one I’m talking about. Merriam-Webster defines “bear” the verb as meaning “to accept or to endure (something)”.
This makes me think of the idiom grin and bear it.
Have you ever had one of those experiences, the kind where you wanted to …
grit your teeth or …
scream or …
pull your hair out or …
poke your eye with a pencil
… but instead you held your feelings of annoyance and frustration in? If you have kids or work with kids, I’m sure you have.
That was me earlier this week when I was at the store with C. She had so graciously decided to accompany me instead of staying with hubby and E, even though I tried to make shopping sound like the most boring, un-fun errand possible. The truth was that she preferred my company more (aw!) and wanted to help me (doh!). Don’t get me wrong – I do enjoy spending time with my rambunctious alter ego, however I consider walking up and down supermarket aisles to be a lot more “fun” when it’s done in the least amount of time and by myself.
So I knew full well what I was in for that day. What could have been a quick, 30 minute, in and out trip turned out to be a slow-as-molasses, “I’m aging as I walk” task. What made it painstakingly long? It was likely due to the extra minutes I waited for C to open each and every plastic bag (those things are hard enough for adult fingers to figure out!), the extra moments she spent counting each and every mushroom as she placed them in a bag, the extra seconds I spent picking her up so she could reach an item on a high shelf (that she insisted on getting for me), and the extra time it took for me to cup a plastic bag around my mouth and huff and puff into said bag until it became the size of a small watermelon. (Whew! That last bit took a lot of work.)
This was when I really understood what it means to grin and bear it.
Choosing to have C tag along at the store meant slowing down my pace to match hers and taking a lot of extra time to teach and help her with various tasks … so she could “help” me. Now why would I want to do that? (By the way, this was a question I asked myself several times that day.)
The best answer I can think of is this: it was the sweet face that stared up at me in the produce section. The ears that listened intently as I pointed out the type of peaches to pick (slightly soft, but not bruised); the dimpled hands that struggled with determination to reach a box of pasta; the big brown eyes that watched in anticipation as I turned a plastic bag into an aerodynamic ball.
I decided it was better to grin and bear it than to squash my dear daughter’s spirit. And I’m glad I did. Because as one of my favorite verses says, “love bears all things”, which often means changing up my plans for my kids. That day it meant giving C an opportunity to learn life skills and even
especially taking the time to have some fun while doing so (yes, we may have played a game of catch with the inflated plastic bag in the snack aisle). 🙂
I hope my experience can help you bear in mind (pun intended, haha) the benefits of choosing to grin and bear it with the little ones in your lives.
This post totally reminded me of a Disney classic, “The Jungle Book” and the song, “The Bear Necessities”. I like the line that goes, “Forget about your worries and your strife”.
In what ways do you choose to grin and bear it with your kids?