How a ‘Cherokee Legend’ Changed My Parenting

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The first time I heard this Cherokee Legend, I was shaken by the words…

I recently returned home from a roadtrip that pushed every button, boundary and the two wolves.

It was a planned trip to visit my husband who has been working out of town since October. I spent 10 days traveling with two children, living in a small hotel room, in a small South Carolina town.

You can imagine, right?

Oh, yes “REGRET” was in full swing by the time I crossed the Florida/Georgia border.

I thought to myself…”Why did I think this was a good idea? I should have called my MIL to fly in and stay with the kids. I must be crazy. Maybe I should’ve put the older one on a train. That would’ve cut down on the crazy in the car. This is the holiday season – where is the joy and gratitude?”

Kids: “Mom, I’m hungry. I’m bored. I need to stretch my legs. Are we there yet?”

Hour by hour, stopping every couple for a break.

And finally…

Kids: “We’re here!! Hooray!!”

Me: “Thank goodness! Don’t trash the place. And PLEASE, stop jumping! There are people in the room below us and it’s 10:30 at night!”

Day 1 & 2 were a blur. Seriously.

By Day 3, I was simply exhausted and ready to return home. Yes, I was ready to throw in the towel.

Then something happened on Day 3. Shortly after dinner, it became clear that I had not set this road trip up for success. I was flying by the seat of my pants and I needed help. So, I decided to “reframe” the experience I was having with the kids. Instead of crazy, I wanted calm. Instead of anxiety, I wanted peace. At this point, what choice did I have? I wanted a different experience or I was packing up the car.

I quietly laid down with earbuds, peaceful music (kids were watching a show) and I focused on visualizing our daily interactions through a new lens. A new pair of glasses, if you will.

Sound too woo-woo? I know but hear me out.

I visualized a new experience with routine and order to the day. Waking up with peace, calm and ease. No fights over breakfast or what we were going to do during the day. I then visualized support. A person/place for them to play and run around. We had already been to the park but I needed MORE support.

Day 4 rolled around and things seemed different.


When I awoke, my patience seemed more in balance. Whoa, where did that come from?

I moved slowly, rather than speeding around getting things in order. The children and I spoke about having more peace that morning but there was more to it. I was modeling how to have more peace.

It felt like we had somehow found a rhythm to the day? Was this real? We ate breakfast with ease and our daily outings seemed less stressful and more enjoyable.

These kids can’t possibility mine? What’s going on.

And then… the kicker of all…

As I’m driving through town, the kids spot an indoor playroom 2 blocks from the hotel?

I mean, Really? Why had I not heard of this?

I had met a lot of locals in this tiny town. I even asked about play zones but no one knew anything.

I called and a local women picked up the phone. She explained that she hosts birthday parties and watches local children after school but she would welcome my children since we were visiting from out of town. Really?

Hmmm… after I hung up, I took to google and fb. I’m in a foreign town without any referrals… I definitely need to do my homework. What I found was interesting… post after post was filled with great reviews. The women named, Nana (Nana’s Playroom) is known for Birthday celebrations in the small town and the local kids love the place.

This is too good to be true, right?

The next day we walked over to Nana’s around 10:30 am. A women opened the door with a welcoming smile and invited me to join her for coffee while the children played. I sat and talked with “Nana” for about an hour. We discussed her life, her family, the town and how she started the Playroom. I then decided it felt right to leave and run errands/work. She informed me that the children would be well cared for. And I knew they would.

The kids spent all afternoon at Nana’s and when I picked them up the first thing they asked…”Can we come back, please!!”

How did this happen?

In that moment on Day 3, I “reframed” my experience. I chose to feed the ‘other’ wolf and life showed up to support me. My ego was tired of trying to control and make everything happen my way on the trip and I finally surrendered. I allowed myself to see a new opportunity by reframing in the midst of what I felt was chaos. And then, in that moment a new possibility was created and the people/circumstances aligned to support me and the children. You could call it luck but I’ll just call it a Blessing.


As we prepare for the Season of Thanksgiving here in the US, I am humbled by the words of the wise Cherokee man.


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