Whilst my mind was abuzz with lawns being laid and star charts for mothers I heard on the radio about Japan’s earthquake and tsunami. I couldn’t believe it. 2004 again! I thought these things happen only once in a life time, not every five years or so. Somehow it’s always surreal when truly terrible things are happening in the world and you’re in your little car driving your little familiar route. For those people on the other side of the world – their lives won’t ever be the same.

How do we respond to this? My first response is sadness and then a need to reach out for my loved ones. A call to my hubbie (who doesn’t pick up). Another grateful glance at my phone screen with the picture of three smiling Princes. A glance at the internet and the scary, surreal photos that are going up and then my mind shifts dreamily on back to star charts.

Is there something wrong with me? Well I don’t like to think so. I’m human and wanting to refocus back to my To Do list for today. But that doesn’t really do justice to what other people are going through in their world. I once addressed this – when bad things happen to really good people. I think I’ll go back to what I said there. If we can find gratitude, light and love within our own lives and spread that to our nearest and dearest, our neighbors and the people we interact with daily, then that’s transforming the negative to the positive. That’s finding purpose and meaning in tragedy and sadness. That’s having our lives change in response to others suffering. Rather than going into denial of others pain or becoming to infused with the pain.¬†Another sad, moping face doesn’t help anyone who is actually going through the tragedy. Another break down does not build the world. And you can always give yourself a star chart to monitor how you’re doing.

So what am I going on about with star charts? This week my friend posted the funniest thing on Facebook. Her girls were discussing whether they should give their mother a star chart and what they’d give her stars for. I thought this was hilarious and quite apt. We mothers need star charts. Stars of recognition and appreciation. Positive, rewarding stars that motivate us and cement positive behaviors. For taking the kids to school in the morning on time without losing it. For having supper on the table (on time or not). For every extra lift we do and every extra wonderful, mommy act.

Our kids will learn to appreciate us more as they realise that we too (believe it or not) are human and have our challenges. We also need encouragement and appreciation so that we can be the best mothers. Whether we do this or not physically is another story, but the concept of giving ourselves pats on the back and rewards is an important one to integrate into our daily lives.

What would we give mothers as prizes? Well this would vary from mother to mother and I think I need to dedicate a whole ‘The Right to Treats’ blog on it. But meanwhile you can start thinking of all those small and big things you enjoy. From a quiet cup of coffee, to a walk around the block, to a trip to see your best friend who lives in Madagascar (or wherever it may be).

Meanwhile I need to confess that I never manage to finish my blogs all in one sitting. The call of ‘Mummy’ prevails and I often have to shut my computer with a sigh before I finish a post. Since Friday which is when I wrote this blog more terribly sad news has come through. From lovely, lovely people being sick and relapsing to that tragic (how do you even put words to such horror?) murder of Rabbi Fogel, his wife and kids (11 and 4-year-old), plus their baby of a few months in Samaria, Israel. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it. And it sends chills down my spine. It’s filled with grief. We are filled with grief. And there is silence in the face of such grief that no words can fill.

And life goes on. Little mouths need to be fed. Blogs need to be written (ok I want to write them). And we need to take a stand on how we want to create the world we live in. With stars, no stars it doesn’t matter. We all are responsible to bring more light, love and laughter to a world that is often tipping over into the dark. (There is a place for the dark. I wouldn’t say that we deny it. But it’s to be done with love and light and that’s a whole other blog as well.) To give one more extra kiss and ‘I love you’ to our children, so that they feel safe and loved, and yes go on to your husband as well.