A Radical Act of Perspective

In the regular day-to-day of my life, it is easy to forget that each one of my children is a truly remarkable human being. Last night, in the smelly change room of our local hockey arena, I was reminded.

Simon is away in Seattle on business which meant that, last night, I was the hockey parent. Zach had a Select game against his former teammates from last year’s league and he was totally pumped for it. To not only see but also to play against his former teammates was just the pinnacle of his hockey success this season. And not only that, but to do what he loves most in the world; to compete, to sweat, to lean into the team dynamic.

Zachary just loves every single aspect of the game of hockey.

gg56728785When I picked Zach up from school yesterday afternoon he noticed that one of my tires was flat. I had no option but to deal with it promptly so I dropped all the boys off at home and headed up to my trusty Canadian Tire auto service. After a long two hour wait I could feel the time crunch I was under and I was stressed. I had an hour to rush home, feed the boys, get Zach ready for his game and make sure the other boys were ready for their evening of shinny in the local park.

At 6:25 I dropped Max, Michael and a buddy at the skating rink and continued on to the hockey arena. After all that I had gone through to get there on time and with all the gear Zach would need, I was thrilled when we pulled up outside the arena at 6:30 on the dot- we had made it in perfect time for the 7:00 game. I dropped an excited Zach off to start changing and went to park the car.

A few minutes later I walked into the arena and one look at Zachary’s face told me something was wrong. ‘The game was at 6:00 mom, not 7:00.’ I was gobsmacked. I was so sure the game was at 7:00 that even when I looked on my calendar I thought I would see that I had been correct.

I wasn’t.

download (19)The game was nearing the end of the first period when I left Zach in the change room to get ready. I ran into the rink to make my apologies and ask whether Zach should get dressed for the game. The answer was; ‘not this one, Zach will have to sit out and just watch the game.’ When I returned to the change room to let Zach know that he could not play, I noticed that he had been crying. His face looked pale and his eyes were damp.

He was bitterly disappointed and I was absolutely crushed.

I had messed up and I had let him down. I had not double-checked the time and he had missed the game that he had been so excited to be a part of. My stomach was in knots and it was all I could do not to cry.

Zach decided that he would rather go and join his brothers at the park to play shinny than to watch the game. He was pumped for hockey and he needed some ice time. He looked so sad as he slowly donned his hockey gear that my heart was just breaking for him. And all I could say was; ‘I’m so sorry’.

As I leaned in to help him tie up his skates he looked me right in the eye and said; ‘I wasn’t supposed to play in that game tonight mommy.’

I was so enrolled in my own guilt and my own emotional response that I didn’t understand what he was saying to me at first. ‘Maybe I was going to get a bad concussion. Maybe I was going to blow out my knee and be out for the season. Maybe I was going to get badly hurt. I was not supposed to play tonight.’

images (23)With the bitter disappointment he was feeling, Zachary managed to dig deep and to shift perspective. He was trying to tell me that he didn’t blame me and that there were no hard feelings between us. He was trying to make me feel better and to let me off the hook for my mistake.

He was trying to make me feel better.

It did not make me feel better, however. It actually made me feel worse that my nine-year-old was having to manage my emotional response and talk me off the ledge.

A few minutes later I dropped Zach at the park to play shinny and his brothers were delighted to see him. His parting words were; ‘I am so happy to be here mommy, I’ll get so much more ice time in the park than I would have if I had played the game, I love you.’

And he walked away.

I drove home with an ache in my heart. I had let Zach down and that was all that I could see.

Simon phoned from Seattle a few moments after I got home and he was the one who helped me to see the gift in what had taken place that evening.

And the gift is this; yes, Zachary was disappointed that he couldn’t play the game. But rather than freaking out and having a tantrum, rather than blaming me for messing up, rather than claiming the victim, he put our relationship first. He shifted perspective and he invited me to do the same. And, even when he didn’t see the shift in me that he was hoping for, he didn’t waver. Zach lovingly and maturely let me off the hook and gave me the space to slowly shift my own perspective.

He leaned into his love for me. He leaned into family and relationship. He leaned into what truly matters. And he put our relationship first.

And that, on this wintry Valentine’s Day, is as Radical an Act of love as I can imagine!love_hd-normal

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Leaning In

At my naturopathy appointment last week, Dr. Doherty suggested an IV treatment. She felt that it could be a significant turning point in my detoxification and an energy booster to boot. ‘Oh yeah’, I thought, let’s put all those detoxification bulldozers right into my bloodstream and get this system moving! I was booked to have the treatment this afternoon and I was very excited.

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After the fairly miserable, itchy and uncomfortable week I have had, I must say I was really hanging my hat on some relief this afternoon. At 5:30 this morning, when I had my foot in a big pot of icy water with Michael standing beside me saying; ‘don’t scratch Mommy, don’t scratch Mommy’, all I could think was; ‘there is light at the end of the tunnel’.

As I was driving the kids to school this morning (yes, I totally wimped-out on the first wind chill morning!) my cell phone rang. The extremely apologetic voice on the other end of the phone was calling to inform me that, due to illness, my appointment was cancelled. As I got off the phone my throat felt tight with disappointment and it was all I could do not to cry.

There was supposed to be light at the end of the tunnel today.

After dropping the kids off at school, I dragged myself home and had a nice little pity-party. After about 20 minutes I gathered myself up and re-planned my day. I had a bunch of errands to do and figured it would be better if I just got going.

As long as I leave the radio off, driving in the car is extremely meditative for me. Quiet time in the car gives me access to all kinds of inspiration, problem solving, ideas for my writing and solutions to tricky problems. I wasn’t more than a few minutes into my drive when a question gently floated across my consciousness; ‘what if your day is entirely perfect?’

Choosing to resist the pity-party response, I leaned into the question. What if my day is entirely perfect? What if the appointment was cancelled because there is some process happening in my body that would have been disrupted by the detoxification bulldozers? What if I was being kept from an accident on the highway at that particular time of day? What if I really needed the two quiet hours at home before heading to Brantford tonight for Zach’s hockey game?

What-If 2What if?

I allowed the question to sit lightly and slowly came to realize that the reason simply doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that I am always at choice as to how I respond. I can cling fiercely to how it is ‘supposed to be’ or I can hold it lightly and look for the perfection of the moment. It’s easy to lean into the perfection when it is something I really want. But when it isn’t? Now that’s a trickier business.

I could beat myself up and wonder why I have spent so much energy on a cancelled appointment. I could continue the pity-party as my foot is slowly driving me insane. Or I could appreciate that there are forces at work in my life that always hold what is highest and best for me and that I won’t always know the reasons.

There’s something about letting go of control that seems to be hovering around this ‘perfect’ day!

So, the bottom line is that this incredible life is shaping me, growing me, challenging me and asking me to lean in to the perfection that is available in each and every moment…and there is still light at the end of the tunnel, it’s just a slightly different colour than I was expecting!Light at the end of the tunnel