Breath. Sit with the discomfort. Be courageous. Embrace acceptance. Be compassionate. Change starts with awareness. Slow down. Sense the shift to ease.
But what if you’re late? What if the server is taking too long with the bill? What if you may miss the play you’ve been wanting to see?
On Thursday night, three of my adult children and I went to the Italian Village for dinner before seeing Come From Away at the Cadillac Palace Theater. Apprehension slowly crept into my bones as we waited and waited and waited for our meals to be delivered to our booth. Thirty-nine minutes before the start of the play, I said to the server, “We have to go.” I failed to say, “Now.”
Our plates were delivered, and for me, mindfulness went out the window. I wolfed down my whitefish in butter sauce without savouring each bite, without putting my fork down between chews, without noticing the colors, scents and textures on my plate. Default behavior ruts run deep.
I looked up and marveled that the others had not finished half of their meals. I asked if we should get boxes for the homeless and secretly worried that might take too much time.
I paid the bill, and raced out of the revolving doors like a bat out of hell. I could have told the kids that I was speeding ahead to save a place in line, but I didn’t. I left them in the dust of my 13-minute mile pace as I bolted north on Dearborn to save us a place in line to get our vax cards, ID’s, bags, and tickets checked. I was a mom on a mission. Meanwhile, the kids got smaller and smaller as I looked back. I tried to text when I saved the spot, but they were too busy trying to catch up with me. They did not know where I went, the ticket holder and keeper of the keys.
When we regrouped, it was not pretty. I could feel the familiar quivering of I goofed. And I knew it. I was so disappointed in my inability to reach enlightenment. I was so mad at myself. There are lots of simple could’ve, would’ve, should’ve’s in this story. They – along with my love for my kids – kept me up all night.
There are simple solutions. Don’t be late. Arrange your plans to allow for plenty of time. I live like this now. But I slipped into an old mode on Thursday night, a get ‘er done mentality.
And I was so mad at myself when I saw the emotions in my kids’ faces. I speculated on what they were, and I concluded that they would not want to go to shows with me again. Where does that fear come from?
Reflection is valuable, yet rumination can smother the human spirit.
I have learned to be be aware, compassionate, thoughtful, loving, and present – except when I am in a state of over-drive – like when I’m late. This is the new challenge. I say bring it on. I’m ready for next time.
I’m proud of my kids. They are not like me. They don’t seem to suffer from the tumultuous tension of trying to reconcile the tick of the clock, the quest for kindness and patience, and the fear of being late.
I forgot that the rest of the world cannot walk super fast. I know the frustration of not being about to keep up. I used to work out with Ironmen who circled back for me on long bike rides. I hated that feeling. And I hated that I made my kids feel that way.
My body took over on those Chicago sidewalks. Vroom! I apologized to the kids, but I am working on forgiving myself. This post helps. I don’t know why.
As a proponent of laughter, there was no humor in front of that theater marquis. Instead, I felt an old sense of not getting it right, not being aware or thougtful. it made me so sad. There was enlightenment – enlightenment of failure – failure to communicate, to take on the perspective of the other, to put the kids’ needs before the play, to let it go. The event didn’t matter. The kids do.
Readers may think I am making a big deal out of nothing – my modus operandi. But I learned something big, not only from the choices I could have made, but from not making the best ones. I learned that I must forgive myself, be grateful for the learning experience, and carry on. I am not always going to get it right, and this makes me more grateful for when I do.
I feel like I want a clean slate. The reality is that I have one, right now. And I know I will still slip up. Humanity is so damn humbling.
Next time, we dine after the play.