Sometimes life happens and the road on which you were so happily traveling takes a detour.
Detours, in the form of change, are part of life. And the way we handle them has a huge affect on our outlook. We can either be miserable, frustrated and complainy… or we can make the detour a high-road excursion. Unwanted change doesn’t have to land us in a ditch.
On Tuesday, Fury stepped on a bee. He screamed and wailed so loud, one of the neighbor kids told me yesterday, “Yeah, I heard him from my front yard.” (Embarrassing.) Fury is actually a pretty tough kid. But, that bee nailed him right in the tender spot on the bottom of your foot; and the sting just kept coming.
I quickly removed the stinger and put a baking soda paste on the spot to calm it down. We tried to distract him with a game of Mexican Trains. And all seemed well. In fact he was quick to join some friends at Little Ninja Gym, our new favorite Staycation outing, soon after.
But, later that night, in the middle of the night, when he stood next to my bed begging for help with the pain, I knew the road might be a little different than a simple sting. And, by the end of the next day, it was clear we needed to visit the doctor. Not only was he having an allergic reaction, he had an infection. Thankfully, we have access to great medical care. The kid is on antibiotics and will surely be on the mend soon.
Still, the incident has sort of ruined his plans for this and next week since he can barely walk, let alone run and play. So, he’s on a bit of a detour. Of course, I hope he will use the time to finish Summer Reading. (doubtful) But, he’s bummed. And though he just might be insufferable by next week, he’s meeting it head on, hopping around with very little complaining – despite the pain and plan changes.
On the flip side, yesterday afternoon I was with another one of my children, who has also been dished a plate of change. This kid is facing a school year that will look almost 100% different than what he hoped for and expected his Senior year to be. A couple of our kids attend a small school where they enjoy the pleasure of close relationships with their teachers. So, in May when change, in the form of faculty departures, was announced – one of mine took it especially hard.
On the positive side – I’m moved that a kid could share such deep and meaningful relationships with teachers. On the reality side – what can you say … but welcome to life. Life changes. Get over it and embrace the new. So I said the latter and added a lecture. Isn’t that part of the mom job?! Life lecture? … Probably not, but I do it anyway… and wonder if anyone is listening.
After acknowledging his sadness and unmet expectations, I told him it’s time to move on. Accepting unexpected circumstances is part of life.
“There are a few things in life that are certain,” I told him as we sat outside Chipotle. “One of them is change. Some of it’s good and brings with it a load of happiness. Some of it is challenging and not quite what we expect or hope. But, you are not a victim. It happens to everybody, every day.”
Then I add what I really hope he could hear, “You get to choose your response. And… the way you handle change will be a determining factor in your happiness.”
I think it really is.
Detours occur. Change is inevitable. My perspective, my attitude and my response are key. I can choose frustration, anger, disappointment and wallow. OR I can meet change head on, treat the symptoms, get help if needed, accept what I can’t change … and hop around until my foot returns to normal … aware that I might have to get used to a new normal.
One thing is for certain, worry and anguish don’t offer much in the help category. I was reminded of this last night as Jon & I enjoyed one of our favorite movies. The main character, contemplating a crisis, quoted from Baz Luhrmann’s song, “Sunscreen”. The entire lyrics, based on a commencement speech by Mary Schmich, are worth the read, but here’s the quote:
Change is harder for some than others. For all of us, it’s fertile training ground for trust.
Thanks for walking the road with me.
Baz Luhrmann’s Sunscreen song and “video” – made in the early 1990’s, it was a chart-topping hit in the U.S. and Europe.