I have a habit of taking on too much and agreeing to do things I don’t want to.
Unsure why. A habit. Can be annoying at times.
Over the past 6 years, I’ve started using my life as a laboratory to teach my son things I hope he will understand by habit. Things that will lead him to the happiness that comes from good choices.
Everything sort of turns into a lesson. For me first. Then for him. The past few years has been incredible as I notice my life more than I did before.
Every morning, I look back over the day before and ask myself the question, “Am I proud of the day before? Did I act in ways I hope my son will live?”
Course correction is easy with the right question.
I still do things I don’t want to do at times. Example:
Sebastian and I were in the UK. I had a few days of work and I was sleep-deprived and wanting to stay in the room and watch a movie. 7 days of no sleep. Missing my normal way of eating and my routine. Grumpy.
I had made a commitment to do something for someone else that I didn’t feel like doing.Â I promised to make an effort to see someone for them that I didn’t know and didn’t feel like doing it.
I had made the choice to see it as altruism. A way to give back to the world.
I dragged my son and I out of the yummy warm library out into the London night. Crowds. Cold. A hustle and bustle I didn’t like much.
I was annoyed. The cab driver couldn’t find the place. I’m a visitor in a strange town. Why did they ask me to go so freakin’ far. Couldn’t they have just come to us? Â Errrr
Sebastian was tired and grumpy. We were snipping at each other in ways we rarely do.
I asked the cab driver to pull over for a second and wait for us. We got out of the cab. Can’t find the place. The cabbie says he will wait.
I held Sebastian on my hip. (Something I wont’ be able to do for long)Â “Tonight will be the best night of our lives if we choose it to be. We can continue to brood (Sebastian didn’t want to go either) or we can CHOOSE that from this moment on, this will be our night. OUR night. We will create what we want despite where we are or what we are doing.”
We did our secret handshake.
The cabbie warns us the neighborhood is deserted and to get back in the cab for another drive around the block.
The cab can’t find the address. I think it is a hotel or restaurant, it is an apartment complex. We finally find it.
We wait outside the gate for 20 minutes. Can’t reach or find the person we are supposed to meet. It is cold. The cab driver comes back by worried about us. Encouraged us to get back in the cab and at least wait where it is warm. I tell him we will wait 10 more minutes and then call him to go back home. He leaves his number.
I’m REALLY annoyed now. I am playing games with Sebastian to make it fun and still, irritated.
30 minutes late. No call. Nothing. Sebastian says, “Mom, let’s go and find an adventure! We did our BEST night here.. now let’s go make it somewhere else!”
We do. We start to walk away and change our plans. We start running away… excited about what will happen next. Skipping and laughing.
Our date shows up just then. She parks the car.Â Sebastian asks me to run away with him. “C’mon mom, (starting to cry), we waited, I don’t want to be here.”
I say to Sebastian, “Late happens love. Let’s forgive late right now. Forgive and move on. We have a choice right now – are we ALL IN? Can we choose to change our evening for us? You and I? This will be our best night… you and I create it. It doesn’t matter where we are.”
Sebastian is annoyed and says NO. I want to go home. He is tired. It has been a long trip. Then, he looks at me and says, “The BEST night?”
“Mom, I’m ALL IN.”
We start chasing each other around. Laughing. Laughing as we wait for the car parker. The chill in the air gone. We do this game as we wait.
We introduce ourselves and walk in the complex.
Inside the beautiful home surrounded by people we do not know, Sebastian and I met in the bathroom.
“Momma, is your heart open?” (something we say to each other a lot) Um. Let me check. Yup. Open. You? Sebastian makes this CREEEAAAK sound… “Yes, open.”
We PLAY. We get up and start dancing around instead of sitting and talking. We teach the other kids magic tricks and dance moves. The whole evening changes. Sebastian keeps looking at me across the room and doing this gesture we do when we are in full on create out lives mode.
He grabs my hand and takes me to the bathroom. “Mom, we really can create anything we want huh?”Â Clearly. “Ok, I create CHOCOLATE CAKE!”
We walk out of the bathroom and they are serving ice cream. He looks at me and whispers, “Close.”
We teach the kids Sardines… get almost everyone playing it. He winks at me and says, “No one is safe from the power of the BEST NIGHT.”
At midnight we enter the lobby in our hotel. Sebastian looks up at me and says, “We did that.”
No honey. YOU did. Everything that happens is a personal choice. We can either choose happiness or not. We always have a RIGHT to be unhappy. To be annoyed. To be entitled. We have a CHOICE to be happy. No matter what.
I wrote this blog weeks ago and didn’t post it. As I am rereading it I’m stunned by the next part:
Last night, I heard about a friend who forgot about happiness and choice in a moment at a hotel. He made a permanent choice in a temporary moment of absolute sadness. I was sad last night. Angry at first. Then just sad. Couldn’t really explain to Sebastian why I was hurting, the concept of this loss was a little too intense.
“Momma, can you choose something else right now? Choose to be happy?”
Not always Sebastian. I feel sad about someone being in pain.Â It may take me a few hours to open my heart again.
“Mom, let’s draw a picture about it. That will help. Make the choice mom.”
So. We did. And. It did help. We drew a beautiful picture of hearts with bodies attached to them floating to the sky.
Choice can be simple. Hard to do at first and then something magical happens.
As I wrote about yesterday this morning, I am proud. Very proud.
I just hope I’m teaching the right things to be proud of. Saying no is a good thing…maybe I need to learn to….