On the morning of Father’s Day, I magnanimously promised Mad Dog that I would only have 1.5 meltdowns in honor of the holiday. You might say I’ve been slightly emotional this week as the stress of moving continues to stretch my inner resources.
In typical Mad Dog style he lets the seasons of my many moods all roll right off him. He told me that he only remembers what is perfect about me and easily forgets the rest. This, he told the boys, is the key to a happy life:
Forget about what isn’t perfect and remember the rest.
“Is that why sometime you forget about Full Speed?” T.Puzzle said.
Hopefully, Mad Dog has some wisdom on improving interpersonal sibling communication.
Through the years, as a mom, I learned when a task begins to feel mind-numbingly unbearable, there was good reason. Sure, we all have to do things we don’t like in regards to maintaining a home and a life, but when I feel an overwhelming loathing towards an activity, it’s time to examine it. Usually it’s because this activity should not solely be my responsibility and it’s time to share the love. For example, I got to the point of hating to tie my boys’ shoes. Thanks to velcro, this took them what seemed like forever to successfully master (to be honest, the jury’s still out on T.Puzzle). When my discomfort over tying their shoes outweighed the time and patience it would take to help them master it, the cloud lifted. I had to let go of perfectly tied knots and then I was free, well, at least from tying shoes.
There are many tasks like this and when I get super-annoyed by shouldering the brunt of them, I reach out for help. Again, I have to let go of perfection and savor the relief I feel at the help I am offered. Thankfully, all my boys are willing to pitch in and keep their grumbling to themselves (again, jury’s still out on T.Puzzle). So, I didn’t think twice when I asked Mad Dog to help me straighten up our main floor. He quickly agreed and then shouted, “Boys! Come straighten up down here!”
I stopped dead in my tracks.
“Oh no, you are not going to delegate! Don’t you dare! I want it to look nice!”
Soon, the boys were in the living room folding blankets and picking up dog toys.
Mad Dog lounged in his chair ‘supervising’.
The boys were on to him.
“How come we have to do what Mom asks you to do?” Full Speed said.
“It’s called leadership. By delegating tasks, all get accomplished. It gives you the opportunity for growth and the joy of achievement,” Mad Dog replied.
“So basically you give us all your chores, but you take credit for them?”
Some journeys are lengthy and take time to unfold. Last year, around mid-February, Mad Dog shared with me that his job could change. This change would mean we would relocate to Texas. Mostly, I handled this possibility with an open mind (mostly). I expressed to Mad Dog that I was absolutely willing to move our family to support him in his career.
Then, some weeks passed, then some months. Months turned into a year and yet, a move did not materialize.
While I was open-minded to moving, I handled the uncertainty surrounding it with much less aplomb.
Eventually, I gave up. I stopped looking at houses, stopped discussing a Texan future and focused on staying put.
I have learned enough to know that home is not a location. Home is about the life, love and adventure you create wherever you are.
Naturally, once I let go of the outcome, this is when we finally found out that Mad Dog was promoted and everything changes.
We both agree it is surreal to finally have closure. After well over a year of not-knowing, not-knowing becomes your comfort zone. Knowing feels strange.
I am taking this opportunity to announce my plans to officially change my name to:
What’s For Dinner
Why you may ask?
This is because I have been asked this question so many times a new neural pathway has formed in my brain convincing me that this, in fact, mustbe my name.
The point I’m making is that a sure-fire way to get on my bad side is to ask me:
‘What’s for dinner?’
It isn’t that I’m opposed to the question in a general sense, but if that is the question you lead with 999 times out of a thousand, I’m not keen to respond in a pleasant manner. At least lead in with a ‘How was your day?’ or ‘Your yoga pants are particularly stylish today’.
Therefore, after a long night up with a dog with seemingly endless diarrhea (it all came out fine in the end), I explained to T.Puzzle over his after school snack I may have a short fuse as the evening progressed.
I was beyond confused. While my eyes were seeing Full Speed line up with his teammates near the high jump area, my mind could not comprehend it. It was like if you were at my house and I walked down my stairs wearing a Cardinals jersey. It would make absolutely no sense. If you were a Cubs fan, and odds are if I let you in my home, you were,… well, at the least you would be anything but a Cardinals fan…, first you would feel confusion, then as it sunk in, you would feel angry and upset.
That’s exactly how I felt: confused, angry, upset
First of all, Full Speed up to this point in all of his entire life, had never even attempted to execute a high jump. Secondly, he barely cleared the waist of one of his man-sized teammates. I wish I was exaggerating for effect, but sadly, I am not. This kid towered over Full Speed. He looked like a line-backer while Full Speed looked like a scrawny equipment manager (albeit a highly adorable one).
Thankfully, the high jump took place well off the main area. Most of the crowd was focused on the excitement of the relays that circled before us. The bad news is, Full Speed’s high jump attempts played out exactly as you might imagine.
For his ‘warm-up’ jump he actually went under bar. Yes, you read that right….under. For his remaining three attempts he managed to at least level himself out with the bar to a degree, mainly shouldering the bar and launching it off the two poles that held it up. There was no grace to be found in these movements, mostly it looked like he was being electrocuted as his arms flailed around helplessly. I have to give him props for consistency, I mean he demolished that bar every single time. I also appreciated the polite way he helped replace the bar to its proper positioning for the next kid in line.
This was a parenting moment that I had to go big picture. This is where what you see before you is so off-kilter, you just shrug your shoulders and say, ‘no big deal’. This is just a blip on the road of life and let it go. I secretly held on to hope that he might get a chance to compete in another event. One hopefully, that required his feet to stay planted on the ground.
Shortly after, the ominous clouds that had been gathering decided they were done with this particular track meet. Within moments, rain was pummeling its way through the crowd and we all scattered like ants to safety. I was separated from Full Speed for a bit while the fate of the track meet was determined. Eventually, as mother nature continued on with her very bad mood, the meet was called and I caught up with him.
Once we were back at the car away from the noisy rain, I asked him point-blank, “Why on earth did they ask you do to the high jump?”
“I volunteered,” he replied.
Turns out, four members of his team were no-shows and there were lots of gaps needing to be filled. As his coach had run through the litany of events that needed a fill-in, Full Speed volunteered for every single one.
He was denied on all counts.
That is until the high jump was called out. No one was willing to step up so what did Full Speed do?
He stepped up.
Can you imagine the amount of courage this must have taken? Since Full Speed has a pretty good hold on reality, he had to have known it was going to end badly for him.
He did it anyway.
This kid may have lost the high jump that day, but he won my respect.
He has all it takes to be a winner. The kind that matters. The kind that isn’t afraid to take risks.