My heart sank as I watched my 4-year-old’s new blue, Mylar balloon fly out of my truck and up, up into the sky.
He had just gotten it at my chiropractor’s office, and after stopping at a local Dunkin Donuts, I had forgotten it was in my pickup when we came out. All it took was me opening the passenger door, and zoom! – the thing took off like a rocket in the wind and shot skyward.
“That’s my balloon, daddy,” the little dude said, eyes fixated on his rapidly disappearing reward for being a good boy.
“I know,” I said, “I’m so sorry. I’m really, really sorry.”
Then, after a short pause, he said, “I’m gonna miss my blue balloon, daddy.”
“That was a nice balloon.”
“Yes, it was nice.”
“Maybe I’ll get another one sometime?”
I smiled. “Yes, you will. I’ll make sure you get another one.” Then I looked at him once he was sitting in his car seat. “You’re a good little dude, you know.”
He returned my smile with one of his own. “Yeah, I am a good little dude.”
I wish I had the attitude my son had today. Granted, there are a multitude of instances when he can be a frustratingly demanding little man – like most 4-year-old boys – but there are plenty of times when he has such a good grasp on handling adversity that he makes me wonder if we actually share DNA.
I like that he makes me think.
You see, I’m the type of person who needs things to go the way they’re supposed to go. I wouldn’t say I’m a type-A kind of person, but I do take comfort in consistency, in predictability, in the familiar. If I’m planning a trip to the beach, I don’t want it to rain. If I’m preparing for a project, I don’t want the specs to change.
(This is why I dislike winter so much; in the summer, no one ever has to cancel dinner plans because 12 inches of snow is expected, and no one is ever late to work because they can’t drive faster than 20 mph.)
So when I see this little fellow dealing with life the way he does, he makes me wonder why I can’t be more like him (the thoughtful, pleasant ‘him,’ not the screaming, I-want-it-now ‘him’).
Making the best of a situation
It’s one thing to say we must learn to smile in the face of adversity – it’s another to actually be able to do it. When I tore my ACL last year, I tried to be positive even though the negative thoughts deluged my brain:
How am I going to take care of the kids?
How am I going to help my wife?
How am I going to run my voiceover business?
Over the course of several weeks, I learned how to balance these things, and the injury turned out to not be as earth-shattering as I thought it was when it first happened. I still need surgery (March 28 is the date!) and have no idea how I’ll do anything for 2 weeks following (I’ll be on crutches with no weight-bearing), but I figure I’ll get by. I’m trying not to be as anxious as I was the first time around.
Note that I didn’t say I’m not anxious. I’m still anxious as all get-out…but at least I’m trying not to be.
Putting adversity to good use
As I was thinking about my son and his balloon, and wondering how I might tie the incident in with a blog post, I came across a news article about a Subaru dealer that decided to take advantage of a union protest.
Now, whether you are pro-union or not, you have to admit – what they did is ingenious. Did they think they would get more customers in the door by using the protest sign as advertising? Probably not. Did they think it would make a good chuckle and perhaps get people talking? Most definitely.
Did they expect it to end up on Yahoo! and have their dealership name be spread across the entire country? Doubt it…but now look what happened when they tried to make the best out of a situation!
We all lose our balloons sometime
I’ve recorded auditions and then forgot to email them. I’ve submitted auditions I thought I was perfect for and have gotten completely passed over.
I’ve had multiple plans this winter that had to be cancelled due to weather issues, as mentioned earlier.
I’ve dropped a log on my foot shortly before my indoor soccer season was to begin, so I decided to play goalie, only to snap a tendon in my finger, so I end up on the field, only to tear my ACL, and subsequently find out I won’t be able to play again for a year.
All these things annoy me and can ruin my day if I let them - but if I’m paying attention, they don’t always get the better of me.
A few days ago, my wife crashed her car sliding on some ice in the road (did I mention I hate winter?). She was only going 20 mph, but managed to do $3000+ worth of damage. We now have to find $500 for the insurance deductible, we have to pay for a rental car for possibly two weeks, and we also have to shell out money for two new car seats for the kids, since they can no longer use the ones that were in the accident.
But at least my wife suffered no injuries and is alive and well. At least the kids weren’t in the car at the time. At least we had more family time this weekend because my wife was out of work.
I may lose lots of balloons – literally and figuratively. It’s knowing how to let them go and hold onto what’s important that really matters.
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