Today was one of "those" days. You know the ones, where you have absolutely no reason for an off day yet it sneaks up and jumps out at you with near tears and emotional pangs over virtually nothing for hours on end.
Great things happened all day, but I couldn't seem to shake the lump in my chest. I meditated for a while. I cruised with the windows down, tunes cranked. I got my hair done, rocked out some serious work and stared at the horizon. Still pulling tight.
And then there we were ... on the swings. He had asked me to push him, and feeling all kinds of frumpy, I initially declined until that tinge of motherly guilt kicked my ass over toward the wood chips. Three underdogs in, he looked up at the sky as he swayed and said, "Mommy, when I do this it feels like I'm falling!"
There we were: falling. That's exactly the lump I'd felt all day. Falling. Little control, waving my arms, doing my best, praying for a safe landing. Before his head turned back toward the ground, I felt the words come out ...
Are you falling, buddy, or are you flying?
I've spent all night thinking about the difference - fear or faith, preparation or presumption. Is it in the takeoff, the landing or the moment itself? Is it a mindset, a focus or cause and effect? And while there are a million circumstances in which one or the other might be the appropriate response, today - in this moment - here's all I can come up with:
It's a choice of intention.
Will you embrace the freedom of the air or panic at what might be to come? Will you spread your wings with trust and faith or will you flap like crazy with terror in your heart? Will you use the knowledge you have to quickly devise a plan or will simply give in to crash and burn? Will you soak up the view or close your eyes tight?
As a parent, one of my favorite habits is to spot bright and teachable moments about perspective in his life - moments where I make points like these, speak to the importance of faith or encourage belief in who he is. And yet, it's funny how that radar seems to turn off when he's away.
Then again, it's always easier to have perspective on someone else's life, isn't it? We can see their strength and their struggles, remind them of their potential or warn them of cautions ahead. Internally, though? Well that's a whole other ballgame.
Truth be told - even amid the glow of these candles, a clean house and a cup of peppermint tea - inside, that lump has yet to dissolve completely. It's still there, nudging the tiny bit of fear nestled in. After all, sometimes recognizing fear isn't in itself enough to make it go away. There are times we have to embrace it, learn from it and use it to inspire us toward something more.
So tonight, as I feel my emotions swaying like a swing, I'm owning up to the fact that I'm terrified of some of the grown up steps coming my way and thinking through the tools I have that have brought me to this point. I'm taking a deep breath, looking toward the horizon, opening my arms to the wind and practicing my fly.