It’s a lovely autumn afternoon here in Colorado and I’m working: the kids are with Mom for a few days, as is our regular weekday schedule.
Imagine my surprise then when fifteen minutes ago my cellphone rings and it’s my older daughter, A-.
“Hi Daddy. Can you come and pick us up?”
“Um, what? Where’s mama?”
“I dunno. We’ve been standing here in the cold for ten minutes and I can’t get ahold of her on the phone…”
“Oh. Then why don’t you walk home? It’s not far.”
“I don’t want to do that because what if mommy shows up and can’t find us?”
“Leave a note? No, just kidding. Um, I’m stuck in the middle of something and can’t come get you, sweetie.”
“are you sure?”
“Yes. But do this: if she doesn’t show up in 10 minutes or so, call me again?”
“Okay, I’ll do… oh… oh, here she is! Bye daddy!”
Not a big deal by any means to be ten minutes late picking up your kids at school, but this kind of phone call really throws my day’s rhythm off, somehow.
Of course, almost 90 minutes earlier my 5yo had called “just to say hi, I dunno”. Just wanted to hear my voice. Those calls? Those are heart-warmers, and make me feel at least six inches taller.
As a dad of two little ones, I cannot agree more with your statement “this kind of phone call really throws my day’s rhythm off”.
I’m curious if you have any tips on how to “get the rhythm back”. Seriously, this is probably my biggest challenge since we became parents.
I truly understand the experience and the feeling. Feelings and emotions are more intensified in a split family to begin with, and there are usually tender spots (sore points, issues). The key is learning to rise above all attachment (to anything in this world) while staying centered in the heart, in the love and the grounded experience of BEING a parent in the moment… no easy challenge, yet really the only path to equanimity and balance in life. I find that if I do not train myself in the discipline of living moment to moment in the awareness that all is one, that my family, nearest loved ones and really all humanity are within the circle of my love then often even the slightest disturbance can throw off the rhythm. What works for me is to maintain a kind of peripheral awareness of my close relations and to some extent âAll My Relationsâ (a Native American/First Nations expression). Then phone calls like those become just part of the flow of the stream of life I happen to be swimming in at the time. Sounds simple, requires vigilant practice, self-observation and work… anything worthwhile rarely comes easily, yet it is within our capacity when we are willing to pay the price.
Enjoy the journey with your family – watch out for the rapids, that’s when things get exciting, but if one tries to maintain too tight a control then you might end up crashing into the rocks! Let go, go with the flow and then we can discover the secret of ultimate control…