"Sir, if you'll not be needing me, I'll close down for a while."
Do you know who spoke that line? In what movie? And in what scene?
Send me an email ([email protected]) with the correct answers to all 3 parts … and I’ll give you a free copy of our deluxe edition audio book !!
Ok, so how many times a week do you just “close down for a while”?
You know, just un-plug, relax, re-charge and stop micromanaging your life or your child’s life?
And when you do close down, what is it that you do? Do you even know how to relax and calm your mind?
If your child or loved one has a complex medical condition or disability, I don’t have to tell you about all the balls you’re juggling … all the time. And how closing down for even an hour is not possible most days.
What I need to tell you is that sometimes … sometimes you have to force yourself to close down, which sounds like an oxymoron – forced relaxation!
Sometimes you just have to cross that bridge and then cut it off behind you, so you can only move forward.
Six years ago, right around this time of year, I knew I had to do just that. My employer had told me my job was ending in a few months, Ben was finishing high school with no firm plans of what would happen after he graduated, and his brother had a summer wedding coming up.
If I was going to have any chance of navigating that wilderness, I knew I needed to recharge. So I booked a golf trip to warm Orlando.
But nothing went according to plan.
It was a Tuesday morning when I got a call from the airline telling me that the flight I was scheduled on the next day to head south was already cancelled because of a pending blizzard.
They told me I was automatically rescheduled on another flight but I had to leave in a few hours.
That bridge I was getting ready to cross was being cut off right before my eyes!
I couldn’t just leave without saying goodbye to Ben.
When he left for school that morning, he assumed that I would be home after work. So I needed to find a way to tell him.
But if I surprised him by showing up at school, would that upset his day?
I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare.
My hesitation was mostly because I couldn’t tell him in private and I wanted to give him time to process everything.
When I arrived at the doorway of his classroom, I made eye contact with him. He did the same.
I greeted him subtly and he grinned, telling me he wasn’t embarrassed that his Dad showed up at school.
I walked over to his teacher’s desk and told her the change of plans. She said that I was lucky to be able to change plans so quickly.
Then, I got close to him to explain that I needed to leave for the airport that afternoon, most likely before he got home from school.
He stared intently into my eyes, understanding every word, and gave a double wink of acknowledgement.
There was no hesitation on his part. No “why is my Dad here” or “what is he telling me”.
It was all good in his mind.
Feeling the weight of a thousand stares, I crossed the line and kissed his forehead in front of everyone.
I just had to. I didn’t care that we were on display.
He didn’t care either. He readily accepted my affection. His contentedness was all I needed to cross that bridge.
Ben’s “thumbs up” response told me that it was okay for me to park my obsessive ways, to re-energize myself, to spend some time relaxing even though I had no idea how to do that.
A week on pause wouldn’t matter.
I had to keep the big picture in focus. To forget the micromanagement for a change.
As a bonus that day, Ben’s bus arrived home early, before I left for the airport. I was so happy to see him.
I asked him what colour golf shirt would he like me to bring back. Yellow or black was his answer.
So, I got him one of each.
That day started off on the wrong foot but ended in a much better place. Who knew?
By the way, you need find a way to “close down” at least once a week, at least for an hour. If robots like C-3P0 have to do it, then you have no excuse!