Last month, I participated in a sponsored post campaign and twitter party with the National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society. The topic: honor your future now, had me spinning my mind through all the ways we should encourage our kids to do more for their future. For the post, I focused on defining success and working toward your goals today so that you can achieve more tomorrow. I liked the post. I loved the suggestions. It was everything Type-A, everything leadership and goal-setting and teachery tips I wanted it to be, But even as I wrote it, something wasn’t sitting well with me.
A few days later, I participated in the related twitter party (again, sponsored.) In the middle of the twitter party, I was called to school to pick up my son. A whole slew of things happened, making me late to pick up my daughter and completely stressing out — I’d lost control of what was happening next and I didn’t like the feeling.
Let me go back a week. Heck. Let me go back a decade or two. Somewhere in the last few years, I have become a control freak. Not so much in that I need to control every move within my household (or, maybe I have become that much of a control freak, but that’s not my point here), but that I need to know what’s coming next. Everything works on a schedule. When I originally wrote this post, it was odd that I was working that morning and not at the gym, as per my usual schedule. But that change was triggered by doctor appointments and school meetings and missed school days during that week. Which was triggered by an accident the previous Friday night.
We’d planned an easy-going Friday night. Big had an ice skating party and the younger kids were staying home for game night. Full of confidence, I dropped off Big at the skating rink, suggesting he leave his phone with me, “You won’t need it. And you’ll probably fall a lot since it’s your first time skating. You don’t want to break your phone!” I convinced him of this, when, honestly, I didn’t want him socially playing on the phone while he was out with friends.
I dropped him at the rink, amidst friends and a zillion strangers. There were two hockey games that night: college and high school. The third rink was hosting an open-skate, and would soon fill up with middle schoolers and high schoolers.
About an hour and a half later, my phone rang with an unknown number from an unfamiliar town. I pushed it aside — who wants an unwanted call on a Friday night? And it rang again. Something told me to ignore our game of Sequence for Kids and answer.
“Is this Julie?” There was incredible noise in the background, and unfamiliar, foreign voice on the phone. “Is this Carson’s mom?”
“There’s been an accident. Carson fell. He’s …” I couldn’t decipher any more of her words. It was Carson’s friend’s mom. A very kind woman, I don’t know her well. She speaks with a thick accent and the skating rink noise was overpowering her words. As I tried to understand, my head raced: Is he conscious? Could he have a concussion? Is there blood all over the ice?
“I CAN’T UNDERSTAND YOU!” I shouted. “SHOULD I COME? I’M COMING TO GET HIM NOW.”
“Hold on,” she said. And then I heard his voice. His sweet voice, trembling, “Mom, come get me.”
He needed a lot of assistance leaving the rink. While on the ice with friends, he tried persistently to teach himself how to skate… until his feet flew out from under him and he landed, hard, on his right shoulder, the side of his head hitting the ice after. Even walking caused shoulder pain.
Without a doubt, I took him to the ER for x-rays and a sling. He’s a trooper, rating his pain as a 6. We later learned his break, a broken clavicle at an odd place to break, is rare for a 12-year-old. In fact, our doctor, a shoulder surgeon, hasn’t seen this type of break in a child Big’s age before. He quickly consulted with other specialists on how to treat it.
Last weekend, I told Big what I told my husband this summer when he broke his hand: we all have horrible things happen, and we’re allowed to feel sad. And you had a horrible thing happen to you. But we can’t let the sadness take over our lives. I gave him 24 hours to feel sorry for himself, and then it was time to enjoy life again.
But… soccer. Bike riding. Track. Baseball. School. Playing.
You’ll do it all again, in the future. We’re not taking that away from you. You’ll have that part of your life back. But you can’t sit around waiting. You can’t spend every day waiting for tomorrow. You can’t even spend every day working for tomorrow. YES. It’s important to look to your future. YES. You should work hard today to achieve more tomorrow.
But let’s also consider today. Because you have today. You have a wonderful day today. Look: the sun is shining. What are you doing today to make yourself smile today? How are you responding to the things in your life today to make yourself see success today? How will you know that today was worthwhile when you go to sleep tonight?
We can plan and plan and plan for the future. We can schedule our lives so that we don’t miss a bus, a deadline, a dream… but if we don’t stop, breathe and take it in now, we’ll miss our magic of the moment.
Kelly’s son turned 18 last month. On her blog, she asked what advice you’d give your 18-year-old self? This, Kelly. This is my advice: don’t forget today. Don’t let your schedule and your plans and your future overtake you so much that you get lost in it and forget how very important your today is.
PS. Yes. That’s a real double rainbow over Sint Maarten. It’s the first double rainbow I’ve ever noticed. And I wouldn’t have noticed it if I were busying myself with my schedule for the day as I usually do when I’m on my way to a new place with my family. But on this morning, I had taken a few minutes to sit outside and enjoy what was happening in those moments. And I’m so glad I did.
© 2016, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.