Do you ever find yourself making decisions that are incongruent with who you are and what you want? I recently came very close to making this mistake, but…
I took action on the tight knot in my gut to get me back on track.
My mother Sally was the victim of a horrible accident years ago. My brother Kevin, my sister Kendra and I made the pilgrimage to the hospital to be by her side. She was heavily sedated and doesn’t even remember the time we spent together, but the experience had a lasting impact on me. Let’s bring the family together to celebrate happy times vs. sitting at the side of a hospital bed wondering if the next family member needed another ice chip to moisten their mouth.
I designated myself the family cruise director and began planning group vacations. Anita and I are blessed to own Time Share point with Wyndham and used the points to schedule celebrations for the family at select destinations. In 2004 we enjoyed our first celebration on Edisto Island, SC. When we weren’t hiding in the bathroom for the tornado warnings from hurricane Frances, we enjoyed time together playing on the beach, swimming in the pools, playing games, building puzzles and cooking meals.
In 2006 we headed to Florida to enjoy a beachfront property in Pompano Beach. The weather was beautiful and the time together was precious. It’s a wonderful pleasure to participate in life through the experiences of the Barron/Guidry kids. In 2007 Anita and I went to Disney with extended family (my granddaughters Mia and Anna and their family). Then in 2009, the Barron/Guidry clan reunited for a week on the mountain in Massanutten, VA. What a fabulous week canoeing on the Shenandoah River, enjoying the water park, racing go carts, hiking in the rain and watching movies.
I’ve come to realize that life’s about sharing experiences with those we love; participating in life and the lives of others; using life’s collective experiences to grow together.
So, exactly why was I even considering NOT attending my nephew Will’s first communion in Richmond?
- Well you see, I never really received an invitation. It was Mom that told me that she would be in VA and asked if it would be possible for Anita and I to come.
- I am preparing to >retire early from my 24 year career at Procter & Gamble so shouldn’t I start acting like someone without a steady paycheck?
- Airfare to Richmond is expensive and driving takes 9 hours each way so I’d have to take a few vacation days to make it work.
I called Mom to break the bad news just as she arrived in Richmond. She was with my sister-in-law Tina on their way to pick up the kids from school. Mom never asked if I was planning to come. She sensed my decision and respected that my reasons were important.
I attended a meeting that evening and on the way back home I got that feeling one gets when they’re making a poor choice. You know that knot in your stomach that isn’t due to lack of food but due entirely to lack of perspective. Fortunately, I’ve felt that knot before and was willing to act upon it. I entered the door at home and asked Anita if she wanted to go to Richmond for the weekend. She was scheduled to work in the morning and did not see a way to clear her schedule after the store had already closed.
Then an interesting thing happened. Kevin called to return a phone call I had made to him on a different topic a few days earlier. After discussing the topic at hand, I asked if they had room to add me to the guests for the weekend and at 9:20 PM I was committed to leaving 12 hours later to enjoy the family celebration for Will’s first communion!
Will’s 8 years old and graciously allowed me to sleep in his room for the weekend (his bed was a bit short but the bubbling of the fish tank provided a nice lullaby). On Saturday he showed me the light sabers he and his sister Grace had built at camp last year. The construction technique was crude but functional. The light sabers had to be disassembled and a wire taped to the battery to illuminate them. I asked if he considered upgrading his saber to include a switch. He did not know it was possible and requested how it might be done. I grabbed my laptop and we researched parts online. We found a local Radio Shack and added it to our list of destinations for the afternoon. We found everything needed to perform the upgrade and after returning from purchasing Will a new shirt for his first communion, we spent the rest of the afternoon gluing, soldering and drilling to upgrade both his Grace’s light sabers.
I’ve spent enough time with kids to understand the appeal of the light saber will fade, but the experience of the upgrade will remain FOREVER. Those few hours that Will and I spent creating something together and then reapplying our learning’s to Grace’s light saber (she was camping with the Junior Girl Scouts for the weekend) were worth ten 9 hour commutes. Our time together was special, memorable AND it allowed us to give to Grace (she was thrilled to see the results of the upgrade).
I must be reminded (sometimes frequently) of what’s really important. Sometimes I make choices that are incongruent with who I am or what I want to become, but…
If I’m willing to listen to that knot in my stomach AND take action, I can get back on track to enjoy life changing experiences.
P.S. Will enjoyed his first communion and the party afterward gave me the opportunity to spend an hour with Mom while walking the family dog Dasher. Thanx God for setting me straight on the importance of staying true to myself!