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Friday, March 9, 2012

Bumps in the Road

We all have bumps in the road of life. Little bumps like over-sleeping, a zit on picture day, or a few hairs growing where they shouldn't be. Big bumps like a constant battle with weight, a spouse or family member who is not supportive, or a health issue we are struggling to control. Whether a small bump or a big bump has caused you to head down the wrong path, it is never too late to grab that map out of the glovebox (in keeping with the analogy of life being a road...we must be driving a car, right?). If life really were a road, we would know that our option is to pull over, grab the map, figure out where we are, where we went wrong, and plot a new course.

Why isn't it that easy? Why does it feel like a bump in the road is really a cliff that brings us to a dead stop? So often, instead of pulling over, we choose to give up. We figure we aren't good enough, the goal is unattainable, or worse yet - we question the goal altogether and belittle ourselves for setting out on such a ridiculous endeavor. If our car hits a bump, it may throw the tire out of alignment, but the entire vehicle doesn't have to be totaled...and when your car runs out of gas, you need more gas, NOT a new car. Right?

I was driving to my mother's house to drop off my children to attend a business lunch with a well respected coach, leader, and business woman who I admire. I called, because we were running ten minutes late (moms can understand, I hope) and I wouldn't have much time to chat when I got there. Instead of a 'hello honey' on the other end of the line, I was greeted with 'yah'. Being as tactful as possible, I asked if something was wrong. The response was something on the order of 'you're supposed to be here already and I don't know how you plan to have lunch and still pick up the kids on time'. At that point, I wasn't sure what was going on in my mom's world, but I clearly got the impression that now was not a good time to chat on the phone and I was a little concerned that it was a bad time for her to babysit as well. I offered to have someone else babysit, and the reply was again very short 'whatever' - and click...

As I turned the corner toward her house with my mouth wide open, I realize I should turn around and go with Plan B...unfortunately, there was no Plan B. My question about having someone else babysit was just my way of asking for confirmation that she still was available. After all, it's Carmen's fifth birthday - what Grandma wouldn't want to have lunch with the birthday girl? Well...I should probably have asked a different question, but at this point, I had 17 minutes to figure something out. Four phone calls later, I realized that I now had two minutes to get to our destination and I would have to bring the children along. Plan B because - lunch for four instead of lunch for two. I started preparing the children for how they would need to behave, and began planning my apology for the lack of professionalism...and I took a minute to cry and feel sorry for myself before putting on my lipstick (and my big girl panties).

All turned out well enough - my friend and mentor may not have been excited to have lunch with the family, but she certainly kept smiling and made all of us feel comfortable. We were able to share ideas, and all the topics on my list were covered - maybe not as in depth as they would have been without a toddler audience, but covered nonetheless. The moral of my story is - I thought about just calling to cancel, and that would have been an option. But instead of abandoning the mission of the day, I took a few steps to adjust my course, but also gave myself a moment to be sad. Allow yourself to be emotional, but then focus on the goal. Be creative with your solution. Today certainly didn't go the way it had in my head when I hopped out of bed this morning...but that doesn't mean it wasn't a wonderful day in the end. I'm happy, and now I can tell my children that this really is a family business, because they went to some of the first business meetings with me!

I love a happy ending!