A Monster

IMG_3468It’s been too long since my last post.  If you know me personally then you know that I’ve been completely flooded with the various business aspects of my life.

My wife hosted a game night last week with some friends and one of the challenges posed was an attempt to keep three balloons in the air at one time.  Seems easy enough, right?  Well, give it a try before you pass judgment!

The sound to start was given and I tossed the first balloon in the air, followed by the second.  My confidence was high as the third left my hand until I noticed the first nearing the ground.

Within a matter of three or four swats I was leaping to and fro, flailing my hands at the balloons in a desperate attempt to keep any of them from touching the ground.  The game was over in an instant as a balloon settled to the ground, but not without huge physical exertions on my part.

And so my days have gone; with the number of balloons I am attempting to keep in the air, my exertions continue day after day with the hope of “in a year it will be better” always looming on the horizon.

I thought I would share a quick story that made me pause and think as I related my daughter’s challenges to my own.

Our poor daughter has been battling ear aches lately.  On Friday night her ear started hurting again.  My wife doctored it with some oils, and we got her to bed with a heat pack. She went to sleep easily and we felt like we were successful for another day.

A couple of hours later my wife and I readied ourselves for bed. I was looking forward to not only a somewhat early bedtime, but also the fact that I didn’t have an obligation in the morning to get me up early.

As is often the case, just as I started to doze off I decided I needed to roll over one more time….and that roll over triggered my mind to start working again. Pretty soon I realized that I was in full on work mode as my mind reeled with projects, problems, and worries. Trying to sleep was useless.

So I headed out in the living room, got a drink, and sat down in my recliner to watch some mindless videos on YouTube in an effort to ease my mind out of work mode and back into rest mode.

About an hour later I was just starting to feel tired when I heard “mommy, mommy” from the kids room. I hurried in so my wife could stay resting. J6 complained that her ear was hurting.  I reheated the heat pack and stroked her hair until she drifted off to sleep again.

I then went in and climbed back into my bed only to toss and turn for another 40 minutes before I began to drift.  Again I heard “mommy, mommy” coming from the kids room. So, Being the good husband that I am….I knew Melanie would want a chance to attend to her child, so I woke her up for her turn.

She was able to ease Joanna back to sleep quickly and come back to bed.

All too quickly our room was filled with light as morning came. Not having much time to spend together during the week, I seized the moment to snuggle up to my wife for a cuddle and an attempt to doze off for a bit longer.

In an effort to make up for the lost sleep from the night before, and the week before, I closed my eyes and began to drift just as I heard some sort of cry out in the hall. I laid there half awake, and half asleep waiting for the “mommy, mommy” we had heard the night before. But it didn’t come.

Suddenly, frantic screams from J6 came in rapid fire causing T2 to join in as well. This distressed cry from my offspring caused me to go into full on cave-man defender mode! I flung the covers off and leapt out of bed. My track running days of High School coursed through my veins as it only took me two strides to reach the bedroom door. Pausing briefly as I made the hallway I realized the screams were coming from the bathroom.

Again with lighting speed I reached the bathroom ready to take out and foe that was threatening my daughter.

As I reached the doorway the first thing I saw was Joanna backed up against the wall as stiff as a board with terror in her eyes. Her hands were clasped together and held tight up against her chest.

My heart pounded and I heaved in deep breaths. My eyes scanned the bathroom searching for the monster that I was about to battle.

Not seeing anything I frantically said, “what what!”

That’s when she revealed the location of the beast. I followed the line her pointing finger drew straight up to the window where I discovered…..a moth fluttering against the glass trying to escape…..

…..all I could do was drop to my knees and chuckle at the whole experience. I then went to the window, and pinched the moth delicately between my pointer finger and thumb, and disposed of it, folded in a square of toilet paper, into the garbage can.

Of course after that adrenaline rush, any attempt to try and go back  to sleep would have been futile.  Funny enough, I didn’t feel irritated or mad at the fact that I had been drawn out of bed early in the morning, after a restless night, by my daughter being afraid of a moth.  Instead I felt an increased love for my daughter.

As I stroked her hair during the night in an attempt to sooth her back to sleep, all I could think of was her health and well-being.  I was concerned that the ear ache may not be only an ear ache, but could be a symptom of something greater.  A mere side-effect of a storm that was brewing.

I ached for the pain she was having to try and sleep though and tried to will the pain to transfer from her body to mine as my hand ran along her beautiful red hair.

That morning all I could see up against the wall was an exhausted and startled little girl who was delirious because of the lack of sleep and the efforts that she had exerted fighting back at the infirmity she was battling.

Because of the circumstances leading up to that bathroom visit that morning, that little moth had been turned into a monster to her.  She’s not afraid of a moth.  She knows a moth can’t hurt her or cause her any harm.  But that morning, with her cup already brimming, the startle that moth introduced into her life was suddenly magnified into a monster.

The sayings go: “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, “The needle that broke the camel’s back”, or “finding a straw in a hay stack”…..or something like that.  These are all aimed at the idea of small and simple things becoming a stumbling block in our lives.

Why do we allow that to happen?  It seems like we should be able to easily identify that small and simple thing and handle it as such.

Last night we sat out on our deck enjoying an amazing light show the thunder storm east of us was providing.  “Sheet lighting”, or at least that’s what Google told us it was, danced through the clouds, lighting off in random locations across the horizon as rapidly as a strobe light.  It was brilliant to observe.

But one of the most peculiar things was that the lighting was not producing thunder.  Every once in a while you would hear the rumble that you have learned to anticipate whenever you see a flash of lightning.  But this beautiful display of power that was playing out in a 180 degree view across the horizon was hardly producing any sound at all.

It was just a super wide-screen show that was being played out in silence before us.  The turmoil that was boiling in the skies, frantically acting and reacting overhead, was somehow playing out without the thunderous rumbles it would normally produce.  We were watching in still, peaceful, silence as the storm played out and moved on.

My hope is that I can somehow learn to manage my schedule, stresses, and loads in a similar manner.  That the turmoil of the day and duties demanded of me can be managed in a way so as not to turn the moths into monsters.

The lightning storms will always come.  That’s just part of being a business owner.  There are just too many variables to ever aspire to be on top of it all, ready for anything that comes.  Those lightning storms will always happen no matter how organized or educated we think we are.  The trick is keeping the boom at bay.

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