A mom’s perspective. The past 24 hours have been filled with both joy and panic. To process it all, I’m writing about it. I think it’s important for people to know that even those of us that proclaim to be experts in mindfulness have moments of anxiety that can be overwhelming. Including myself and Adam.
But first, the good: Adam had a great time home on break. He got to see the final proof of his book, Stress Less: Mindfulness for Teens, which will be out sometime in September. In his own words, “After 3 years in the making, it felt really good to get the book back from the publisher and see what it will look like. I’m really proud of it, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it… and for everyone to find out who’s writing the foreword … Super cool!” [Another highlight of his trip home was getting to meet and speak with this person.] “I hope this book helps someone out there.”
Then this happened: This morning he left for the airport, his dad dropped him off, he got out of the car…and he left his phone in the car! He had no boarding pass. He asked multiple strangers to use their phone to call us and let his dad know to come back. We didn’t answer the phone. We didn’t answer because we didn’t recognize the number and thought it was a spam call. After trying again and again, Adam ran and got a taxi and came back home, knocking on the door, in a panic. There was no way he would make the flight now. His dad drove him back to the airport for the second time, the great security woman let him to the front of the check-in line when he told her the story, and he made the flight with literal minutes to spare!
It doesn’t sound traumatic when I write about it now, after the fact. But it felt traumatic at the time. He had no phone, was relying on strangers, his parents weren’t answering, and he was going to miss the flight back to school. I’m sure he felt alone and stressed. And probably felt like crying in the airport. I’m still not quite sure how he made it back in time.
As he sat on the plane, he had to remind himself to breathe. He was in fight or flight mode (maybe fight or fright), and had spent the last hour basically shaking, so he had to calm myself. He tried to meditate, listening to music, watching something funny, and reminding himself that it could have been worse, and in the scheme of things, this wasn’t a big deal.
In the end, he fell asleep. 🙂 Sometimes, that helps too. At least his body and his mind had a chance to recover.
A lot of lessons were learned:
1. We, his parents, didn’t answer the phone because we thought someone was spamming us. He called from unknown numbers belonging to strangers. The world we live in now has conditioned us not to answer the phone if we don’t know the number because it may be someone pranking us, selling us something, or trying to steal our identity. In this case, it was none of those things. We, of course, now feel awful, and are upset with ourselves for not answering the phone. We would never wish that our son felt the way that he did. As his parents, we only want him to experience joy and happiness. The lesson here: Answer the phone, if it keeps ringing over and over, even if it’s a number you don’t recognize. It won’t always be someone annoying or with bad intentions.
2. Adam called a bunch of times, but never left a message. He could have said, “Hey, mom and dad, it’s me, pick up the phone.” If he had done that, he probably would have caught his dad before he got too far away and he would have been able to bring the phone back to Adam at the airport. I don’t know why Adam didn’t leave a message. He wasn’t using his mindfulness practices. I can only assume panic was in control. It happens to the best of us sometimes. The lesson here: Leave a message so people know who’s calling, lol, but seriously, no one is perfect. Adam wrote a book about being mindful, and even he has to remember to practice it when he’s feeling stressed.
3. Strangers let Adam use their phone. A taxi driver drove him home, without knowing for sure if he would get paid. A security guard rushed him to the front of the line. The lesson here: At a time when the world seems like it’s a mess, I still have faith in humanity. I hope this story restores some of your faith in humanity. Also, Everything ended up being ok, so there’s that. Thankfully.
Adam is back at school now, in his dorm, and gratefully thinking about the week at home. The good outweighed the bad, for sure. He got to spend time with his little sister, hang out with his friends, play with the dog, and see the family….oh yeah, and let’s not forget, meeting the person who’s writing the foreword for the book. 🙂 That’s the stuff I know he’s going to focus on, and that he will mindfully leave the other stuff behind. That’s his choice. Mine too.