In last week’s episode of The Not-So-Young and the Helpless we found our characters in a bit of turmoil and despair.
This week’s episode picks up where we left off, moments from delivering Diego to his hockey camp.
He chose to not go. Insert deep sigh.
A sigh of relief from Diego; a sigh of resignation from Manolo and I. We tried every trick in the book. Soft pressure, hard pressure, reverse psychology, shameless bribery. In the end, he couldn’t be swayed.
He parroted back to me some of my own words. “Mom, these things empty my cup. I can’t focus and be my best self.”
We talk with the kids a lot about mental health, about ensuring that they are paying attention to their “cup”. What fills it. What drains it. And noticing when it is dangerously close to empty.
We remind them that their own happiness is their responsibility. Theirs to guard and protect, theirs to cultivate. They are not responsible for making others happy and no one else is responsible for their happiness.
And so we must honour his choice. Not in support of quitting but rather in support of making a choice and living with the consequences. Of course as parents our job is to balance those consequences they understand and those their little minds can’t yet grasp.
After meeting with both the coach and team manager to express his thoughts about not going, he followed it up with an email to them, telling them his decision and acknowledging that he was letting down his team. He has promised to work extra hard in training to make up for what he has missed. Making up for missing out on the great bonding and friendship forming is something that can’t be replaced. That is a consequence he doesn’t grasp the gravity of. One which to me was the greatest loss.
What I needed to be accountable for was letting go of this decision. It was not the outcome I wanted. And I was disappointed which closely resembled being pissed off. At him.
Took me a while to get that in check. To let go. We set some parameters around the week at home, it wasn’t going to be without responsibility and independence.
Slowly but surely we reset the balance.
There was joy to be found this week. And secretly I was happy to have him home. I worked this week and had the following week scheduled off so that we could spend a week all together in Lugano. That upcoming week off provided the perfect opportunity to fly to Victoria for a visit with my Nana. So I booked a flight. This week then became our only “holiday” time together. I planned to make the most of it.
After all, there was a Birthday to celebrate!
What do you do when you need to reset the balance and find joy together with your kids? You buy them a puppy.
You don’t actually buy your kids a puppy. That would be ridiculous. Instead you borrow one for a week – Helena’s first paying gig in fact. A week of dog-sitting with the sweetest pup ever! We were all smitten.
Unfortunately Helena’s joy quickly shifted to nausea. By the very next morning she was home sick in bed, clutching the puke bowl. (Just realized the irony in this. One kid home because he couldn’t face the homesickness, the other literally home, sick.)
Poor girl, on the eve of her 9th birthday too.
So plans shifted. It became quite a saving grace that D was home as someone needed to look after Charlie while Manolo and I were at work.
Her birthday was spent on the couch, in pjs, feeling pretty crummy but with just enough energy to build Lego and cuddle a cute puppy. A pretty great day as far as she was concerned.
The following day she was recovered enough for us to set out adventuring again.
After this day we felt ready to get back to birthday celebrations.
And how do we end a week where everyone’s cups needed refilling? Why, we go to Lugano of course.
There really may be no other place on earth which recharges us the way Lugano does.
What will fill my cup to overflowing is the visit with family I’ll have this coming week. For me Lugano was merely a 1 night stay. Tomorrow I fly to Canada to see my Nana.
Manolo and the kids will enjoy the rest of their holiday week in paradise. The chance to say goodbye, for me is paradise.