A few days ago, I was dejected: the boutique hotel we had chosen for our family holiday called to say they had been sold out just a few hours before. As I walked off into my room gloomily, my three-year-old son tagged behind me, asking me: what happened, papa?
Papa is sad, I told him.
Why, he persisted.
I looked into his serious eyes and decided to give him the truth even though it would not make any sense to him: “The hotel we wanted to stay in for our holidays does not have rooms for us so papa is sad.”
He screwed up his forehead trying to understand, then replied: “But mama is still there.”
I stopped in my tracks. Yes, it was true: I did still have his mama, and him, and my family. And so much more to be happy for in that moment. I took a deep breath. And I realized I had more than enough air to fill my lungs for the rest of my life. I had enough earth to explore for the rest of my days. And my life itself is a pure gift – none of us can ‘earn’ even a moment of it.
That tiny exchange with my son triggered off a little snowball of gratitude. Over the week, I began to see that what I called my ‘burdens’ were blessings I was blaming to avoid facing the real issues; and those ‘real’ issues didn’t actually exist outside of my thoughts. Perhaps the only thing as amazing as seeing how much is perfect in your life is seeing how easily the mind gets locked onto the tiny apparent imperfections.
It turned out to be a challenging week, with a few unexpected expenses, delays and stressful moments. But whenever I found myself pulled down into negativity, I reminded myself: But mama is still there. It made me smile and became my personal code to remind me of everything that is all around serving me in that moment.
Eventually, our hotel room worked out perfectly too, as we have found an even better option – a mountain cottage – for ourselves. But the greater joy is in knowing that, regardless of whether it happened or not, ‘mama is still there’.