I am waiting outside of his apartment building, on a beautiful California morning, ready to start our day. It is day two of my two-day trip and we have a ton of things that we plan to accomplish – mostly errands for him, peppered with meals together and a taste of LA. So much to get done before our time together is over. We had already spoken twice on the phone this morning and confirmed our timing. We adjusted by 10 minutes to make sure it works perfectly for him.
He is aware that I have arrived. He texts that he’ll be down soon. I wait. And as the wait becomes longer I feel confused about what I should be thinking, how I should be feeling, and what my reaction should be.
I vacillate between feeling resentment and being taken for granted, and bypassing those feelings altogether in favor of feeling gratitude. Gratitude for the beautiful day, for vacation, and for knowing that I am going to have a whole day with my beloved son whom I have not seen in almost half a year. I waffle between wanting to assume that there is a good reason for the wait and annoyance caused by assumptions that there may not be an acceptable explanation. The range of my emotions overwhelm me.
I am just not sure what’s the response that will serve him, me, and our relationship the best. It is so important to me that I not screw this up. I pray and ask for clarity. How should this situation be handled? Should he be reprimanded and reminded to be respectful and sensitive to others? Should he be met with openness, without judgment?
I purposefully stop thinking and allow my mind to completely quiet down. It takes some time (of which we’ve established that I have more than I want) and eventually my thoughts still and I am ready to hear what my intuition knows. I feel the answer in my heart. I feel calmness wash over me.
You are here this weekend to just be with him. Be curious. Learn. Understand. Enjoy. This weekend is about your relationship, not a to-do list.
I become relaxed and begin to read my book, reminding myself that it is still early morning, excitedly looking forward to the treat of the day that is ours to eventually enjoy.
20 minutes later he texts he’ll be down in two minutes at most. I send back a thumbs-up emoji, proud I haven’t yet called to hurry him. It is out of character for me, a very time-conscious person, and I like this new, you-do-you, me. I am taking care of my own needs. No need to fret.
An additional 20 minutes go by. I am still calmly reading, allowing the slowly-intruding thoughts to pass by without giving them power. At the 21st minute, though, my bubble of serene patience suddenly pops and I have a hard time reclaiming it. It’s been 41 minutes that I’ve been waiting.
I become worried because the wait doesn’t make sense to me. I can feel myself spiraling out of the zen-like, understanding space. I give myself permission to call him. He answers right away and says that he’s walking out of the elevator right then.
He apologizes and explains why he is late. And it makes sense. Something serious unexpectedly occurred that he had to handle, and the time was a lot less fun for him than it had been for me, reading outside on this sunny day. He offers that he knows he should have explained while I was waiting; he had been so intent on just getting through the situation so he could meet me, that he didn’t take the extra time.
I am grateful that I had been guided to be in a calm place, giving him the benefit of the doubt, rather than texting and calling over and over, making him feel guilty and upsetting us both. I do wish he had shown up three minutes earlier before my peaceful demeanor had disappeared, because I would have been emitting more natural pleasant vibes, but that’s the reality of life.
The instinct to ‘just be’ and learn was so valuable this weekend. I realized a lot about myself and about my son. I learned that so many of the times that I typically jump to conclusions, I am wrong. And I feel ashamed of that, something that is very hard for me to admit to myself. It woke me up at 4 am and took me quite a long time to come to grips with. I realize that he deserves for me to have more faith in him. I learned so much more about what he handles beautifully, stoically and with grace throughout his days. I gained a new sense of pride for the person he is. And I also realized that I have gotten much better at holding my own boundaries, when it comes to that point.
‘Just being’ allowed us to enjoy our time together, to have the amazingly deep conversations he and I love most, and to have time to joke around. It allowed us to enjoy getting so many of the errands accomplished because we did them when they worked with our energy, instead of despite it (usually.) No matter what, we felt that we were in this together, as a team, and that is when we are at our best.
Writing this on the flight home, I know that while the weekend together gave me time to learn some important lessons, it didn’t give me enough time to practice them in person. Luckily, our relationship isn’t reliant on proximity. And I look forward to enjoying and celebrating my son, equipped with my new realizations and perceptions.