One of the worst feelings in the world is disappointing someone you love.

It was a sunny, cool Florida day. I woke with my usual energy before traveling. All the chores that I had ignored were suddenly calling to me.

I dropped Roscoe and Smudge off at Busters, came home, and cleaned for hours. I found myself scrubbing dog toys, spreading mulch, washing the deck, and finally packing. I hung my winter coat and scarf on my closet door ready to grab on my way out the next morning. Then I went for a three-mile run. When I returned I discovered a text from my daughter, Arielle, in Illinois joking about how even though the weather in NYC was forty degrees it was going to be sunny so it would feel like sixty. I laughed. While forty is warm for her, I’ve been known to shiver when temperatures dip below seventy. My Christmas gift from Arielle were tickets to see two of my favorite singers Sara Bareilles and Jason Mraz in Waitress. We were meeting in the Big Apple for a three-day mother-daughter adventure.

I ate a late dinner and climbed into bed. My stomach churned. Something was wrong. Sleep eluded me as I tossed and turned wishing I had taken the time to make myself a healthier dinner. The details are gruesome. Let’s just say my morning did not turn out as planned. I wanted to fight it, tough it out. Years of battling migraines had raised my threshold for pain. I gave myself the pep talk: You got this. You can do it! Walk to the stairs, make coffee and everything will get better. You’re going to NYC!  Two steps, three steps, my body screamed, No!

Devastated, I had to tell Arielle I couldn’t make it. I apologized over and over feeling a worse pain than the stomach flu, the pain of disappointing my child. She, of course, was understanding. Already on her way to Chicago to catch her flight she had to turn around and return home. Still, she offered to send me soup.

Spending time with my children has always been a great joy in my life especially now that they’re no longer living at home. Being with them, sharing in their life, hearing their hopes and dreams, and being able to offer support when they need it fills me with an overwhelming sense of love. I’ve watched them grow from infancy to young adults, and I’m continually amazed by them. The fact that they still want to hang out with me is the best feeling ever! Whether we’re at home laughing around the dinner table or enjoying a meal overlooking Lake Como our time together is precious. A gift.

Lake Como

The winter coat and scarf hung on my closet door, my suitcase next to the bed, reminders of where I was supposed to be. I searched for meaning. What was the lesson? Why was the timing of my sickness so bad? The thought arose: Accept what is. I couldn’t change anything except my attitude. If I chose to get angry, I’d only hurt myself. If I chose to be sad, I’d hurt myself. If I chose to continue to berate myself for letting my daughter down, I’d hurt myself even more. Acceptance means only having control of my attitude when the moment doesn’t come close to my preconceived expectation. My thoughts could tell a story of how I disappointed my daughter, shouldn’t have done so much before traveling, could’ve made myself a salad for dinner or my thoughts could tell a story of how much I loved my children and how they knew I loved them. My thoughts could remember all the wonderful trips we’ve taken together and know they’ll be more.

Accepting what is can be difficult, but there’s forgiveness in letting go. It’s that which I cannot travel to, see or touch, but feel that holds steadfast through a storm. My love for my children is eternal. I must understand that while I don’t know what the next moment will bring I do know that my love for my children is carried on every moment of every day whether we are together or apart.


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