See anything missing from this picture?
Yup, there was supposed to be a plane there by now… But I’m getting ahead of myself…
Earlier today I called Charter to cancel our cable TV. Every year we get a bill that shows a huge price increase, and every year I call to let them know we’ll consider leaving if they can’t do something about the price. This year we opted to go in a different direction and I was frustrated… scratch that… infuriated when they offered a couple of options including reducing our bill by significant amount for essentially the same things we already had plus a little more. After declining the offer we immediately suffered a phone and internet outage. When I called back to get that fixed the customer service rep pretty much laughed it off saying “that always happens…” When it didn’t turn on after a couple of hours I lost my cool and became a little unhinged, letting my emotions get the best of me. It was finally sorted out, but I spent way more emotional energy on the debacle than I should have.
Later in day Gavin found out that there’s a really good chance that the sky is cloudy (possibly storming) when the eclipse is supposed to occur tomorrow. With it being on his birthday, science related, and just flat out awesome he was crushed. It took a very long time (and possibly shooting squirrels off the bird feeder with a paintball gun) to cheer him back up. I was trying to help him understand that there’s no point in worrying about something that he has no control over, but he just wasn’t having it.
Funny how the Big Guy Upstairs can pull strings once in a while, isn’t it? I got a notification on my phone that my flight had been delayed. It had been delayed long enough that there was no way I would make my connecting flight. Seeing as we live less than a mile from the airport I asked Gavin to come along with me while I went to sort out my ticket face to face instead of over the phone. He eagerly jumped in the car with me and we were off.
Upon walking in we saw a room full of disappointment. People who were also going to miss their connecting flights, customer service reps who felt horrible about being powerless to fix the situation. I kept my cool and helped Gavin understand the situation. At the counter we talked with the rep to see what he could do to help us out. He typed furiously on the keyboard and kept apologizing for not being able to do more. I took a deep breath and reassured him that I trusted him to do his best and that I’d roll with whatever he could come up with. After a while he came up with the best possible solution, fly out on the first leg, stay overnight, and then fly out early the next morning. We tried every option, and that’s all that we could do. I thanked him for his help, and Gavin and I walked out with a smile.
As Gavin and I walked out we talked about what just happened. “Hey Bud, did you notice that I didn’t get mad or frustrated? This isn’t ideal and I’d really liked to have gotten there sooner, but there’s nothing I can do about it so there’s no point in being sad or frustrated is there?” He smirked and fired off a pretty sweet one liner joke at me, “yeah, because you’re trip isn’t nearly as cool as the eclipse!” I just laughed with him and moved into the next part of what I wanted hime to understand. “Bud, how do you know that The Big Guy Upstairs didn’t do that on purpose? Maybe something bad would’ve happened if I would have flown out tonight? Do you know what His plan is?” He smiled and we discussed it further. By the time we got home I know he got what I meant. I’m hoping it starts to sink in for him at an early age, his life will be filled with so much more joy if it does.
While talking with him the other thing running through my head was how I handled the situation with Charter earlier. I really muffed that one! If I could do it over I’d handle it differently, it easily could have been my frustration on each of the calls that led to result. That said, I can’t change the result, but I can learn from it.
So why did I keep my cool in the face of adversity with the airline tonight while I lost it with Charter earlier? It’s pretty easy, I saw an opportunity to help Gavin learn through an experience with me. I handled the situation differently specifically so he could see what the “right” way to handle it was. I became the role model because there was a lesson he needed to see, and I couldn’t let him down. If I would’ve gotten upset it would have just reinforced his feelings earlier. Gavin helped to make me a better dad today.
Funny how everything in life points to parents having to raise kids, but rarely does anyone remind us that by raising our kids we have the opportunity to become better people ourselves. I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity to learn from Gavin today, it’s put a smile on my face through a potentially frustrating situation.