Power of Perspective
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Power of Perspective

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them” - Maya Angelou

By Danielle Emel, CLAC Executive Assistant

Last week, I had one of those days. You know, the kind of day where everything seems to go wrong.

The morning didn’t go smoothly. I had a hard time waking the kids, fought with a toddler to eat her breakfast, raced around trying to pack up the kids and all their stuff so I could drive my two oldest to day camp, and ended up being late for their first day.

I then headed back home to drop my younger two off at the day home. Halfway through the drive, my three-year-old started to complain that her tummy hurt. In my haste, I had forgotten that she tends to get motion sickness on long car rides. I tried distracting her with silly songs, candy, whatever else I could think of.

That wasn’t working, so I pulled over to let her stomach settle and give her some fresh air. As I pulled her out of her car seat, her face just inches from mine, she vomited. On. My. Face. I stood there for a moment holding her midair, stunned at what just happened.

My first thought was to take a selfie to show my friends—that’s the most important thing to do, right? I set her down and searched my recently cleaned van for something to wipe up the vomit with, albeit with only one eye open. All I could find was a lone, dirty kid’s sock in the bottom of my purse. I used it to wipe my face, got us back in the car, and drove home feeling defeated.

Eventually I got to work extremely late, appreciating the fact that I have a supportive employer who allows me the flexibility to be a working parent. By that point, though, I felt as if my day was ruined. I worked with my door closed for most of the day, and except for the occasional person popping in to call me “Puke Face,” the rest of the afternoon was uneventful but still fairly ruined by my bad mood. 

That night, after the busyness of getting kids fed and put to bed, I sat down to watch TV. I flipped to the news, and was inundated with images of young boys trapped in a cave and children who had been taken from their parents who were simply seeking a better life for their family.

In that moment, perspective was a slap in the face. I had let a few inconvenient events define and ruin my entire day. In the grand scheme of things, they were such minor incidences. I have a job, and I am able to provide for my family. My children are with me—healthy, happy, thriving. I checked in on them before I went to bed and savoured the fact that I get to be with them again tomorrow.

Bad days will continue to happen, but without them, we might not realize our blessings. 

Perspective is a powerful thing—when you can remember to use it!

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