Saturday, March 09, 2013

The Gift of Now

I learned an incredibly valuable lesson this week, from my teenager no less.

It didn't start off feeling like a valuable lesson though. It started off feeling more like a pain in the ass. Maybe that's how all valuable lessons start.

It was 4:30. I had just dropped off my daughter at her dance class, taken the dogs for a walk in the pouring rain, and was picking my son up, heading for a 5:00 karate class, ready to practice together. Partway to the dojo, we realize his backpack with his karate gi is not in the car. Great. I turn the car toward home, we are going to be late for class, but probably not by more than a few minutes. We get home though, and his backpack is nowhere to be seen. He comes back out of the house with a shrug.

On a whim, I ask him if, just possibly, it might actually be in the trunk of the car? Lightbulb moment. We've been driving around town with the pack in the car all this time. Sigh. Back in the car, back on the road to the karate dojo. Now we're definitely going to be late.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the dojo. Not really funny, more like amazing. The sky started turning orange, then pink, then bright purple. Then, I kid you not, purple rain started falling from the sky. I have lived almost 47 years and it was the most amazing sky I'd ever seen. Like the aurora borealis in the middle of the day - lighted sheets of rain dancing around the sky in amazing sheets of color. And of course, as a photographer, I'm going nuts because A) I'm driving on the freeway, and B) I don't even have my camera. You'll have to settle for my description and this bad photo we shot out the windshield.

At this point, I'm going nuts and I pull in to a local park and run like crazy for the high ground, hoping I can at least capture it on my phone. By the time I get to the top of the footbridge, of course, the sky has faded completely to a dark blue. The incredible photographable Best Sky of My Life is gone. I walk dejectedly back to the car.

But here's one thing that most parents know: having kids is like having little Zen teachers with you every day of your life. My son says "Well, at least we got to see it."

Bam! Yes. Yes we did. I got to experience that amazing sky. Maybe I don't get to sell a photo of it to National Geographic. But I was here on this earth to see it. And I'll never forget it. And here's the kicker. The real kicker....

If he hadn't forgotten his backpack, we would've been in class. We never would've even known it existed. This incredible miraculous bit of everyday wondrous beauty would've just occurred and we would've been none the wiser.

I'm so grateful for my forgetful son. I'm grateful for his teenage wisdom. And I'm happy to have had the Gift of Now.

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