Now that the holidays have passed, I have gotten a little perspective on a recent incident that caused me to become fully "unhinged." I've been actively working with a spiritual coach (four years); a business coach (six months); doing my tai chi regularly (one year); and just started Kung Fu, and have noticed that the things that send me "over the edge" have been getting fewer and farther between.
This is something I am proud of, since it is hard to parent effectively, and run a large company, being a hothead.
Which was why I was completely unprepared for the depth of my reaction, when another parent brought in holiday donuts to my son's classroom, (outside of a scheduled party), and the teachers got him "something else."
In case you're just tuning in, all of our kids are allergic to gluten (the protein found in wheat, barley, malt, rye and a few other grains), and my son is also reactive to dairy.
Much of my parental energy is spent ensuring that my children will be nutritionally safe at the various schools, parties, extracurricular activities, playdates and all the other events that they attend. And one of the agreements my son's school made was that they would not allow food to be brought into the classroom beyond scheduled holiday parties (which would have a variety of foods for him to choose from, and so he'd be less likely to be singled out as "the kid who can't have something"). This includes birthdays and other celebratory events.
Or so I thought.
I got a call that a parent wasn't able to come to the holiday party, so was bringing in donuts two days before, for all the kids. (Well, all the kids except mine, due to the allergy.)
And here is where I came unhinged. I am frequently brought to tears by my children, watching them grow. Like tonight, for example, when my oldest took a sparkler out into the snowstorm, and twirled around with it, I could see, in that moment, a grown-up woman twirling someday. But I rarely cry from anger or upset (that's where the benefits of my tai chi and spiritual work come in!).
So I knew, when I was in tears in my son's classroom, that while, yes, I was committed to keeping him safe and included, no, his exclusion from donuts wasn't what my upset was really about! (And no, it wasn't "that time" of the month, either!)
I spent the next two weeks thinking about this issue, talking it over with various coaches, and was able to get to the source of it, which was a very old childhood hurt. It's pretty amazing how childhood hurts can be so powerful. I've been working on this issue for many years, but it still blindsided me.
As this new year unfolds, I invite you to take some time to slow down and evaluate those things that unhinge you. Before you fall into the donut hole, like I did!