is a moment of losing presence.
It makes life feel pretty high stakes when you can miss so easily and so often.
Yet here we all are, in something that feels mostly like a grand, risky experiment.
My moment looked something like this: My daughter casually and innocently shared a procedure she got to witness at work. I immediately went into opinion about said procedure. Now I don’t have die-hard opinions about many things, but this one I legitimately take issue with. Soap-box time.
No checking in on the field, who was in the room, getting consent, or even more importantly addressing and considering the fact that this particular daughter does not share things about her day in family space that often. And that her statement had VERY little to do with the procedure and a lot to do with expressing herself in the group space.
I know this stuff! I. Know. This. Stuff. And still I let me emotions guide my energy which got big, fast. My son who is always delighted to not be the biggest energy in the room and loves a good debate responded with his own big energy bomb. We actually had a pretty awesome debate.
That violated the boundaries and consent of the other people in the room.
And when I looked up at my daughter’s face she was white as a ghost. I could tell what had happened. My big energy soap-box moment had landed as a criticism of HER. And instead of encouraging and supporting her in her learning and her expression in family space, I had done something that put her in full shut-down. Her trust in me dissolved.
Funny/not-funny that my rant included a hefty portion of self righteous consent talk. Yet I was not present with my own lack of consent in that space.
So I did what I could to clean up in the moment. It felt flat and hollow to say sorry, but it was what I could do. And that drew far more attention to her than she wanted. Strike two.
Later I decided to send her a text that she could read and digest privately. One that fully owned my lack of presence, her innocence, and the fact that she is FAR more important to me than my opinions. And the next day we shared a hug as I recommitted to being a safe space for her.
We can’t promise our loved ones we won’t ever lose presence or hurt them. But we can promise that we will stick around for the repair. That we are committed to growth, and that knowing better, we DO better.