Saturday, July 25, 2015

August 2, 2015: Let Him Ride the Damn Bike


The title of this blog is very appropriate. At least from my current perspective.

'Let him ride the damn bike.'

Yesterday I needed a break from e-mail and the busyness of work. An endeavor that never seems to reduce. One of my guilty indulgences of the day was watching some old videos that I recently had restored.

It was all good fun until I reached the segment recorded in the clip above. With Ben over my shoulder, we watched me 'helicopter' my eldest as he learned to ride his bike.

Even Ben commented, "Mom, what were you doing?"

At the time, I thought what I was doing was perfectly normal. What any good mom should be doing. I was helping my son learn to ride his bike. From my vantage point at the time, I was where I needed to be to ensure his safety and to keep him going in the right direction.

But from my current vantage point of observing from my computer screen, fifteen years later, what I saw was completely different.

How could the child even learn with his mother hovering over him? Poor Zach didn't have a chance of venturing out on his own. I was his surrogate training wheels. I even waved to the neighbors as I virtually rode Zach's bike with him.

The thought that plagued me yesterday was "seriously, Sandy, let him ride the damn bike." I shocked myself at the helicopter mom I appeared to be. I could envision myself as Zach progressed in his riding skills. The visual was me on the sidelines wearing a Britney Spears-like headset and yelling warnings to him. "Pot hole up ahead at 2:00! Veer left." or "Hard stop at the stop sign. Car coming up hill."

With my constant and well-intentioned 'support', Zach was guaranteed to remain safe and never get hurt. Just what a mom is supposed to provide for her child.

Fast forward fifteen years. I now have a different perspective on parenting and the necessity for my kids to ride their bikes on their own. This change in perspective has come with time, life experiences, and continued good advice from my husband. Who has the benefit of a view from a fresh set of eyes.

"Let them have their own journey" has been a common statement made to me from Garrett. Although in theory I have agreed with him, executing on this belief is much harder than it sounds. What if they take a hard fall and break an arm? If I see a pot hole, why wouldn't I warn them? That's what mom's do.

But this theory is flawed. If we all lived life with training wheels and a safety net within an arms reach, we would never learn. We would never progress in a meaningful manner as humans.

There is something to be said for the fear of a pot hole or broken limb in our future. One drives better knowing these risks exist around us. Eyes always open. Brakes always checked. And the love of the open road? Much better without your mom breathing down your neck.

So next week Zach graduates from gunsmithing school. He has four days left to conclude his schooling and move on into the working world. I am excited for the next leg in his journey. The training wheels are coming off.

As I ask questions on his job search and new home in Fort Collins, I wonder about his 'twelve month plan'. But I remind myself that Zach's journey is not my journey. He can and should handle it alone and he should do it his way. Not mine.

Zach may blow the stop sign at the end of the street or a tire. But the road he takes is his choice and the pot holes along the way, his journey. There will be hills to climb and no doubt he will quickly learn the joys of a wind to your back and a warm sun shining on your face.

Time for mom to take a deep breath and let him ride the bike on his own. The vantage point is much better from the sidewalk anyway.

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20, 2015: Time to Slow Down?

My travel buddy
The theme for the day for Garrett and I is 'slow down'.

Our experience of spending a total of ten hours at Denver International Airport today will serve as a good reminder.

Life has been hectic and chaotic for us, to say the least. We seem to follow the march of the next battle, going armed into the battlefield without a second thought on our preparedness. Days turn into night and a calendar reminder, our only salvation as a reminder on the day of the week.

Although this is typical for a go-live of a company of our size, Garrett and I aren't used to even a hint of disorganization in our lives. We are both creatures of habit who pride ourselves on a tight calendar and balanced checkbook.

We knew we were falling below the high bar we set for ourselves, but the sequence of today's events felt like a slap in the face from Mother Reality.

The story, you ask? There must be a story? Of course there is a story and I will tell it. With complimentary glass of red wine to my right and a free A-List Preferred wi-fi connection, it looks like I have a good 45 minutes to transcribe to paper our day.

The morning started with the usual. Garrett waking up to the thoughts swirling in his head and a tug to his computer with me sleeping in an hour past Garrett's internal wake-up call. And then an easy drive to drop off kids and make it to the airport with time to spare.
  • Find a convenient airport parking space. Check.
  • Note on parking ticket the marked lettered spot. Check.
  • Quick trip to bathroom prior to security. Check.
  • Choice of shortest TSA-pre line. Check.
  • Pull out driver's license. Check.
  • Pull up boarding pass on phone. Check.

<Sandy pauses>

"Garrett, why does my boarding pass have your name on it?"
  • Search Southwest phone app for my reservation. No Check.
  • Search calendar for typically earmarked Outlook invite for my reservation. No Check.
  • Look at my husband and panic. Double Check.
I didn't have a ticket for 10:00 a.m. flight home. Only Garrett.

You see, I fly free when accompanying Garrett. He has earned this perk with all of his travels. Our routine is that he books his flights and then adds me on to his as his free companion. Following the completion of booking his flight and then mine, he sends me two separate Outlook calendar invites with details. My organized husband has performed this function without fail over the last year. This time, he forgot about me.

I am equally to blame. Yesterday at the 24 hour mark pre-board, Garrett yelled down the steps reminding me to get my boarding pass. When it didn't automatically populate my phone app, as usual, I was annoyed. Rather than investigating, I hurriedly went to my calendar and pulled my boarding pass from the link provided. The problem was that it wasn't my link. It was Garrett's. And I was too busy and annoyed to even notice that mine was missing.

Fast forward to this morning and there was the result. Garrett and I standing at the end of the TSA line with Garrett on the phone to Southwest, finding out all flights were sold out until 5:00 p.m. tonight.

But with a kiss and a smile, we figured it out. No stress. No tension. We dealt with it, knowing we need to slow down. A Godwink. Busyness is the Devil's fodder. If this is the worst result of our inattention to detail, we are doing pretty good.

So we fired up our computers, let our fellow Thinkers know of our dilemma, and made the most of it. In good company, I tackled my e-mail in-box and tried to keep my husband smiling. I always see this as a good job for me as his wife. I take it as a compliment when Garrett tells me "thank-you for making me laugh." 

As one would expect, our flight was delayed. We just flew out of DIA at 7:00 p.m.

But I am sitting next to my husband and I couldn't think of a better place to be right now. He seems to still be smiling. Note that he has already booked future flights and has not forgotten about me this go-around. Slowing down will be a good thing. I look forward to it :) 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

July 11, 2015: A Day at Think

View from Floor 2 of Think Whole Person Healthcare
We survived Week 1. Think. Launch. Go-live. A vision becoming reality.

'Survived' may come across as a word to give pause. But given 300+ employees on their first day in a new job, a newly christened building, and many loyal patients anxious to connect with their trusted physicians; the word is fitting.

And we did just that. With smiles on our faces and perseverance to achieve a common mission of patient-focused healthcare, we combated the obstacles before us. Each day continues to be a step closer to the excellence we will achieve.

In the real world, life happens contrary to our best plans. Just as our sick patients didn't anticipate a trip to the doctor, Think also dealt with the unexpected over the course of our first week of operations.

Exhausted at times, I found myself walking around the building taking in it's beauty and the refreshment of the patient interactions happening throughout. My new routine is to take occasional breaks from numbers and work flow and simply 'walk the building'.

On Wednesday, I did just that. The blessing I received was unscripted. A Godwink reminder of why I am so dedicated to Think.

The time was mid-morning with sun bursting through our northern-facing rose window. As I walked to the stairway leading from Floor 2 to 1, a song playing from our Floor 3 Steinway piano stopped me in my tracks.

The rendition to Amazing Grace was exceptional. One that I hadn't yet heard played yet on our automatic recorder. This song has always brought tears to my eyes as I remember fondly close friends and family who had this song played at their passing. The clarity and expression was so special, my eyes raised to find the typically empty piano seat occupied.

Nestled onto the piano with fingers delicately stroking the ivories was an elderly woman in a wheelchair. Behind her was her husband who had moved the stool and placed his wife in the comfort of a keyboard she was obviously accustomed. And the result was amazing. The shuffle of the first floor pharmacy and coffee bar stood still as all eyes were on the lovely elderly patient graciously sharing her gift with us.

With another song to follow and a rousing round of applause, the man put the piano stool back in place and wheeled his wife to the elevator. Any printer problems or login issues to our new software were a distant memory as I was reminded of the wonderful people we serve and why we all came together to make this vision a reality. Every patient matters and only they know what brings them happiness. We are simply the facilitators to help them achieve the best quality of life as defined by them.

Out of pure curiosity, I called Schmitt Music, from whom we bought the used Steinway. After listening to the patient pianist and observing her joy, it became important to me to inquire in the story behind the piano. Certainly it's prior owners have provided the good kharma that has now translated into our building. Doug from Schmitt was eager to assist. He did verify the piano was made in 1903 and has a call out to it's prior owner. Once I hear back, I will share the story.

Somehow I think there will be many more stories to be told on our little third floor treasure. And I will certainly keep walking the building to capture them. Life is meant to be lived.