Surprising Change of Heart

I'd like to share a moving experience I had this summer when visiting my family in Spain.

My mother spends her summers at her beach house in a small coastal town in the south of Spain. It is a wonderful place to be, and the fact that it is not very pretty has the advantage of keeping the crowds away.

My mother loves to take care of her family by making delicious meals when we all visit for the summer. Every dinner is a banquet. Her kitchen is often filled with the smells of fried garlic, onions, fragrant spices and fresh vegetables, not to forget the fresh fish caught daily nearby.

However, this summer I didn't fully want to go. I had considered going somewhere else. It took me a while to make the decision, but I ended up going.

My husband and I arrived one evening in the beginning of July to find my mother crying in bed. I was surprised because I had just spoken to her on the phone that morning and everything seemed fine.

Then, I noticed she had a cast on her arm. It turned out that she had fallen on the morning of the day we arrived and she had been in excruciating pain, especially when they had to put her bones back in place at the hospital. What seemed to make her the most upset though was the thought that my vacation would be ruined with her unable to take care of herself and others.

I must admit that besides feeling sad for her, I had some selfish thoughts as well. The thought crossed my mind that I would not be able to enjoy my vacation since I would have to be taking care of her. I would be doing all the shopping, cooking, and cleaning. I would not be able to go on a road trip with my husband as I had planned, I would not be able to fully enjoy the beach, or laze around as I usually do while I’m there.

I swallowed those feelings of course, and I started asking what needed to be done. I spent a few days on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, from resentment to acceptance and everything in between. Tapping on myself came very handy in some of those moments, very grateful to have this powerful technique to process those feelings.

I had some great times too. Probably the highlight being, canoe rides on a calm sea, and gazing into the crystal-clear Mediterranean. It was so beautiful seeing all the fish swimming below me, and mysterious rocks sparkling as the water moved around them.

In one of these reflective moments when I was distracted sitting on the beach and looking at the sea, I noticed a sense of profound gratitude, realizing what an honor and privilege it had been to take care of my mother and give back a little for all the years she has taken care of me and my family when visiting her in the summer. I am certainly not happy about what happened to her, but I am grateful for the opportunity that this situation brought to me.

It has been enlightening to see the many lessons and gifts that a broken arm can bring.