What is in your pocket?

I was at a conference the other day and while approaching a table at dinner, someone called out,

“What is in your pocket?”

The rest of the table looked puzzled as I reached into my pocket, but my pocket was empty that day.

“Sadly nothing today, I guess they are getting older.”

I had to take a seat and explain.  Years ago, my middle daughter started a tradition when I would leave the house.  She would take some toy, rock, or piece of jewelry and give to me to have in my pocket that day.  It wasn’t everyday.  It typically centered around my presentation days.  (Maybe it was because I was more dressed up, or in fact more stressed out on those days.)

This handing me a toy became a dramatic emotional filled moment for her.

“Daddy, take this with you so you won’t forget me.”

“Daddy, this is for you today so you will remember me.”

Before one event, I was up in the front of the room making sure everything was ready to present.  I was nervous, it was a large group.  To help calm my nerves, I reached in my pocket.  I pulled out a little plastic animal and I was suddenly reminded that there was this little girl who loved me and wanted to be remembered today. The nerves faded, and the presentation went forward.

The session ended, and we had a question and answer time.  Various questions came, but there was one hand that popped up at the end.  I knew something was up by the strange smile on the person’s face.  At first, I thought they were going to try to stump me with a question.

“One final question…what is in your pocket?”

Apparently they had seen me gripping this little toy before the session.  I showed the group, and explained the story.  Much to my surprise, a few weeks later at the end of another presentation, another hand went up.

“What is in your pocket?”

The word had spread, and for most of those days, my daughter had in fact given me something for my pocket.  It wasn’t every time, but enough to build a reputation.  As she grew, the tradition began to fade.  Then one day, while hastily getting ready to leave one morning, my youngest game up for the typical kiss/hug combination before I raced to the car. She paused for just a moment.

“Daddy, this is for you today.  So you won’t forget me.”

What reminder do you need today?  What small reminder that you are loved and are not alone in this journey would brighten your day?  Go ahead and put it in your pocket today.  It is amazing how your perspective changes when you reach in that pocket.

I often wonder if they realize how much that small token helped me on those stressed filled days.  Sometimes the simplest reminder bring perspective back.

My daughters were right.  I didn’t forget them.

Taking a Vacation From…

We are taking a vacation.  Yes, it just so happens that next week is vacation but that is not the vacation that matters.  Last night while tucking the kids into bed we had an idea. We should take a vacation from something that isn’t working for us.

This week was a short week because of a holiday, and for some reason we all seemed to have more homework, stress and projects that ended up increasing the grumpy dialogue between us.  Last night while tucking everyone in, we decided to take a vacation.  A vacation from raising our voices to each other.

Why not take a vacation from that one thing for the next week? Spend today thinking about that one thing that you should put on the shelf for the next 7 days…and put it away. The next week you have a free pass from engaging in that thing.  It may not be helping you anyway.

What do you need a vacation from?  Raising your voice?  Being critical? Procrastination?  Fear?  Being Snarkey?

For us, we came up with a code if one of us begins to violate our new vacation agreement:

“I’m sorry, we are on vacation!”

You deserve a vacation.  Perhaps those around you do as well.