The Solar Panel of Happiness – Mothers Day Part 2

DSC_8288Today is the day before the official Mothers Day day. Yesterday, I told you about the gift from my son, Eric. Today, I want to tell you about the gift from my firstborn, Alex.

Alex is a lover of the arts. More importantly, he is a champion of the artist. He is a talent manager who owns The Green Room Talent Management Agency. He spends his days searching for the perfect roles for his clients, making sure they are heard, and planning their futures with care in a business that can be impersonal and lonely.

Because I make my living in a creative profession, and because I have had many agents but none who went on a limb for me, I am in awe of this man I call my son. He not only recognizes a talented actor, he is a loyal and tireless advocate.

Alex is also incredibly fit and visits home always include an invitation to go on a walk. Last week, our walk was actually a seven-mile hike from our home to Terannea Resort on the cliffs of Palos Verdes. I usually love this mom time with him, but three miles in I was not a happy camper.

Me:   How much further?

Alex: You can rest. I’ll do some pushups while I wait.

Me:   No. I guess it’s okay. I was just wondering how much further.

Alex: Do you need to go to the bathroom?

Me:   No, but. . .

Alex: Okay, then. Long strides, mom. Did I tell you. . .

Whatever he told me got lost in my growing resentment of this forced march – and that was a shame. To our right was the ocean, blue as a sapphire; the sky above us was robin’s egg. Scarlet and magenta Bougainvillea climbed over every fence was passed. Roses as big as a babies face pocked their bushes. We passed other walkers, bikers sailed by and I kept grumbling and huffing and puffing. Alex laughed and he smiled and that turned my gloomy cloud of annoyance a dark, foreboding gray.

Me:   Why are you always like this? Why doesn’t anything bother you?

Alex: Because I have a happiness reserve.

Me:   You have what?

Alex: You know how a solar panel catches the sun and stores the energy? I store up stuff that makes me happy. When I need it, I’ve got it.

Me:   Like what?

Alex: Like you’re being a pain complaining instead of thinking how neat it is that I like to come home and take a walk with you. So instead of getting upset that you’re upset, I pull up something that makes happy: Tucker (his awesome dog), a tree or flowers (he’s an avid gardener), the way it feels when I’m kayaking, the booking I got for one of my clients. It’s like a solar panel of happiness. Nobody can drain that kind of energy. You’ve just got to remember to store it.

I paused to look at him – not because I was tired but because I was struck by his simple, profound life philosophy. I couldn’t imagine how he had come by it, but I was impressed that he lived by it. It was this quality – this principled belief that life is worth living well with all its ups and downs – that made him so unique. I was humbled and grateful that the stork had dropped this amazing human being into my lap. I had spent many years nurturing him, showing him things I thought were right and explaining why other things were wrong. Now the tables were turned. He was pushing me to be better: walk another mile, open your eyes to the beauty around you, change what you can, treat the world and the folks in it well, and always appreciate being alive.

For Mothers Day Alex started the construction on my solar panel of happiness. I will forever keep the memory of that walk in the sunshine in my reserves. It will never loose its brightness nor it’s ability to energize me. I will always be in awe of my beautiful baby who grew up to be an excellent man in every sense of the word.

Thank you for a wonderful mothers day, Alex. Nobody is loved more than you.

PS Thank goodness dad was around to drive us home. Seven miles is my limit. That’s not a complaint, just a fact.