By Mental Health Speaker Angela Lockwood.
Living on a farm has it perks; open space, no neighbours, peace and quiet. Then there is the other side; wildlife … they also love the open space and peace and quiet. My kids and I arrived home from a typical day at work and school and as my son stepped into his bathroom to put his shirt in the laundry basket I heard a high pitched scream followed by him running towards me with a look of terror on his face screaming, "Mum there’s a snake in the bathroom!" I must admit at first I thought he was playing another prank but the look on his face made me realise … oh my … there is a snake in the bathroom*?#^!
Proudly I had a little Steve Backshall Deadly 60 moment where I dropped my bag, walked confidently towards the bathroom, then as my eyes locked onto a python sliding its way down the shower screen I nearly pulled the door off its hinges, trying to hold back expletives and pulled that door shut. My heart was racing to the point I was getting concerned it was going to jump right out of my chest! The cane toad squashing tools we have on the verandah (another downside to farm living) became the door stoppers because there was no way that slippery little sucker was getting out of that room.
Standing on the verandah looking back and forwards between the door and the kids I thought … oh, now what! With the kids looking at me for answers I went through the list of “Things to do when a snake is in your bathroom” (not really a list but there should be!)
The flow of my responses went like this;
1. Contain that thing … tick
2. Try to continue to breathe … getting there
3. Calm the kids … locked them outside so I guess tick
4. Phone a friend who likes snakes… tick but not available … onto step 5
5. Phone hubby … not answering so onto step 6
6. Google! … Google always knows what to do … phone a snake catcher
7. Phoned snake catcher … after phone call number 5 my angel was on her way
8. Focus on that breathing thing again … tick
9. Watch the door so that little Houdini doesn’t make a run for it … tick x 100
10. Sit and wait … or play on phone so to forget what is lurking inside … tick.
A little differently, my kids' response went something like this;
2. Run outside
3. Quickly run back inside and get their ipads
4. Play on ipads calmly while Mum tries to stop herself from having a coronary.
Having a snake in your house is not really a situation that happens very often if not ever (thank God). But looking back over the events of the afternoon I realised we never know what is going to happen not matter how organised we are, how in control of our lives we are are or how much we think things will never happen to us. Unexpected always happens. People get sick, we lose something, we take a wrong turn, an accident happens, a snake falls through your exhaust fan, anything can happen and we are not always prepared.
Too often we move through the course of the day feeling like it’s Groundhog Day and it isn’t until the unexpected pops up that we can be jerked out of the mundane and routine and into a new reality and chain of events. If the unexpected happens, what can we do about it? Nothing much. We can’t change what happened but we always have control of how we respond to it … always. In the spur of the moment you may lose it, behave irrationally for a little while, even fall into a heap but you may also surprise yourself and realise in the moments that really count people have your back, you are calmer than you think and no matter what, you have what it takes to pick yourself up and keep going.
The unexpected always happens, it is how you respond to it that makes the difference.
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