Check the NO, embrace the MAYBE

earring MAYBE

At 6:21pm last night my daughter lost the backing to her very recently pierced earring in our garage. Our garage is pretty typical, which is to say it’s filthy, so the idea of finding it was a lost cause. This was sort of a big deal because the earrings they use for new piercings have to stay in for six weeks or else there are a host of nasty issues that you’re up against. These earrings also have a specific backing, so replacing it with one of my wife’s wasn’t possible. We scooted over to our local tattoo shop only to learn they don’t do piercings (despite Google’s promises). Shoppers Drug Mart was a long shot and our lone jewelry store was closed. As our daughter had to work the next day and tape or a band aid wasn’t a long-term solution, we were left with one option. Drive the 26km to the next town where the piercing was done. A further complication – it was 6:36pm, the shop closed at 7:00 and they weren’t answering their phone.

“Dad, should we make the drive?” my daughter asked.

I could have said, “NO. It’s too far. We might not make it by 7:00pm.”

Or, “NO. We don’t even know if they’re open.”

Or, “NO. I’ve got to make dinner and feed and walk the dog.”

Or, “NO. I’ve had a long day already and would rather relax on my sun-soaked front porch with a cold drink.”

Instead, I said MAYBE.

“MAYBE they’ll be open.”

“MAYBE we’ll get there before they shut.”

(And to myself): “MAYBE this is an opportunity to connect with my teenager whom I’ve seldom seen this week.”

We arrived at 6:56pm. They were still open. They had a replacement and we asked for another one, just in case. Disaster averted, hugs all round and feeling good about our effort, we decided to go out for dinner. Saying “MAYBE” was the best decision I made all week. For the entire car ride there and back, and during our outdoor meal, we talked. Like, really talked. About life, relationships, self-worth, values, happiness. Meaningful stuff. I listened. I shared my opinion. It was being a dad in all of its best moments.

Parenting is a full-time job and challenging obstacles pop up countless times in countless ways. It’s easy to say NO when things are busy, you’re tired or you have other items on your list to cross off. Sometimes saying NO is the right thing. At other times, if we can check that impulse and embrace the MAYBE, truly great things come from it.

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