From Malta, my partner and I headed to Friuli, the region my partner is from, to visit family and attend a wedding. We had to take two planes to get to the Venice airport. Then it’s about an hour’s drive to his parent’s house.
My partner’s brother, sister-in-law, their infant and toddler agreed to pick us up from the airport in Venice. However, my partner inadvertently told them the flight departure time instead of the flight arrival time.
Thus, not only did the two little ones have to endure two hours of being in a car, but also another hour waiting at the airport.
Of course, they got tired and hungry. The infant, in particular, had “a hunger of a wolf”…as the Italians would say it. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough snacks for the infant. We tried breaking up the snacks we did have into tiny pieces and spreading them out. We handed him the pieces as slowly as possible and trying to amp up the anticipation for each bite…kind of like mindful eating. 😉 Even with all this, we ran out of food and he started wailing mid-way through the car ride.
We tried peek-a-boo. No relief. We tried giving him some water. He drank some water, rejected the rest and started crying again. We tried caressing his hands. He was still was not having it.
Eventually, we pulled over, ignored all safety laws regarding babies staying in car seats, and passed him to his mother sitting in the back of the mini-van. She held him in her arms, talked to him and comforted him the rest of the way.
And he calmed down.
But he didn’t calm down because he got food. He calmed down because he got connection. That connection served to reassure him that he would get what he needed soon. It wasn’t food, but it was enough to help him stay resilient until he could get food.
Getting connection was enough to calm him down in the moment. That, in and of itself, is incredible. Connection doesn’t cost a dime and it’s that powerful. Later, being fed reinforced that his connection with his primary caregivers is reliable. Trustworthy.
Moments like these are not insignificant. When we must endure the discomfort of not quite having our needs met (yet) we develop resilience.
And ever since this tiny moment, I couldn’t help but think about how we approach problems.
Anytime there is a problem, we try our damnedest to find a solution. Quick, as fast as possible! However, sometimes, there isn’t a solution…or at least there isn’t a solution anytime soon.
In our haste, do we skip over cultivating some really important life skills?
In these situations, we have to slow down. We have to broaden our idea of what a solution would even look like in this moment – right here, right now.
Sometimes the only available solution is resilience.
But here’s the thing about resilience, it is often not cultivated in isolation. Just like this situation with this hungry baby, connection helps us stay resilient until a solution becomes available.
And, just like with this baby, connection with a reliable source works.