As you may have read on my website, my journey into Life & Relationship Coaching stemmed from “seeking to learn about the depths of myself in relationships from my many roles throughout life: man, husband, parent, child, brother, business owner, and community member.”
My primary role currently is Dad to my just over three year old son, Anders (pronounced Onders). The story I tell myself about my life with Anders consists of the following mixture: 1) Daddy loves being a Daddy, 2) Daddy loves giving meaning to the small simple things in life, 3) Daddy is a storyteller, 4) Daddy knows he’s a bit crazy.
As I embark each day to raise my son, fostering our relationship and nourishing his development, I create nuggets of meaning that lay a secure foundation for our family and provide a level of richness to me that is priceless, while also building a legacy that my son can hold onto for his entire life.
So “Where Has Mr. Cardinal Been?” is a question that Anders has asked a few times now. It’s early winter and each year we put up birdfeeders in our front and backyard to watch the birds brave the cold blustery weather. Last winter Anders and I made a routine to watch the birds come to the feeder as the sun began to lighten the morning sky. Yes, my then two year old, woke up early just about every day! And the first bird to the feeder was a bright vibrant red male cardinal.
His routine was so familiar that I told Anders that he and the male cardinal must share a connection. Both of them up at dawn and wanting food. Anders preference being oatmeal with raisins and a clementine baby orange. I told Anders that I believed in spirit animals, which I do, and I presumed that Mr. Cardinal, as we called him, was his. Anders quickly wrapped his mind around the idea and began to reference Mr. Cardinal as “Mine”, just like one has ownership of a favorite stuffed animal or toy.
For me there is power and strength, humility and grace, to be taught to Anders via Mr. Cardinal. Mr. Cardinal is a wild bird that does as he wishes. He presents a dynamic to young Anders about how relationships exist…..with boundaries, uncertainties, and a healthy dose of lack of control. I’m curious what Anders will think/say the year Mr. Cardinal does not return.
As mild spring temperatures melted the frozen soil, I told Anders that soon we would be taking down our birdfeeders, and Mr. Cardinal would do as the other birds do, return to nature for the warm months. We’d see him again when the leaves left the trees, the winds blew with bitterness, and flurries fell from the sky. In mid-November we put up the birdfeeders for the Season. Anders inquired immediately when would he see Mr. Cardinal? “I do not know,” I said. It takes time for our birds to frequent the feeders and often they wait until true winter weather sets in.
Well today, with a few inches of snow covering the grass, the temperature hovering in the mid-20s, and wind gusts at 10-20 mph I looked out the window while taking a break from working at my computer. Guess who it was? Situated on the Mulberry branch near the yard's edge….Mr. Cardinal!!! I puffed out a chuckle and then felt tears swell in my eyes. He was back. I was filled with eagerness to tell Anders when I picked him up a few days later.
My heart filled with gratitude.
As a Coach, I bring a heavy dose of humanness to my practice. When you tap into the humanness that is YOU, you will be able to move and grow in ways that profoundly change your future.
What’s bringing you gratitude and simple joys in life this month?