Breathing Technique

How could I ever feel impatient with this super, cool son?

From the Series: Life on Dog Hill

Each week I set aside one morning to read and share inspirational blogs. This is my special time for personal reflection and rejuvenation. It’s also my opportunity to benefit from (and share) the divine wisdom of others. An important weekly activity, I block time on my calendar so I’m not interrupted. Just imagine my surprise to get this phone call 10 minutes into last week’s reading.

“Hi, Ryan. What’s up?

“Um, Mom?”

“Yes, dear?”

“I left my bookbag at home.”

“Oh my goodness, son! Are you still at the bus stop or are you already on the bus?”

“I’m already on the bus. But if you bring it right now, Ms. Jones will stop on our way back.”

“Okay, I’m on it!”

Still in my pajamas, I quickly dressed, ran downstairs for the bookbag, jumped in the car, and headed to the bus stop. I parked on the side of the road and waited. Then the phone rang again.

“Mom! You weren’t at the bus stop when we passed!”

“Ryan! I got here as fast as I could!”


“I guess I’ll just have to meet you at school.”


I thought about the time I had carved out of my day for my special practice now being eaten away by this silly, unplanned rescue. Then I smiled, remembering the one post I had read before my road race began. It was from my friend Peggy Nolan and fortuitously titled, Feeling Irritable? Take 10 Deep Breaths.

Although I wasn’t feeling irritable when I read her post, Peggy is a great writer and offers deep wisdom, so I dove in. When I got to the part about taking 10 deep breaths, that’s exactly what I did….

10 breaths in
10 breaths out
Breathe in peace
Breathe out frustration

Now driving to my 13-year-old son’s school, I remembered my earlier breathing exercise and laughed out loud. No such thing as coincidence, I thought appreciatively. After all, I have always believed that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is divinely inspired.

I thought about Ryan sitting on the bus without his bookbag; how hard it must have been for him to call me and tell me that he’d forgotten the most important item needed for school. I knew he felt bad about calling me. I knew he felt even worse that I was making an unnecessary trip to school because he wasn’t paying attention to important details. After all, I know Ryan to be a thoughtful, considerate son.

It’s only a couple of miles to the middle school. Two stop signs and one traffic light, to be exact. Making the six-minute drive, I realized how good-humored I felt. And I knew it was because I had read Peggy’s article and taken 10 deep breaths.

10 breaths in
10 breaths out
Soften face
Relax jaw

I thought about what I should say to Ryan when I passed his bookbag over. I felt certain that his start to the morning had been more stressful than mine. I didn’t want to add to that. I felt joy in my heart, and I wanted him to feel joyful as well.

It was 15 minutes before his bus pulled up. I got out of the car and hoisted his bookbag over my shoulder. We met at the back door of the school, him trailing a friend along. Both boys looked a little nervous.

“Dude!” I began with a laugh. “Let’s not make this a habit!”

Around us, faces turned. A teacher. The security officer. Bookbag carrying kids from all directions.

I could see the relief in Ryan’s face. “Okay,” he said, a smile breaking across his face, as he took charge of the bookbag. Then he reached out and gave me a hug in front of everyone! “Thanks, Mom!”

“Have a great day. I love you,” I said, waving as I turned to go.

“I love you, too!” he said, in front of everyone! 

Ah, yes! I’m so glad I got to do this today, I thought. What a great life. What a great kid!

Want to prevent irritation? Make this mindful breathing technique a daily habit! And don’t forget to check out Peggy’s article and bookmark her page. She’s a genie in a bottle!

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