I used to think if I could just learn to micromanage my circumstances, my body, other people — I could avoid further pain. Or defeat. I could make life behave. Right. Recently I had a teensy ah-ha moment with my son, and some crickets — a gentle reminder of where true control really lies.
While Zack, my godson, is on vacation, our family is taking care of his spotted gecko. (I know, I’d never heard of having a pet gecko either…) But I was sure that my two boys would enjoy the lizard so she’s here, living in my office. Her name is Yoshi. At only eight inches long, she moves with the spirit of a venomous Komodo dragon. Being extra small myself, I gotta respect that.
After I said yes to Zack, he says Yoshi needs to be fed crickets. Live crickets. I am kind of a Buddhist about these things so this news is slightly disturbing. But how hard can it be? Zack demonstrates how to first season the plastic bag of crickets with a white nutritional powder so we have confectioner-sugared-crickets. Lovely. Then Zack uses tweezers to extract two jumpy morsels from the baggie and feed them to Yoshi, who quickly pounces and gulps. The boys cheer. I bite my lip.
The following day, my older son is way too eager to feed Yoshi. He wants me to grab the crickets and then hand the tweezers to him. Hm. This hand-off worries me, but I concede because my son is all aglow. I open the baggie and try to catch a cricket. But they’re awfully fast.
After five aggravating minutes, with my son growing impatient, I finally manage to tweeze a leg…and then the leg pops off. Oh yuk. So I start to look through the baggie to find the legless cricket not wanting to leave him in that different-abled condition (even though he is about to be lizard lunch.) I cannot find the amputee, so I go for another. Finally I get one and hand it off to my son saying, “hold it tight so the cricket doesn’t get away.” My son does as he is told, drops the cricket in front of Yoshi, and the cricket lays stone cold. With no movement, Yoshi doesn’t see the over-tweezed cricket.
Meanwhile, in my thrill of actually capturing a cricket, I’ve left the bag open. Two bugs have made a break for it, liberating themselves onto my desk. I quickly pounce on one and throw it in the cage, feeling weirded-out by the tickley thing in my fingers. “But Mommy I wanted to feed her!” my son whines, as my heart pounds while trying to nab the other jail-breaker. “Sorry honey but I’ve gotta move quickly or we’ll have crickets running rampant.” I catch the other and throw it in. Phew. Done for one day.
The next morning, I wonder how to improve on our clearly flawed approach. I decide instead of trying to catch a cricket, I will somehow pour them into Yoshi’s cage. My son is not happy about this. But I’m in control, right? I open the baggie, season with snow, and gently lean the bag over the cage, hoping not to release so many crickets that Yoshi will choke. Strangely enough, two little confectioner-sugared crickets march to the edge of the bag and volunteer themselves overboard into the lizard’s den. Wow.
As both my son’s are enjoying the pounce and gulp session, I feel the ah-ha come over me. When I pushed and tried to control the situation, it didn’t work. When I relaxed and allowed the solution to present itself, even the crickets jumped into the flow. Voila. As some wise soul once said, “We can resign as general manager of the universe.” Resistance is futile. Alleluia.