I am someone who spends a lot of time on social media—it has become one of my great time wasters while standing in line, going to the bathroom and sitting in my son’s extremely boring (yet seemingly necessary) music appreciation class. I read an article about how I could use my time in the Starbucks line-up to practice “mindfulness” and gain a greater appreciation of the environment and the barista who would be making the elixir of life. Considering that I was reading the article while waiting in line at Starbucks gives you an idea of how likely I am to practice mindfulness in the near future. But, one of my great annoyances of social media are the “life hack” videos. These short videos are intended to make your life easier by learning how to make a bouquet of flowers from plastic shopping bags or a three-layer lasagne in a mug. But, I am here to to pass on a life hack to all my parent friends (and anyone else who may be absent-minded, preoccupied etc.). Here it is…
Yes, a lanyard. Sadly, I have no video to make it more exciting. I am telling you now in the hopes that you will learn from me (and my husband). The lanyard humbled me and reminded me of what I had truly become in my life—a parent.
Last summer, I went on an outdoor adventure at the shore with a good friend and her two children. It was a hot summer day when we returned back to our vehicles. I strapped my daughter in the car and threw my keys on the front seat. My son was goofing around so I quickly strapped him in his car seat, closed the door and went to hop in my car. And all the doors were locked. And then the panic began. Not only were my children locked in the car, it was a hot summer day and…I had no cell phone coverage. Fortunately, my friend was able to coach my son through opening the car door and it only took about seven hours for my heart rate to return back to normal range. And afterwards, she told me to wear a lanyard with my keys. That night, I put my keys on a lanyard.
My husband thought the look was rather humorous and chose not to wear this stylish accessory. About three months later, we were at Mount Washington and he dropped me off at one of the lodges so that I could enjoy 90 minutes of child-free time!! What a joyous time. Until he lost his keys in the deep snow while getting something out of the front seat. And of course, the kids were in the truck at the time. And once again, the panic set in as my son could not see the door latch in the dark. Normally, dropping your keys beside your vehicle would not be a big deal. Unless it is dark and you are up to your waist in snow. Then, it is a very bad thing. Any relaxation from the massage quickly left me as I tried to calm my hysterical kids as skiers and snowboarders frantically looked for our keys. But, thank God for my massage as the therapist had friends on the mountain with metal detectors. Who would have thought those still existed. They found the keys and I gratefully gave them all the money in my wallet. I will forever be grateful for these kind strangers. And that night, my husband went back to our condo and put his keys on a lanyard.
I never thought I would wear my keys around my neck as it seemed to “motherly”. In my mind, I had somehow escaped the chaos that accompanied having children and I would not need these simple tools to help me. I was too cool for a lanyard. But, as my husband and I learned, these tools were created for people like us—parents who were scattered, distracted and juggling to keep it all together. I wear my lanyard with pride. Learn from me—you are never too cool for a key-chain necklace!