What if the conditions aren’t right, right now?

Welcome to snowflake hell.

It started out well. It started out with a good deal. I LOVE a good deal and thrifting is something I relish.

We have an excellent charity shop nearby that gets in a wide array of wonderful items; from clothing with French labels, designer jackets to a stunning book selection.

A few years ago I picked up mirrored snowflake window stickers.

Originally €15 they were marked at €3. Untouched, unopened, I knew they were top notch. Needless to say I was thrilled. My Christmas deco was getting a refresh.

I had a niggling concern because they were made of a hard plastic with a shiny mirrored look and the stickiness seemed very strong, but I put this aside because they were beautiful. Up they went, looking great. The season came and went.

When it was time to take them down they stuck with intensity. Being hard plastic they were, let’s say, less than pliable. And, of course, I had chosen to place them on the window in my kitchen and on my huge sliding door.

My quest began – I have this under control, right? I love to problem solve so, no problem……

I used many cleaners, I turning to the internet for solutions. Then I’d give up (I had young kids after all) I tried soap, warm water, vinegar, gently scraping (broke a few nails that way, but really didn’t want scraped glass) Then after a few months I’d give it another go.

Two years.

Sometimes I’d focus on it for 30 minutes, determined I would find a way, sometimes an hour. Tiny bits would break off, of ONE snowflake. It was maddening. My Mom even pitched in because she saw my level of frustration AND determination. Teeny steps were made, many nails were broken.

After the third Christmas season came and went I came across the idea to use a mix of oil and baking soda applied as a paste. But here was the kicker. It needed heat.

The area needed to be warm. I couldn’t take off my window pane and soak it in warm water much less my sliding door. They recommended using a hair dryer but the surface was too large and the cold winter air outside was combating my efforts.

I had found my answer but no solution, the conditions weren’t right. I had the method and the right mixture to remove it. All I needed was a warm door. I had exhausted everything in my control.

Understanding what is and isn’t in your control is powerful.

I could not control the fact that it was winter, then spring, in Galway. Or the fact that a large sliding door is a very difficult thing to heat up with a hairdryer. I had to wait.

I waited months, until the sun had streamed through my kitchen and heated up my sliding doors for a few weeks in succession (something the requires tremendous patience in Ireland, as we often get teased with the sun before it chooses to come out for an extended period)

I remember clearly the day the door was warm enough.

My kids had seen me take on and battle the snowflakes, over and over again. They had watched me break fingernails and try all the different sprays and concoctions. They had seen me camp out slowing breaking off one tiny bit of plastic at a time then retreat.

Now, what had been superglue had changed. The conditions were right. I applied the oil and baking soda, it melted down the door that day. I hoped it was warm enough.

The snowflakes all popped off in under ten minutes.

As a Mom of small children I did not always have the right conditions to move forward. I strive, retreat, regroup and strive again. I’ve come to understand that conditions play an important factor. The preparation has purpose.

I look beyond myself to see what else is involved in each situation. What is in my control and what conditions need to be met for everything to work.

I changed my perspective and accepted. Even the waiting worked. I knew I had done what I could. I had the knowledge of what to do when the timing would be right. I had the patience and the follow through to wait and THEN act. When the time was right, no snowflakes.

What I learned along the way stands with me. I have tenacity and determination. I was undeterred and found the solution. I released control when I understood what was needed to create the change. I followed through at the right time. I allowed for there to be many possible avenues to my goal.

AND the conditions also have to be right.

We’re currently in a pandemic at the time of writing this. How we have become in this time will be seen clearly as we re-connect. What we have learned will be applied as the conditions change (as they always do).

The work isn’t wasted, it’s biding it’s time.