I forgot all about this. I finally got to the East Coast and then I was here and so happy to be playing with my grandbaby and hanging out with my baby (the pregnant one) that I forgot all about writing about how grateful I am for love and health and family.
I’m glad I engaged in this exercise. Many things were bumming me out and taking a toll on my outlook on life but thinking about the good things, the upside, the great, good fortune I’ve had in life, made it so much better. I can say with 100% assurance, that although I don’t have everything I want, I have more than enough and that’s something to be grateful for
All parents know the feeling of utter failure – the certainty that someone should come take your parenting license away IMMEDIATELY, because you suck and you have no business raising children. You yelled at your kid or you can’t stop the bullies or you forgot to send a check to school for the field trip or you made the wrong kind of cookies or you couldn’t get it together to make the weekend super fun or you couldn’t keep your child from getting sick or you let your kid slide on manners or…or…or… so many things. So many ways to fail. But then something happens and you get a hug and kiss and an “I love you, Mama” or, better yet, someone tells you about a wonderful, compassionate thing your child did and you are reminded that maybe you don’t suck so bad after all.
And then the teen years arrive and you are, unequivocally, the biggest idiot on the face of the earth. Your teen makes sure you know that on a daily basis and you suck it up, and keep smiling and wait for the day when the kid gets past that stage. And it happens. And there you are, with an adult relationship and it is different but it is good and entirely lacking in the messy kiss, sweetness of the relationship you had when your child was very young.
Last night my very adult, very pregnant daughter had a minor panic attack. She lives on the Eastern Seaboard and the snow was falling, the rain was freezing and the plows were nowhere in sight. She was really terrified that she might go in to labor and not be able to get out – and she called her Mama. Her husband was right there, assuring her that everything would be okay but she still needed to call her Mama and cry and get get some motherly love and reassurance that the world wouldn’t let her down. I felt sad for her in her panic (and maybe a wee worried, myself) but I have to admit that still being needed as a Mama is a beautiful thing and I love it. Doesn’t happen a lot once the kids grow up so when it does I am reminded that I did a good job raising my kids and that I was and continue to be a source of love and strength for them. And for that, I am most grateful.
She’s still pregnant and the plows still haven’t come but they will, and I will get there and every little thing is gonna be all right.
I had a little trouble getting into gratitude mode yesterday as my plans to get to the east coast got tanked by weather. I should be almost there right this minute but, as it is, I won’t be there until after midnight on Sunday – boo. There’s a baby on the way and I’m needed!!
So there’s that – there’s a baby on the way! My extended family will grow by 1 and there’s no reason to think that this little girl won’t be 100% perfect. Modern medicine has already assessed her and things are looking good! A birthing center is lined up, mid-wives are standing by and a miracle is about to happen. If you’ve ever studied physiology you know just how miraculous growing a new person is. A lot of very subtle operations have to act in concert starting with 2 cells joining forces and mitosis setting in. Cell differentiation, growth, incubation – the whole 9 yards is enough to make me believe in God – or something. John Gardner wrote something about the bump and grind of random molecules once – I can’t quite remember what; but it’s more than that. And it’s happening – and I get to share in that. All I have to do is get there! I will… just not as soon as I had hoped.
When I was in high school I decided to take a year off, work, earn money and go to Europe and that’s what I did. At the age of 19 I set out, all by myself, knowing absolutely nothing and flew to Paris. My Mom was worried enough that she arranged for me to room with a young woman from my home town but other than that I was clueless. I didn’t know about student passes, youth hostels, nothing.
I was a mess in my teens, wracked with low self esteem, addle brained from smoking too much pot and poisoned with an inky self loathing that drove my posture and the way I entered a room. When I got to Europe I realized that no one knew me, no one was aware of the circumstances of my life that had buried my ego in humiliation and disgust – I was almost reborn. I could see my life almost literally from 6,000 miles away and that distance provided a fulcrum against which I could measure the validity of those things that weighed me down. It was a beautiful thing.
It’s taken me 40 years to properly crawl out from under that dung heap but I mostly feel like I’m there. However, as of late there have been some circumstances in my life that have weighed me down. I’ve had issues with my job, yet another heartbreak this last summer and a not entirely successful bout of trying to figure out ‘what next’.
Friday I am heading to the east coast, leaving my house and dog in the capable hands of 2 people and spending 3 weeks with my daughter and her family that will grow by 1 any time after I get there (that’s the plan). After 3 weeks of basking in the joy of my daughter and her babies and their Daddy, I will head to tropical paradise to unwind for a week, both in and out of the water; on top and below.
It isn’t quite like the time I went to Europe when I was a shell of who I am today but it bears some similarity. I’m looking forward to a change of venue, to a break from the never ending task of searching for my life partner and to the opportunity to reevaluate and reset. I don’t when last I escaped the bonds of my day to day life for a whole month but it’s time, and it’s going to be great.
I have a cold. I feel grumpy and not all that grateful. I’m flying on Friday and there’s nothing much worse than flying with a head full of snot but on the plus side, I can leave my house in the morning and be all the way across the country, at my daughter’s house in the afternoon. And that’s pretty cool. She is due to have a baby on Saturday. So instead of being grumpy I will be happy that we have cheap air travel AND that a new baby will soon be here.
I’m not falling behind on gratitude – I practice being grateful every day. I’ve fallen behind on writing about it which is partly because I’m not spending that much time on-line. At least not recreationally. So here is a catch up post. As I wrote this post I thought of something important.
Day 13 – Saw The Revenant; Movies are a wonderful thing. They take us away from it all, they teach us things, they stimulate us and engage us.
Day 14 – Thursday was the first day in ages I didn’t go out and do something. It was nice to stay at home and just relax. Although home is where the heart is, my heart is very much in my home that I’ve lived in for 27 years and raised my babies in. It isn’t the most elegant or beautiful house in the world but it’s cozy and cute and it’s my home, unadorned, simple and quaint though it may be.
Day 15 – Spent the evening and night with a man I’ve been seeing for a while. We have a lot of fun and get along great but decided early on not to commit to each other so we’ve both been dating this whole time. I could fill a book with the emotional impact of this relationship but mostly it’s been good for me and I value this man and now have another great person in my life. Friday was the last night of things as they were – moving on to things that are different from what they were and growing in the process. I accepted that we weren’t crazy in love (or, more accurately that he wasn’t crazy in love with me) and just let things be what they were until I realized there was some danger in carrying on and I changed it. And he accepted that. It’s been a very positive experience.
Day 16 – I ran 3 miles and didn’t hate it. This is very good as I’m a triathlete and running is part of the process. Running is not my fave so I was very happy to have a run that felt okay and that I didn’t hate even though my pace is sooooo slooooow…… Baby steps. Grateful for acceptance
Day 17 – Went to spin class and out to breakfast with my Team Redeem bestie. Love her, love our time together. Happy.
There is a philosophy that says everyone should pick a word that represents their work for that year. I can’t remember where it comes from and I don’t feel like looking it up but it might be from Oriah Mountain Dreamer; I’m not sure. In any case, it’s a useful thing to do and I have, in prior years, spent time coming up with a word. Today the word came to me. Acceptance.
I was going to try to find a pithy quote about old friends and how great it is to see them again and catch up on life’s news but nothing really resonated with me. So let me just say this “getting together with a friend you haven’t seen for a long time is the best”. Pithy enough? Last night I had dinner with a women I see rarely but when I do, it’s always a pleasure. Grateful to have wonderful people in my life.
I’m in a book group with 7 other women who are all smart and interesting and fun. We formed our book group about 15 years ago, primarily from a group of Moms in the same alternative elementary school program (public school). Over time we’ve added a few other members. 2 of us are teachers, 2 of us work for a city, 1 of us is a newspaper editor, 1 of us is retired, 1 of us is a business owner, 1 of us is a corporate drone, albeit a really smart and fun one (guess who??!!). We are magnificent – truly.
We meet once a month to discuss a book and given the likelihood that we’ve all read the book (not so likely) we call ourselves the Accidental Readers. It’s also pretty rare that we have a full house but really – we all have lives and sometimes we travel and sometimes work sucks the life out of us and sometimes we have family obligations and you get the idea.
My kids refer to us as “Mom’s drinking group” but that just shows what they know – WE TALK ABOUT THE BOOK; for at least 10 minutes. At least. Some books hold our conversational attention for much longer – they just have to be compelling enough.
I am deeply grateful for this group – for the camaraderie, for the way we treat each other, for the exchange of ideas, for the sharing of insights and for the measured but undeniable debauchery. Thank you, ladies!