Worry is not preparation

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This morning I woke up with worry.

 

Has this ever happened to you reader? Waking up with worry?

It is not a very pleasant experience.

No, it is not.

 

I wake up and my mind is already going. It does not seem to matter how much mindfulness and yoga I do. Sometimes this happens. And when it happens I must dig deeply in my toolbox of coping skills. I have developed this toolbox over the years, inspired by various authors and doctors and friends, and of course, recovery.

 

And so I sift through the toolbox.

These help me. Maybe they can help you too:

 

Read Tara Brach book Radical Acceptance.

Employ technique of “floating” above worry, kind of like swimming.

Take eight Mindful breaths. Breathe in love. Breathe out fear.

Change the Channel: Focus on a time when I felt peaceful and content. (It helps to have little index cards prepared with these memories or scenarios.)

Read Howard Cabot Zinn and/or observe thoughts.

Read Pema Chodron. The Wisdom of No Escape or When Things Fall Apart

Get outside!

Eat something.

Rest.

Make a phone call to a friend.

Help someone; get out of my own head.

Remember slogans: First things first, Easy does it, This too shall pass.

 

And then I think about what will soothe me, connect me:

Shower/bath

Take a walk

See people

Go to a meeting

Yoga

Write

Chocolate

Talk radio

 

And so this morning I go for a walk outside. I talk to Philly. I read a bit. I reach out to a friend. I take a shower. I do my practice. I talk with daughter and I make a plan to be helpful and drive daughter to school. I remember: Worry is not preparation. And that I do not have to solve it all today. I can just take one step, one moment at a time.

 

Philly tells me I am doing a good job.

I smile.

Sometimes when one is in the worry place, it is hard to know what kind of job one is actually doing.

 

Maybe I do not have to evaluate this today. Maybe I can just be in my day. And trust. Trust that taking the next right action is enough as I take time to connect to the world around me, and to all of you out there, also having a very human experience, just like me.

 

I know I am not alone.

 

You are not alone.

 

Whatever it is, we can know it will be different tomorrow or the next day. Things always change. We can take comfort in the connection to one another.

 

Yes, we can.

Yes, I do.

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This weekend daughter went out of town.

Daughter went out of town to Brooklyn to stay with son and eventually to make her way to Connecticut for her father’s wedding.

 

Yes, Wuzzy is getting married.

 

It is Friday and daughter is packing her things.

“Mom!” I hear from the daughter room.

“Yes?” I call sweetly up the stairs.

“I need you to help me make sure I am not forgetting anything.” she says.

 

This is a little exercise daughter and I do when she is packing up to go somewhere. THE CHECKLIST.

 

I sit down on the bed. “Socks.” I say.

She nods.

“Sleep wear?” I ask.

Another nod.

“Toothbrush.” I say

She walks into the bathroom.

 

We continue in this manner until we are relatively sure all items are securely packed. In a little while we walk out the door and down to the car. When we get there daughter says, “Oh crap! I forgot one of the bags.” And off she goes trudging up to the house to retrieve said bag.

 

I drive. I drop daughter off at the train, which will take her to the bus to Brooklyn. As I watch her walk away I have a little sad feeling. Philly and I will have the house to ourselves, but still a little part of me does not want her to go. Daughter brings something very special to the family. And when it is absent, you cannot help but notice.

 

And so off she goes. And I on my way to go about my adult business. Now with both kids not kids anymore I have much more free time. It is a little confusing. My life has been about these two people for so long. I had to work REALLLLLY hard on letting go of son. And now I see I have to do it again with daughter.

 

I think: Life is just one big let go. Pretty much right from the beginning.

 

I am not sure what will fill the spaces that used to be occupied by all the many kid things. I suppose this is mid-life. This is empty nest-ing. This great unknown into the next phase of life.

 

I am being dramatic right?

I know. I know. But reader, I feel it.

I do.

 

It has been so amazing being their mom and it is hard to let go of.

And so I softly loosen the hold.

And I wait for what is next.

 

I watch them move in their directions.

And I think: How lucky am I to have had this experience.

 

Yes, I am.

Super moon babies

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The other day a baby was born.

And as we speak another is on its way.

Early, just like the first one.

 

Maybe it is the Super moon.

 

It is the last days of the year 2017 and mama is being induced into labor because of high blood pressure. She is not actually due until January 13.

 

The process begins and I am at home in contact with the couple. Even though it is early on, I go to the hospital. When I get there I can see mama is still pretty comfortable. When she is checked, her stats are pretty much the same as when she arrived 6 hours ago.

 

Mama is disappointed. I tell her, “It is ok. Just give your body time.”

I know this is easier said than done.

 

We sit. We stand. We roll on the birth ball. Hours pass. Mama is checked again.

Still the same.

This time, Mama cries.

 

Now I know it will be awhile. I call in back up and take leave to recharge my batteries. While recharging I get a text from Back Up Doula: Still no change.

 

Sigh.

I say a little Doula prayer.

 

Not too much longer and I am getting ready to head back. I get a call. It is husband. He says, “7-8 cm!”

 

“Woo!” I say. And I really, really mean it. You just never know how these inductions are going to go. I hop in the car and head back to the hospital. When I get there Mama is feeling a lot of pressure.

 

“This is good!” I tell her. Because this means the baby head is coming down. We buzz the nurse to tell her about the now constant pressure. Sure enough, Mama is 10cm and baby is +2.

 

“Good work!” I tell Mama.

And she smiles a big Mama smile.

And Dad looks just a little bit relieved.

 

Now it is time to push. I do not think it will be long reader. With just the first push you can see some baby head and dark baby hair. Husband and I are helping Mama as she gets her pushing groove on, which happens quite quickly and with some force.

 

Maybe it is all the Pilates she has done.

Seriously.

Mama reaches down and touches baby’s head.

 

Twenty minutes reader. Twenty minutes and Mama pushes that baby out. When baby comes out Mama cries, “My baby! My baby!” as baby is put right upon her chest to nuzzle.

 

Baby is big and ready to start rooting to nurse. I cry a little Doula tear as the new family huddles together for the first time, tears streaming down Mama’s face.

 

I think: Thank you.

 

It doesn’t matter how many births I attend.

It is always, always a miracle.

 

Yes, it is.

 

The Best Gift of All

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Today we will fly back home.

 

It has been only a few short days but I have begun to relax. To unravel. To get perspective on priorities. To let go.

 

Mostly, to spend time with family.

 

In the day-to-day of NOW, we live our lives in fragments of family. One person here, three there, two here. It is not how I grew up, this fragmentation. When I was a young Violet I had access to my grandparents and relatives on BOTH sides almost anytime I wanted. We all lived within miles of one another.

 

Since I had always enjoyed this access, I failed to appreciate the beauty and fortune of it.

 

The spontaneous conversations.

Decisions to watch the game together.

Home cooked meals, shared.

The wisdom of the oldest, and the youngest.

The laughter. And the tears.

 

These pillars of family, buoying my life.

 

Vacation Holiday is almost over.

But I have had access to my family.

 

And this is maybe the best gift of all.

Together Today

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This morning we opened presents.

It is Christmas morning and I am awake at 6AM. Son and daughter are still sleeping. We have arranged to have present opening at 10AM.

 

We were originally going to have present opening last night but by the time we got back from the Christmas eve family hoedown at my brother’s house I was too exhausted for presents.

 

I ask son, “Can we just do gifts tomorrow morning?”

“Yes.” son says, which is not surprising since son is the one who used to ALWAYS want to wait until Christmas morning to open presents instead of jumping the gun and opening on Christmas Eve, as daughter and I prefer to do.

 

So, it is almost 9:30PM at Brothers house with the parents and Auntie and I am running out of gas. Brother has three children ages 5-13. His house is BUSY.

 

“I got to go to bed.” I say.

This always opens the door for commentary on my early bedtime habit.

I mostly try to ignore this commentary because really I am too old to defend my choice of habit and self care.

 

So we go. And I go to bed. When I wake up I go for a run and have post-run chit chat with Philly while drinking multiple cups of coffee and waiting for the young adults to awaken.

 

At 9:30 I text the group: You awake?

Daughter texts: Yes.

I text: Son?

Daughter texts: No. Should I wake him?

I text: Yes.

 

Philly and I are in our little bungalow. Son and daughter are right next-door. A few more minutes pass and I text: You coming over?

 

Son texts: Yes.

 

And so we will be gifting. It is not much gifting since part of the gifting has already been pre-given for various practical reasons of traveling with presents. So I am thinking there is not much left to gift until son enters with a small pile of presents and various handpicked cards.

 

We gather in the mini-living room and light the red candle. I say a little prayer.

My prayer is gratitude we are all together.

 

“Ok. Who is first?” I ask.

 

Daughter goes first. She is very excited to receive MAKE UP. Son goes next and opens a card with MONEY. Always a welcome gift when one is 23 years old. We go around in order. There are gifts and very special cards from Son Girlfriend. She is definitely a card person. One card even has a little bell on it.

 

I open the card from son and it has a very thoughtful message. Son might not say much in the talking realm, but he writes a very heartfelt holiday message. Ok, I cry a little bit.

 

One by one we open small gifts and cards. We sit in a circle and say thank you. In 15 minutes the gifting is over. Later we will go back to Brother’s house for part two of the hoedown. But for now I am cherishing this moment.

 

Just us.

In a simple circle.

Together today.

Yeah.

OUT LOUD

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Yesterday we flew on a plane.

 

We flew on a plane at 3:30PM. We were SUPPOSED to fly on a plane at 8:20AM.

 

It is 4:10AM and I am awake getting ready for our early morning flight. We are flying down to Florida to see THE FAM. Son will be leaving from Brooklyn to meet us there. Even though we are not leaving the house until 6:30AM, I am awake doing all the things that one does before leaving for vacation.

 

Time passes very quickly and soon it is time to go to the airport.

 

This year, we are taking a Lyft. Nice Lyft Driver gets to the house in eight minutes and helps us with our bags. On the way to the airport we get to listen to early morning radio. It is very funny. I did not know early morning radio was so funny since I am generally not an early morning radio person.

 

When we get to the airport I text son: There?

Son texts a picture of him on the plane.

 

We get to the gate and we are boarding! Counter Guy makes daughter check her bag even though it is CLEARLY regulation size. I think about making a scene, but ok, I do not.

 

And we are on.

And it is 8:20.

 

And we are sitting.

 

A few more minutes and an announcement happens. Something about navigation system computer and we should be on our way shortly. Ok. I sit back and wait.

 

Philly is next to me and in front of him is TALKER GUY. Talker Guy is talking away to the guy next to him about traffic circles vs. traffic lights and four knee surgeries and pretty much anything that comes to his mind. Philly is having a little chuckle to himself at his luck of sitting behind Talker Guy. It is not like Philly to laugh out loud but he does laugh out loud.

 

A long SHORTLY passes and another announcement happens. Something about resetting the system. I am getting concerned. It is usually NOT GOOD when you are sitting on the tarmac and SHORTLY becomes not-so-shortly.

 

Now they are going to try turning the whole plane off and back on. This is when my mind says: You will be getting off this plane.

 

And…YES! Turning the plane on and off again does not work and the next announcement is: We will be deplaning.

 

Inside I am having a tantrum. Now we need a new plane. Now anything can happen. This is why I used to hate traveling for business.

 

GOD!

 

We get all our stuff and we get off the plane. I say a little prayer that it won’t be too long before we are on our way.

 

We wait again. When 9:30 departure turns into 2:30 departure the whole gateful of people moans out loud. I start making the texts and calls necessary to arrange for someone to meet son at the airport since we apparently will not be meeting him there. I try to plug my charger into an outlet. I cannot get it plugged in. I cannot get it plugged in because the outlet is just a sticker-picture of an outlet.

 

Can you believe this?

Some joker put up a sticker-picture of an outlet at the airport. As if people needed more reasons to be annoyed while sitting at the airport.

 

I talk to BROTHER. Brother is really a nice guy. I do not even have to ask for a son pick up. Brother just offers up the Brother Wife to go pick up son. Brother Wife is also a very nice woman. She drives all the way to the airport to get son.

 

The airline is doing their best to make nice. They bring out snacks. Eventually they bring out sandwiches and drinks. Daughter is sitting next to me at the electronic bar playing FINGER SKATE, a game it seems impossible to win.

 

And we wait.

 

A cute young guy is sitting across from daughter.

I text her: That guy is cute.

She texts: I knew you were going to say that.

 

Some people have spread out to actual alcohol bars. Because if you are a drinker, a plane delay is a very good time to get drunk. Just FYI.

 

All the Airport Bar People are slowly getting louder. I feel a little afraid of what state they might be in when we finally do get a plane that works. I hope that time is today not tomorrow. I start to worry it might be tomorrow.

 

I go over to the CUSTOMER SERVICE desk to see if there are any other flights. The answer is no. Unless I want to fly to Orlando, which I do not.

 

Now it is getting close to 2:30. Still no announcement.

 

Then an announcement: We are switching gates. I take this as a good sign that we might in fact be leaving sometime soon. It is getting close to six hours since our scheduled departure time and I am starting to get the AIRPORT CRANKIES.

 

The entire gaggle of people from our plane gets up and shuffles down to the new gate. Everyone crowds right at the entrance spot. Three times GATE LADY has to chastise the overly eager and loudly drunk passengers to back it up. I just stand with daughter, a little bit back, but ready for the stage crush.

 

There is an actual plane at the gate. And it is not the old broken plane. A new departure time is put up: 3:15PM. Since there are two Gate Ladies at the gate, I believe we really are going to depart.

 

And…Boarding is announced! We will board the plane, again. This time we will stay on the plane and fly to Florida. I am tired reader. I am tired and I have lost a whole day of my short-ish vacation to see The Fam. I get on the plane and just pray to STAY on the plane.

 

My prayer works! We stay on the plane. We fly to Florida. We get daughter’s unfairly checked bag off the luggage carousel. We get the car. And we drive 45 minutes to meet up with son and The Fam.

 

I do not have much left in the tank. We meet up at a junky fast food place. I just need food. I am glad to see them. And I am glad we are here. And I am very glad this day is almost over. Because I want to start my vacation.

 

Even if we DID have fun in the airport.

I am done now.

 

I say it out loud: Yes, I am.

Silent Retreat

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Today I have laryngitis.

Yesterday I had laryngitis too and then I went ahead and taught a class anyway and that was pretty much the end of the talking.

 

Have you ever had laryngitis reader? I have never had this laryngitis thing before. It is an interesting experience not being able to talk. Especially for someone like me, who is a talker.

 

But if I try to talk either nothing comes out or a very weak Marlon Brando comes out.

 

I feel like I am on silent retreat.

 

I am already having conversations with myself. But not like the usual inside-the-head chatter. This is more like actual things I want to say but cannot and so then I answer myself.

 

How long will this last? I have a teeny-tiny feeling of panic at the thought of being locked inside my head for a long time.

 

This probably means something really significant for me psychologically.

 

And so today I will be the observer.

Me.

And my thoughts.

 

I am going to try to see how quiet I can make it in there.

In the thought house.

 

I will let you know how it turns out.