After my last post whined about the tough time I’ve been having, I really intended to write something more uplifting the following day when I was feeling better. My friend who has been teaching herself energy medicine did a phone consult with me that really turned things around Thursday night. The biggest issue she identified was — surprise! — fear of illness. She used BodyTalk, NeuroModulation Technique (NMT) and her own blend of energy work she’s developing to help me clear out the inner clutter.
It really helped. She is such a kind soul, and I think very talented as an intuitive healer. At the end of our call, I was so exhausted I sort of slurred my words telling my husband I was going to bed at about 9:30. I slept like a rock and was ready for the day when my daughter woke needing to pee at 5 a.m. Friday morning.
She got back to sleep, and I happily (and quietly) trotted downstairs, put on the tea kettle and broke out the journal that I’d finally started using in conjunction with a recent workshop at lil omm with Shawn Fink of Abundant Mama. On Friday morning, I actually felt like writing in my journal instead of thinking I ought to but feeling like I am just not as committed and enlightened as other people.
I wrote. I set an intention. I sat — really more like a pre-meditation since I’m out of practice and simply sitting with breath and a smile is kind of a revelation. And then I did yoga. I got in nearly an hour of self-care before I had to start making breakfast for the kids.
So yay for that!
And speaking of revolutionary acts, that morning I — gasp! — ate breakfast with my children. This was a habit I was in all of September and early October and I loved it. I got up early, exercised and did yoga and then was ready to eat a reasonable breakfast with them after having already prepped the lunches. Sometimes I even showered before they got up.
But that habit faltered when I broke my toe in early October and couldn’t really move without pain for a long time. Then it totally went out the window in November during a long respiratory illness. And whenever I start to get back into it, something happens to make it not workable. Either I don’t go to bed early enough to sustain early wake-ups and then fall ill, or the kids get a bug that causes them to be up in the night, and it can hard to fall back asleep. For a very long time. If I’ve been up for more than 30 minutes in the middle of the night, starting the day before 6 is just not an option. And usually my blood sugar gets thrown so off that I end up eating way too many calories the next day in some kind of survivalist fit.
But back to Friday, it was great. I made a little progress on the new site I am hoping to launch at the end of the month — Mindful Healthy Life of Metro DC — and on a few volunteer items for my children’s school.
I do wish I’d captured that momentum in words, because it feels faded now.
Both Friday and Saturday nights, my children were coughing and needed water and some Chestal. My son’s allergies haven’t gotten as bad yet this year as they have in years past; fingers crossed some of the things we’ve been doing to support his system will pay off. But it’s nearly impossible not to feel a little cloudy with all the pollen, not to mention the dust from the school that is being demolished down the street. Neither child coughs during the day, but the nights have been rough. For the three of us. My husband has largely slept through it.
So forget early wake-ups for me this weekend; I did a rare thing and let my husband deal with first hour, not rising myself until after 7:30. Even if I know I needed the sleep, it’s hard not to feel like that was lost time because I really do get so much benefit from early morning yoga and centering. At least in the wee hours of Saturday morning, some ideas about my novel came to me and I was able to jot them down later while I sipped my hot water and lemon before eating breakfast. Early Sunday morning, I spent time in three different beds and woke bummed that it was almost 8 and if we were going to go see the cherry blossoms before 100,000 other people were out there, our window was quickly closing.
But I also worried if we didn’t do it now, before my husband’s noon Ultimate Frisbee game, we would never do it. So I warmed a GF bagel for the kids, told my son to fill water bottles, and mixed some Evolution Juice Organic V with nuts, avocado, chia seeds, parsley, cucumber and beet greens in the Vitamix for my breakfast. It was good, but not enough. As we found ourselves in stop and go traffic before 9:00 a.m., watching tons of people frolicking under the pink blossoms, I just felt defeated. We considered having me get out with the kids and walk around, but I thought that 1) that seemed kind of unfair to make my husband just drive around and 2) it might be nearly impossible for us to find a way to meet up and get back home!
It was such a beautiful morning, and I really wanted to be out there moving my legs with my kids, but it just felt impossible. There wasn’t going to be any parking and we hadn’t planned to be gone for hours. It was just supposed to be a short excursion. I knew it would be mobbed later in the day, but I really didn’t expect the madness to start that early on a Sunday.
It seemed like everyone was just taking pictures of other people taking pictures.
Fortunately, the kids seemed okay with it. After all, we kind of hardly ever go downtown and certainly not on a Sunday morning, and there were plenty of views of the pretty pink blossoms. So it was still an adventure. When I noted the location of the MLK memorial, my daughter kept asking, “Where’s Martin Luther King?” and I had to say, ridiculously enough, “Well, he’s there, but you can’t see him.” Eventually we got a glimpse of his profile when we craned our necks and she never launched into tears, thank goodness.
But I still wanted to get out there on foot. The feeling of being under those fairy-tale canopies is not something you can describe or adequately imagine from inside a Mazda 5. Plus, I really wanted a photo of me and my children under the blossoms.
One police officer kept telling my husband to go forward and he wasn’t so I told him, “She wants you to go up,” a comment that was not well received by my man behind the wheel, who then spit, “Get out!” to me. At that moment, I knew I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t take my kids and go a-walkin’.
I knew he’d much rather drive alone than have me whimpering in the car, but I felt too weak. I knew I’d be too hungry to cheerily enjoy the time with them for more than about 18 minutes and for sure couldn’t handle the frustration that would inevitably come when my husband would call to tell me where to meet him and I’d not know what intersection he was talking about or I would but he’d be shooed away by a police officer and have to circle the entire Tidal Basin, which would take at least 32 minutes, if not an entire hour, during which time my daughter would pee her pants and my son would complain about the pollen and we would all sit down in the middle of the sidewalk and cry. Possibly getting run over by several strollers.
No, I couldn’t do it.
Maybe that wouldn’t have happened, but it seemed too likely. So I said, “No, I can’t” and watched the people squeezing past one another over that little bridge where you have to go nearly single file. And I snapped more pictures with my camera, and my son did with the new one he got yesterday at Costco during the 4 miraculous hours my husband took the kids out of the house. He might have spent more time looking at his photos than at the blossoms.
I blinked back tears but tried to take a fake-happy selfie a minute later when I remembered I’d actually gotten dressed for once and should capture some piece of my existence outside the kitchen and not in yoga pants or the pajamas I was excited to buy new back in 2007. My husband then snapped a pic of me (stopped as we were in traffic), and I found some small comfort that the one I took was better. It had both blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial in focus.
But I really felt much more subdued.
Despite being disgusted at the huge mound of trash that had piled up thanks to all these many people and their many bodily needs, I broke out the half of a grapefruit I’d brought along just as we crossed the river back into Virginia.
Once at home, I fried an egg with zucchini and spinach and then proceeded to eat several small helpings of oatmeal with nut butter and pumpkin seeds. I think I used all the clean spoons in the house going back for more and more again. The calories I consumed before 10:00 a.m. probably surpass all I’m supposed to take in for the day. I’m sure my digestive system is not going to be happy, but I felt ravenous.
This just after I tried on all my capris (because I of course can’t wear shorts due to my persistent psoriasis) and had gotten religion on the need to reign things in and give my belly a break. But there is no way I can even consider dialing back the calories when I feel so insatiably hungry like I did this morning. And there is no sure-fire way to address that problem if I’m not sleeping through the night because of my kids coughing, as if I weren’t already worrying enough about their health and spending many hours and dollars trying to support their bodies. And feeling bad for all the fun things I do not have the energy to do with them over this break. And wishing I could find a way to make some progress on the new site without also ignoring them or working late into the night or waking super early and getting myself sick in the process.
Nothing needs to be done for the new site; of course I could just wait or just not do it at all. But I really want to, for so many reasons. It brings me joy when I dive into it and would a whole lot more if the time and the physical energy and the mental focus could all align. I wish it didn’t have to be so damn precise, but it does. A week of no childcare was sounding pretty daunting, especially since I thought my husband was going to head out the Ultimate and leave me with the kids today, too.
What almost sent me over the edge was my son bringing me a crochet activity his dad let him get on yesterday’s Costco trip, clearly not from the kids’ department. I want to be clear: I can sew a tiny bit, but I Do Not Knit, or crochet, and cannot fathom for the life of me how those activities could be in the least way calming for anyone. It is a sign to how different people’s brains can be if something that makes me want to cry can be soothing and enjoyable for so many other people. If I have any cells in my body that mark me as a kinesthetic learner, they are not in my fingers. I suck at spatial relations, and even just looking at the explanations of the stitches had me nearly in tears. I finally suggested that my mother would probably really enjoy working with him on this project, which he accepted, especially since his dad said yes, he could watch soccer highlights. The fact that the kids said yes, they would go with their dad to his Ultimate game also helped me not crumple to the ground for having failed at yet another parenting moment.
I helped get them ready to take off and left before them on my own to get to the farmer’s market where I wanted talk to the farmer I’d been playing tag with about coming to my kids’ school’s spring festival. This helped me get out of my head a little, as did the RadioLab story about a family whose daughter had been born a day before 24 weeks gestation and struggled mightily but is now two years old and doing well, even if her future is somewhat uncertain.
Other than listening to that, during which I tried to do some organizing in the office that is driving all of us nuts, I have spent the bulk of my alone time not writing any of the many email replies I would on some level really enjoy writing or ordering the supplements I need or making any progress any photo albums I really want to make my kids or even starting the laundry. Just writing this whine-fest. It seemed necessary. There is certainly something to be said for keeping tough stuff to the pages of a journal, but it’s more helpful for me later on to actually look back and some times even reference posts for progress or trends.
I have to write to get to a better place. And my hand would get too tired writing now some 2000-words by hand anyway.
Maybe tomorrow, the first day of spring break, maybe I will have enough energy to Metro the kids down to the Mall and we will go squeeze our way around the the trees and take in a few minutes of the sure-to-be-crowded Natural History museum before they take the dinosaur exhibit away.
I’m dubious, but I guess I have to hope it’s possible I might find an unobstructed view, if I can just find the right angle.