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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

hanging in

We have 31 days to go until graduation and we are hanging on by our fingernails.
Over Columbus weekend when I met Ange and Emilie and the kids for a wood's frolic, Ella got the worst case of poison ivy (or sumac or oak, not that it matters) I've ever seen.  In a story that unfolds more like one of Aesop's Fables about the dangers of working too hard to prove someone else wrong, Ella got the plant oil on her hands and then, unwittingly, rubbed her eyes, face, neck, arms and legs.  She woke up Tuesday morning with a suspicious puffiness the likes of which made the nurse call from school and led to her being home all week trying not to dig her skin off.  Her face was so swollen and distended that she actually said to me, "When I walk I can feel my cheeks shaking with every step."
As with any sickness a mother is forced to witness in her child, this one was no picnic.  Two trips to the doctor, Benedryl, cold packs, hydrocortizone cream, oats and honey squeezed out of a cheese cloth pouch, and eventually an oral steroid did little to ease her suffering.
Mostly lately I am trying hard not to exist in a state of perpetual overwhelm as tasks mount up around me: paint the playset and the railing around the back porch before it gets cold, rake the billion pine needles on the front lawn, mow one last time, chop down the perennial gardens I just HAD to put in to excess, clean off my desk, stay on top of the pto drive to get supplies donated to our teachers, plan the kids birthday parties and make sure I have all the necessary stuff, put away the summer stuff and get out the winter stuff so that our upstairs hallway isn't decorated with plastic storage totes.  Did I also mention making dinner, keeping up with the laundry and groceries, outfitting little people for Halloween and working more than usual?
Oh, yes and remember those things I wanted to do when both the kids were in school? Clean out my long abandoned closets, revamp my office, have more time with my feet up and work on my book?  Yeah, it is hard to get to those.
In case you are wondering, I can hear the insanity in all of it.  I know it is crazy to be overwhelmed by our plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas at this early date. I'm pretty sure my mind just latches on to worry like a passenger on a sinking ship clutches a life vest.  I haven't entirely figured out why but I do it but I sense a pattern.  I am reading Eckart Tolle's "the power of now" and finding a breadth of wisdom and life changing teachings in it.  He says the constant churning mind is like a disease process and I can't say I disagree.
Did I also mention that my computer is trying to die on me and that for some reason every time I try to type a capital p it thinks that is a shortcut of windows media player and so I can no longer capitalize the letter p? It also no longer senses discs so I can't download audio books to my itunes library. My computer also tells me the memory is dangerously over capacity yet it matters not what programs I take off, I am losing memory on my hard drive every day. 
Now if that isn't a metaphor, I don't know what is.
I'm breathing.  I 'm meditating. I'm making space for being outside, doing yoga and riding my bike. I'm trying to show up even though it is hard.  Monday morning found Maya running down the stairs in a panic that she had flushed her hearing aid down the toilet.  Forty minutes of searching (in which I remained fairly calm, something to which I credit my daily meditation) turned it up in her storage case. She had only put one in that morning.  

As always, woven through the strain, there are so many bright spots. Like apple picking with my sister and her kiddos. All seems right in the world if I can spend an afternoon with my sister.

And this cool spider web I found with the sun glistening through... being present is hard but it allows me to see these gorgeous things that stop me in my tracks and remind me that, essentially, life is very, very good.  No one in my family is on government furlough, our equality rights are not on the ballot in a couple of weeks like last year and this ardous ride of anesthesia school is almost over.
Thirty one days to go.  Did I say that already?

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