I lose it sometimes, like everyone else. Today I had a moment when it fell out from under me. As I rushed here and there, in and out of the car on a steamy hot day, my mood darkened, my shoulders hunched. I felt sorry for myself, at the mercy of a (self-imposed) schedule and my children’s social lives (which of course they wouldn’t have if I didn’t arrange them). My day – this summer day – was not enjoyable. It was tiring.
In between errands, an old friend called. I pulled the car over to the side of the road and let myself be present for our conversation. Her voice is like a warm cup of tea. Chamomile, to be precise. She was on her way into work on a grueling overnight shift where she is nurse to children who have little or no hope of surviving and/or having any quality of life whatsoever.
There’s that perspective. Suddenly I forgot all about my to-do list.
Talking to her grounded me. As I sat there on the side of the road, I called more friends. Listened to their stories. Heard pain in their voices, sharp inhales as they spoke. A child struggling socially. A husband on the verge of a layoff. A loved one who just had a biopsy. Waiting to hear is the worst.
When I finally set the phone down my heart was heavy, but not for myself. And then I picked up my youngest daughter, who was grumpy and grouched at me until I pulled the car over. And calmly (this time) told her to knock it off. A bit later, the nighttime routine of dinner and cleaning the kitchen left me weary and exhausted. My daughter stood at the window, hands pressed against the glass, and asked me to go for a bike ride. She was excited to have time alone with me, since her sister was off on a sleepover.
The sun was setting, leaving behind a pastel sky. The air had cooled and the streets were quiet. I watched her little body ahead of mine, her skinny legs pumping as she raced me. Always beating me despite my long legs and larger wheels. We counted bunnies and saw ducks and geese. And when we got back home she asked if she could have just a few more minutes on the bike. I suggested we take another loop. It was an idyllic, sweet, pure moment. And it was the nicest part of my day. My daughter’s ridiculously contagious smile lifted me, her big eyes bright and shining as we rode off once again.
Perspective. Everything is just fine.