Count My Blessings
For so many years my purpose was clear: wife, mother, professor, director, therapist. I knew my roles and they gave my life structure.
Then you left me Rex. You promised you’d always be there, but you died. I couldn’t even connect with you while you were so sick. I was scared and caring for you took all my energy and I had to protect myself so I wouldn’t fall apart.
I have so many wonderful things in my life, yet I am paralyzed by fear. My foot hurts–is it bone cancer? If I drive too fast will someone sideswipe me and leave me in a pile on the side of the road? Irrational fears, but they keep me from moving forward.
This past week I had so much fun. And the second I walked back into my home it evaporated like so much hot air. On Sunday morning I babysat my son’s 4 kids, ages 6 to 14. Don’t tell my daughter, but Jason’s 9 year old Ayden, is my FAV. She started talking to me the second I walked in and didn’t stop until 4 hours later when my daughter-in-law came home. Ayden still wasn’t done, so we took orders and walked to Baskin Robbins so we could bring back ice cream for all the other kids. She is such a joy, and she’ll be at my house for Thanksgiving with my 5 other grandkids.
My son is a mensch, but he’s very busy and doesn’t call me often. He answers almost immediately whenever I text him and is always engaging when I’m at his house. Yet weeks can go by without him initiating contact. So Thursday, after listening to a client talk about why her grown son doesn’t call, I thought about Jason. I sent him a text: “It would mean so much to me if you could call me once a week.” His text back simply said, “OK.” I was on my way to the market so I didn’t have time to obsess about his response.
I got home, sat on the sofa with my puppy and vegged out in front of the TV. And then my phone rang–the screen said Jason–I picked it up. “I know you’re busy,” I said apologetically, “but sometimes I get so lonely.” “I know,” he said. He told me about his stint as Scholar in Residence the past week-end, and I told him how much fun I had babysitting for the kids. “Kayla is really starting to take school seriously, now that she’s in high school,” he said. “Yes, I noticed a change in her attitude,” I answered. “And that sweet Aydenie has become such a delight. Remember when she was in pre-school and wouldn’t listen to anyone? I remember you saying you felt sorry for her future husband.” We both laughed, and then I thanked him before ending the call. Yes, I asked for what I needed and believe it or not it was given to me!
This morning my daughter started texting me at 7:15 in the morning, we’re going to the theatre together tomorrow. ”
Eric is playing poker tomorrow night, so why don’t you stay for dinner after the show and keep me company? Or maybe we can go out to eat with the kids.” “Either way, is fine” I texted back. Then she called. “I just told the kids and they’re so excited you’re coming for dinner.” I know it is 43 miles to her house in Costa Mesa, but after a conversation like that, it is more than worth it.
Life is challenging for me these days, but easier when I appreciate what I have. I know my roles, but I’m still redefining my purpose. I can make it through the difficult days, when I just remember to take my time and count my blessings.
November 26, 2018