I read that without a clear image of what it is that you want, where you are headed, there is little chance of getting there and doing what you want. So, ask and you will receive, but ya’ gotta’ know what to ask for. You need to ask! You need to know. At the same time, asking doesn’t mean living in the future where the asked for is received, or in the past where the request may have come from. Present in the present. This is what has been jangling around in my head for a few days. Sometime it is perfectly clear, sometimes it is utterly confusing.
Julia is sick. Sicker than she has ever been. It started as a cold three weeks ago, then relented some and then last weekend it became worse again. I kept her home from school on Wednesday and saw the doc. He guessed a sinus -- guessed because her sinuses were not painful at all -- and started her on antibiotics. By Thursday, her sinuses were painful and she complained of a headache. By Thursday late morning, she seemed to be feeling better and there was an activity at school related to the school talent show that Julia didn’t want to miss. She swore that she was feeling better and so we packed up a lunch and I drove her to school. She really did seem like she was okay. I left, she went into the lunch room and opened her lunch, and put her head on the table and said she was too tired to eat. I got the call less than two miles from the school and turned the car around and headed back. I think she may have had the shortest school day on record!
It was a bit embarrassing picking her up -- bad mother! Can’t even tell when her kid is really sick. She came home and took a two-hour nap, and was pretty slow for the rest of the evening, AND went to bed on time. Yes, Julia is sick. Actually, I kept her home on Thursday because during our strong sitting, she was perfectly still. Meditating in perfect stillness -- yea, the aim, but never the practice around here. She was really too still to get on the school bus.
It is now after 9 in the morning on Friday and she is not up yet. Yes, she is sick. Hopefully, a quiet weekend and drugs will get her better.
The shame of it is that school ends next Tuesday and these last days are all about partying and fun! Today, there is a picnic/field trip and the class will be outside exploring all day. These are also her first sick days this year.
On the positive side, Julia being stuck at home, slows me down. I have been over-extending my moving about at the beginning of the week, but with Julia sick, I hang out with her, reading while she sleeps and watching movies when she is awake. We are slowly cleaning the play room, to ready it for the summer. Something that I would have done in a day or so myself is taking three or four days. Julia hates when I throw anything away -- used notebooks, filled workbooks, little reading books that she brought from school a year ago. Some of it I have to let her save -- how do you stop a kid from saving books no matter their future use or value? Reorganizing is always good for finding lost treasures.
We also took down everything decorating the walls in that room with the idea of putting up new stuff. Julia has been coloring this year and drawing in notebooks so there is not much to put up these days. I love decorating that room with Julia’s work and themes of our work. We have to talk about what will go on the walls this summer. Maybe we need a trip to the craft store and/or the dollar store for ideas.
Looking back to 2010, which I have been doing lately, finally able to read what I wrote in the days leading up to David’s death, it is amazing how far Julia has come. I was still writing about Julia memorizing Dr. Suess books and just about two years ago, I wrote that Julia used a number in casual conversation for the first time. This summer we will be reading simple chapter books and working on addition/subtraction facts. I didn’t even know that we would get this far. We will also be doing more work on time, money, and learning her address and phone number. There are plans to work on a map of our neighborhood -- and that may be something to use as a decorating theme. Julia wants to take pictures. I have an old point and shoot, and her ipad will also be able to take pictures. Maybe, maybe!!
We had a potentially busy day yesterday that was cancelled, and today, I was supposed to interview at Waisman. I’ve wanted that interview and I was sure that I wouldn’t get it. When it came through on Tuesday, I was guardedly excited. I hated canceling but everyone that I know -- yes, everyone! -- is busy today. After calling a few people and brainstorming with Amy, I decided resolutely to reschedule the interview. I also decided last night, to surrender all apprehensive feelings about my project being rejected. There it is, living in the past and future and ignoring the present! I am going to get to talk to these wonderful experts about figuring out how I fit into the world of scientists, teachers, and therapists. Mary said this to me -- I get to talk to all these smart people! And I do! Whether my project gets accepted or not, I will learn something by just talking. When I interviewed at Wiasman in 2010, it was weeks after the heart transplant. David was recovering and life was looking very sweet indeed. The LEND program felt like a desert after a big meal, and although I was highly stressed, I think I was jubilant during my interview. During the year that I did LEND, the work became a lifeline that held me together. In one sense, I have no idea how I appeared during that year. I know that I was more open and ready to share my experience with Julia and more willing to share my opinion about almost anything. I did not have to talk about David, heart transplants, death and grieving there. When asked, I told people about David but I didn’t share much about my dark days. I needed the Waisman Center and LEND to be a refuge. I am in another place now, I am grateful and excited to be able to share my ideas. I would like that community to become my work community -- or at least train me to have a similar work community. It is a lot to ask -- to learn and work in a place and with people with whom I do not belong by any conventional standard apart from my passion. Is passion a qualifier? Oh, I hope so.
And so, back to the beginning. Knowing what I want and living in the present.
First though, a few weeks back -- maybe two -- when I was sure that I would be getting a form rejection from Waisman (of course, that is still a possibility) and I moaned about what my next step would be, I was able to let the Waisman project go. I consigned it to the universe. I left it in the hands of god. I let the door close and waited for the windows to open. I doubted that anything would happen but it only took days for other opportunities to appear -- working with the Autism Society, a school project about bullying, a short course on yoga for kids on the spectrum, and a note from someone doing mindfulness training. So, i know that the universe doesn’t revolve around me, but it was like something bigger storming me with comfort, possibilities and comfort. I felt truly blessed. Had I not been able to let go of the potential rejection, had I dug myself in on the idea that Waisman was the only option that I wanted, would I have recognized the blessings. Really, I think not. For moments, I was able to live as I want -- alive and in the present. Oh, to have the right stuff to live that way every day!
Now, I am almost written out, and I didn’t muse directly about asking for what I want or living in the present. I woke up a few nights ago and wrote: I want to live with Lisa and do something with her. I want to also have a bedroom in Cheshire’s apartment to use one week a month. Now, I look at these two statements and wonder. “do something”? “a room in Cheshire’s apartment”? “a week a month”? I know when I wrote this down, my idea was very clear, and now, I cannot capture the idea. What was I thinking about?
A commenter wrote that she was able to understand her widowed mother’s desire for a new relationship, in part, because of what I had written. I would have written this next bit after the comment but I never know whether anyone checks back to comments to see if I replied. It was so sweet to read those words. Thank you. I had so little understanding of the widow’s experience before David died that I am almost ashamed of myself. But I had no way of wrapping my head around the pain that grieving brings. How to imagine the impossible before it happens. How to imagine the emptiness that rents the soul after a good relationship ends. Again, thank you.
I’ve been writing this all day. It is after supper now - early meal of rice noodles, sesame dressing and raw vegetables. There are cookies -- home made frozen dough balls from the freezer -- in the toaster oven. Julia is reading a Judy Moody book. She answers the comprehension questions I put at the bottom of each page on little sticky notes (reading teacher advice). She starts her summer reading journal tonight with a picture and sentence about the chapter. Then we will walk the dog and eat our cookies while we watch Ponyo. Sick as she is, I take such pleasure in having Julia to myself. I take pleasure in this slow, sweet day. Next week will be time enough for diving into the fray.