Sitting on little Jen’s wee wicker loveseat in her tiny Belltown apartment I had a most conscious moment of Rightness. The summer evening air on my bare arms felt just so. Cool-warm. It carried a scent, delightful and delicious. Baking flowers? My mind was calm, my body was completely at ease and the company was . . . little Jen.
I closed my eyes as I stayed with the moment in the way you might with something rare and fleeting like a hummingbird or a fawn - where you just happen to notice, without a gasp to frighten it away, and can remain still and observant until the deer startles or the bird darts out of sight. Or your knee starts to itch.
Here’s my beef with those moments: too rare, too fleet. Why you gotta fleet so fast, Peaceful Perfection? I’ll admit, I’m high maintenance, even to myself. I always bring layers for temperature regulation. There are only two chairs I like at my favorite coffee shop, and one table. Those chairs are never at that table. Popcorn is a waste of time without the right kind of dark chocolate and both are useless without a not-too-sweetened carbonated beverage.
These are creature comforts though and somewhat controllable. What really keeps me from experiencing my entire life as perfect is my brain. There is absolutely nothing wrong with my life. Everything is right. I have love, friends, family, health, time and money. So how is it there’s no shortage of things to bitch, moan, gripe and complain about?
All I can figure is programming. For longer than things have been great, things were hard. Time-wise, they’ll soon be leveling out. So, during formative times, things were hard. Jesus, this is exactly what scares the pellets out of me about parenting. No matter what else, I can do things to these people in these years that will subconsciously influence their feelings and reactions for . . . ever?
I honestly thought that by the time I was forty I would be over all that developmental damage and the livin’ would be easy. I’m forty-one and, in the past year, I’ve been re-nailed with such a rash of ancient dung. It actually made me mad. You mean I get to have arthritis AND get debilitatingly sad that my mommy left me? It came out of the blue around Christmas time and when I realized what was going on - why I had such an acute case of dead inside, I was at first relieved, then annoyed and then angry. Get over it. Just think what it would’ve been like if she’d stuck around. Then you’d really have something to cry about.
I realize it’s not that simple. This is a new round, new layers of old crap awakened by having a daughter the age I was when my mother left and the tough really got going. I am more patient and understanding of my brain now. I am navigating and studying, striving, failing and succeeding. My work each day, each moment, is to prevent permanent marring in the hearts, psyches and spirits of two little humans. My work, at times, is to teach and inspire confidence (I’ll be pulling that one straight out of my hiner), to nurture curiosity, quell fears and cultivate peace. That last one has already been so well botched that I’ve created another job where I have to repair the business that I, myself, have mussed up. Son-of-a-mother-suck-wad.
Thank you, Guiding Stars, for landing me in a place where I have room to feel and grow. I want to do right by these guys and, I confess, it’s a disheartening surprise that I have to raise my tiny self up at the same time. I can swing it though. I discovered a massive power within when I pushed those people out, so I know it’s there. Along with being the mother of internal and external children, I accept the challenge to retrain my brain. With proper exercise the muscles that perceive and take long joy rides on moments of simple sweetness can get frighteningly buff. Those moments are flitting around willy-nilly all the time.
Uh. Hold up.
I’m in that coffee shop, on that chair, at that table. I just ate my favorite pastry with the most delightful cup of tea. I’m warm. I’m learning to write things down and making my fears insecure by pretending I can’t hear them.
I can’t find a single thing wrong with right now.