There’s a light at each end of this tunnel
You shout ’cause you’re just as far in
as you’ll ever be out.
But you can’t jump the track,
we’re like cars on a cable
And life’s like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button boys (girls)
so cradle your head in your hands
Love the lyrics to this song by Anna Nalick, especially the two little words…just breathe. I did a lot of breathing on my recent sojourn with my college age daughter this past week and what I have written as a result of taking a step back to breathe is raw, deep and revealing. There is meaning for this, which I will reveal gradually so I apologize in advance for my wordiness.
Kelsey, upon realizing that she needed to “just breathe”, had decided that she did not want to follow in her mom’s footsteps and sleep in a luggage rack on an Amtrack train bound for Fort Lauderdale for her Spring Break. She called me and asked if she and I could go away for a bit during her break. I was both ecstatic over those words and a bit freaked out for I was chin deep into my busy spring season, both personally and professionally. I went with the ecstatic feeling because Kelsey and I have never gotten away just mother and daughter. We actually in fact, have had very little “just us” time over the almost twenty years of her life. With one brother ahead of her and three behind, almost everything has been done with the masses, so to speak. That did not include many shopping excursions, manis, pedis, or just “girl stuff”.
Now the freak out part kicks in. How could I possibly escape “the masses” in the middle of everything that life life has going on for me? (As one friend likes to put it, “You have a very full life.”)
That was just it! “
Everything life has going on for me! (Hold that thought…)
Yes, life is full, life is busy, life can be difficult. As I mom, it often feels like how would everybody’s life go on with out me?( I mean really, they don’t even know where to find the mayo when they open the fridge door.) All kidding aside, we really do feel like we are the glue that holds things together. Add to that any trials or tribulations that life throws at us and we are often overwhelmed. Actually, how many of us feel like we are in a constant state of overwhelm-ment? (I know that is not a real word but it fits what I am trying to say, so go with it.)
To be perfectly honest with you, I have been overwhelmed lately and wound as tight as a top. I had followed my passion and started Life’s Patina. Loving every minute of it, I had come to the realization that with following my #1 passion, my family… my #2 passion, Life’s Patina, took second fiddle to the trials and tribulations that my family was experiencing. Shane’s illness, going on three years now, has culminated in taking me to the point of tears almost daily. As I see each opportunity slip past him in these formative teenage years and I mourn all that he is unable to do as a 17 almost 18 year old man, the frustration has become overwhelming. As a mother, when we see our kids hurt, we hurt.
My oldest son is a very talented, wears his emotions on his sleeve, interest laden, tough as nails yet huge hearted, struggles daily with his learning differences and ADHD, 21 year old man trying to find his path in this world. He is hurting, I am hurting…we all feel the pain and frustration. Families are inextricably bound together. Some like that fact, some don’t…but we are. I tell my kids all the time, “There are enough people in this world who will want to knock you down, you need to build each other up.” So we try to build each other up.
This is not meant to be a pity party…far from it. I am writing this because it is real life. Everything in our blogs is supposed to be visual to catch interest…pretty stuff. It is meant to uplift the senses and I believe in that. Beauty elevates us, makes us feel good, sometimes we want to wallow in it but all too often there are parts of our lives that are not beautiful. There are struggles that we wrestle with, each and every one of us. The ones with the air for creativity that makes everything they touch look beautiful, the ones who cook unbelievable meals of sustenance for their families on a daily basis, the ones who take staggering photos of this world, the ones with beautiful houses, beautiful families. You know where I am going with this. The world is not perfect, we are not perfect. If I can air some of my struggles and give word to them, it not only helps me but I am hoping others as well. Our struggles may be different but they are all the same in many respects. They humanize us.
So…I am human and along with my struggles there are blessings as well…in the form of a loving husband and in-laws who would hold down the fort in my absence. Off to Mexico I went with my daughter for a 3 night blissful rejuvenation. (Yes, it is a long way to go for 3 nights but you can get some great deals in Mexico and anything warm stateside was already booked with tan seeking young spring breakers).
Here, there was nothing else to do but relax and …just breathe! All would not fall apart at home with my absence. There were loving members of the family there to pitch in and partake in the two plus hours that it takes to wake Shane and try to get him into school daily. They would help Christopher look at his life differently and maybe shed some light on a path? The younger ones would be motivated by new blood and a changing of the guard to get their work done? Wishful thinking…but I was removed from all so let me believe what I want to believe! I could just breath and have meaningful conversations with my daughter and write. I have to divulge something else to you and that is that I am not a good sitter, beach or no beach. While breathing and sitting, I had to do something else. It is who I am. It is who I long to be for years to come. I am thankful to be able to DO! I am thankful to be here, rain and all. (Of course being that I am a Murphy, it was overcast the first day and rained the second)
Life gives you moments…seize them, reinvent them, make them a cause for celebration. I have a few suggestions below on how to reinvent moments that might not go exactly as you planned:
1. When it rains while in Mexico you can eat…
and eat some more (we were at an all inclusive for goodness sake! Blessing)
2. You can sit on the beach under an umbrella in the rain and read.
I thought it so fitting that as I looked down at my beach chair, where I had just set my magazine down I noticed the beautiful cover and said, “I am going to take a picture of that.”
Notice any phrases as you look at this picture? The title, Living and
then the caption Short and Sweet popped out at me as I was focusing in on the cover.
Loved the How to Get Big Impact as Well! Talk about a sign!!!
It is short and it is sweet. We all know that, yet we often loose sight of it. I have a friend who is battling Stage 4 Lung Cancer right now, another friend who just buried her mother and numerous other friends and acquaintances who are looking that sentiment in the face. It might not be us, right at this moment but it will be at times in our short and sweet lives. How are we going to make a big impact?
What this trip really did for me was to “remove me from the moment”, it let me look at things from afar, where once removed, I could find my blessings a little more easily. I am not saying that you have to go to Mexico…go to lunch, get away for one night with whoever will enable you to do that, leave your kids with a neighbor, stop making excuses why you cannot be “off duty” and remove yourself from those struggles. They will not seem so big. Yes, they will still be there when you get back but you might be better able to look at them for what they are.
3. When all else fails and it rains in Mexico you can get in a wet suite and go geiger counting.
(Sorry, had to show this for we continuously saw this man in a wet suite doing what he obviously loved!)
I will circle back to what I said in the beginning of my meanderings that helped me decide to go on this trip, everything that life has going on for me. My great friend and business partner in Life’s Patina just had a tattoo of the word Breathe emblazoned on her wrist (actually it is under her watch band but that sounded better). Here she can look at it when she needs a reminder to breathe…not the actual physical act but the slowing down of ones thoughts and actions, the slowing down of our busy lives. We need to take the time to step back and look at our lives in ALL their glory. Life has SO much going on for us!
One word of caution, take a look at YOUR life, not everybody else’s life that we are constantly bombarded with via modern technology. Find the blessings…they might be hidden at times…but they are there.
I am pledging to step back and put a different slant on my life. I cannot change what is…I can just move forward, try to smile more and to stop internalizing everything that happens beyond my control. You can pledge to do the same. We are all trying our hardest at this game of life. We will succeed at some things and not at others.
After all, the sun will come back out again…
as it did in Mexico!