Monday, August 15, 2016

Maintenance

(we had friends over last Friday. I bought dough and toppings and each couple made their own pizza to share with the group)

When I start writing I always get really thirsty. I wonder why that is... 
Maybe it’s because all the words inside of me are trying to live, so they gather up all they can.

I like to imagine this life where I have all these deep thoughts all day long, but usually it’s just random bits like how I love that old donut shop down the street even though I never visit it and that I need to buy Scott a sturdier pillow so he stops snoring.

I've been thinking about how much maintenance everything requires lately. Relationships, appliances, gardens, photo collections, houses, babies, babies, babies.


I did manage to grow two worm-free tomatoes this year and brought my strawberry plant back to life. Last week I cleaned out the entire hall closet. It took me two days and two trips to Target to get it just how I want, but there are a lot less vases and party napkins and charging cords now and the photo albums are all in order.

I went to a therapist earlier this week. The head kind, even though I should see the physical kind because I’m pretty sure I sprained my ankle skating last week.

I almost cancelled the appointment because I’ve been feeling like everything has been fine lately. But then, I thought I might as well go since it would have been rude to cancel so last minute and at the very moment I’d be sitting in the therapist’s office (she doesn’t have a couch you lay on), Maddie would be getting another colonoscopy since she had blood in her stool again and had to go back “stat”, they said.

I told the therapist that we’ve been doing great and how we’ve been seeing a bunch of friends and family over the summer and every time we do I laugh a bunch and cook a little and feel really proud of Avalon. I told her about the river and how it reminded me how to believe in God. I could tell she was trying to wrap things up so I started eyeing how many vegetable-dyed Annie’s Animal Crackers I was going to have to pick out of her carpet before Avalon and I left, and then all of a sudden, I felt compelled to bring up that I’d been having a few more glasses of wine after dinner than usual, that I yelled at three strangers last week, and that I am having a harder time accepting my body than usual.

I went home with a link to some guided meditations and a clear conscience, although it took until I actually did something about any of it to feel better. I'm not holding onto anything that isn't helping me anymore, I decided, so I cleaned out my mind just like I cleaned out that hall closet.

Maddie’s colonoscopy came back totally normal an hour after that. I got on my knees and thanked God. That night and Thursday I had no glasses of wine and went surfing instead. I will not call another old lady a "cutter!" while waiting in line at Goodwill.

The next day we went to lunch with a friend whose baby is due any day now. Another mom who was there with her baby kept inching closer to us and randomly contributing to our conversation so we made an extra effort to include her and talk about her daughter’s pretty eyes. Once you’ve been lonely, you never forget what it looks like.

I took Avalon to the store today and put her in the shopping cart. I’m not a germaphobe. When I tell people this, I usually follow it with the example that I barely ever used to wash my hands after I went #1 in the bathroom until after I graduated college. But despite my best deliveries, this fact is never as well received as I expect. I haven’t worried about putting Avalon in the shopping cart because of germs (you can wipe the carts off), I just love carrying her. When I told a chiropractor I was still carrying around a 13 month old in a front-pack she could not believe it. She had a way of asking me questions about it so as not to sound too controlling: But what about a stroller? And shopping carts? Which I appreciated, but mostly didn’t listen to. Last night I wore Avalon in the carrier the whole time I was making dinner because my carpal tunnel is worse than my back and she was just in a hold me! kind of mood that I can't help but love. But I let the shopping cart help me out today. I guess the chiropractor is a kind of therapist too.

And then I think, maintenance is another form of love and we all need it.

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13 comments:

  1. I miss building sandcastles.

    http://lizziedailyblog.blogspot.co.uk/

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    Replies
    1. I forgot how fun it can be too. I love building them right by the shoreline to see how long they last! :)

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  2. I remember carrying my littlest boy around for ages and all of the time. He just liked it. And he's still a cuddly little chap. So very glad that Maddie's results were good. Clearing stuff out is good. I always feel so much better afterwards. In fact I should write some decluttering things on my to-do list, you have reminded me. Hope you have a good week. CJ xx

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    Replies
    1. CJ, your tip about the tomato "food" saved my strawberries! Thank you! Glad to hear I am not the only one who is semi-attached to having a child at the hip. I'm sure there's plenty of us.

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  3. I should put Gracie in the Ergo more often. She's been more clingy the past month than she's ever been and I've been slowly losing my mind. I think it would be good for us both.

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    1. Yeah, it might not be great for your back, but mind > spine.

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  4. I love the way you write. You take me back to those early years with Mike and Tim and then I have to fast forward to the present. It's funny how you took Avalon to the store yesterday, and I took Tim to Costco, college shopping. He doesn't fit in the cart anymore, but now he picks up random items, like a Dyson hand held vacuum, and pretends it's a light saber. (Did I mention he's 3 weeks from 19 years old?) Do you know how many other people picked up that Dyson? UGH! I envy the "hold me!" mood. As Tim gets ready to go to college, I think there may be a "hold me!" (figuratively, not literally) in there too. He's moody, anxious and needs to see his 'therapist' - his saxophone teacher - for some life coaching. I made him schedule a lesson (session) for Thursday before we leave for a wedding in Maine.

    Your decluttering, cleaning out analogy between the hall closet and your mind is spot on! I've been cleaning out cabinets in the bathroom, food out of the fridge, clothes out of my closet - I feel like I'm practicing saying good bye. I will need the therapist when he leaves.

    I am so happy that Maddie's colonoscopy was clean. The relief is immeasurable. She is always in my prayers.

    As always, thank you for your thoughts. They touch me in so many ways.

    Switch to seltzer with lemon and lime for your evening refreshment! No calories and no foggy head the next day! I put mine in a wine glass and I can have as many as I want!

    Life is full of transition and maintenance. Maintain the course! You're doing great!

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    1. Gayle, I love the way youwrite. It's so interesting hearing about Mike's life from your perspective. I like the idea of our lives overlapping too. Tim sounds like a really cool person too. Thank you for being so open and honest with me about your experience as a mother. This week has been particularly hard with Avalon having a few of her first meltdowns, so I appreciate your wisdom and hindsight so I can focus on the bigger picture and cherish this time we have together while she's still so small.

      p.s. thanks for the tip about the seltzer water and lemon! It sounds so refreshing in this heat!
      Love,
      Devon

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    2. Devon - I guess I WAS practicing saying goodbye. Mike and Lindsey flew over for a family wedding in Maine this past weekend and I had to say goodbye when we dropped them off at the airport shuttle. Tears aplenty - let me tell you! And I have to say goodbye to Tim this weekend. I didn't realize when I was decluttering, I really was practicing saying goodbye. So, I can relate to your difficult week, but I'm the one with the meltdowns.

      Being a mom is absolutely the most amazing 'job' I've ever had and I love EVERY minute, but these goodbyes are so hard. I'm not as strong as I had hoped, but I will get better.

      Hold Avalon, hug her, kiss her, watch her, talk to her, read to her, hold her hand, listen to her laugh, wipe her tears and just know no one will ever love her as much as you do. Because you're her mom.

      Talk to you soon!

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  5. What a nice Article! Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Dev, I once ended up in the ER because I was convinced I was dying. It was anxiety. They suggested I see a therapist. I groaned at the idea but figured I wasn't in the strongest position to argue. So I went. After listening to the mind numbing chatter of the receptionist area, and not being able to take my eyes off the the therapist's long dirty nails, I left. I rolled down my windows, stuck my head out and drove away while telling myself, "I've allowed myself to believe in my weaknesses and not in my strengths". I'm only sharing my experience. Everyone's are different. Not judging, just sharing. After relying on myself and allowing time to think, try, and learn, I almost never have anxiety (it had been 3 years of EVERY night attacks). This part will likely sound unrelated...I don't think you like being NOT in control. Especially when humans are involved. But you don't like yourself when you bark at strangers. Part of you is slightly amused..at least when you were younger. It is constant work to find where to believe in strength, when to get a nudge, what true control looks and feels like. You're right, it is about maintaining what you've worked on becoming, and promising yourself you'll allow yourself to evolve...be it your own way. I love your words, your mind. I hope you have a sense of me by now through our exchanges that you can hear how this is supposed to sound (typed words can be hard for me vs. spoken). Lots of love ~Andrea

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  7. I'm just now catching up on some of your writings, and wow. Again, I would read your book, if you had one. I know this space is kinda like reading a book, but you know what I mean. It's hard to put into words how awesome your words are. They make me feel so inspired, even when you are writing about every day life, you have a way of making it seem that every day needs to be appreciated. I'm probably not making any sense because it's hard for me to put into words the way I feel after reading your writing. "I'm not holding onto anything that isn't helping me anymore, I decided, so I cleaned out my mind just like I cleaned out that hall closet." -Perfect. I needed to hear that.
    On a side note- The shortness of breath I had when reading about Maddie's colonoscopy and then the relief and joy I felt when hearing it was clear, was breathtaking, so I can only imagine what that moment felt like for you. Again, I don't personally know you, but it doesn't change the fact that I'm so proud of you. Thank you for facing your fears, and writing about life the way you do, it makes me feel more connected to mine, and just all around joy. :)
    xo,
    Miranda

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  8. Maintenance... that's a perfect way to think of life... and the need to care for ourselves and all that is around us. I love the way you write. And the way you think... and your honesty. I am so happy your sister got a positive review with her appointment and that while you thought you were OK you still took time to take care of yourself mentally. I think we all forget that it's so important to care for ourselves to help care for others.

    PS You are the most active new mother I know. You are the only mamma I know that skates, surfs AND carries her little bit - I think it's amazing!!! oxox

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