Yes, that’s me. Reticent and uncomfortable posing for a picture, after being soaked in sweat and my long hair stuck to me. While many of my friends were photogenic, I was always the Plain Jane. By the way, my maiden name is De Leon, contrary to what the yearbook editors published.
I bought some Echinacea flowers, adorned them in a vase and now I admire them as I write this. My fondness for flowers is new. I didn’t have an appreciation for them prior to the day my son bought me roses for the first time and I took pleasure in their bold red color and relished in my son’s felicity at surprising me. I found joy in the eyes of my son.
Ishaan and I celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday by drawing a picture of The Cat In The Hat. We then taped it up on his art wall. Our hearts were happy.
I struggled through the holidays, trying to savor the time of the year I love, Christmas and Ishaan’s birthday, desperate to find myself in it, but there were too many heartaches and changes. And as the new year rang, I still couldn’t find myself. The challenges I continued to face and unexpected obstacles are difficult to reconcile with. Is my narrative that much different than other moms? Other women? Am I indefinitely lost? Or will there come a moment where I will find my old joys again?
I started running this week. And I felt extraordinary. Halfway through I was reminded of my old Coach, Coach Long and I heard his voice, “Pick up those legs! Pick them up!” After I would complete a lap he would say, “Long Legs, you can do this. Come on! Pick up them legs!” He taught me to run in perfect form. I haven’t forgotten Coach Long. Would you be proud?
I dropped off my son at school, as I always do. We hugged and kissed. Said goodbye and as I turned around to leave I heard, “Mami! Wait!” And he runs up to me, wraps his arms around me and gives me another hug and kiss. “Mom, I’ll miss you,” he says. To which I always respond, “I’ll miss you too. But remember I live in your..” “Heart,” he responds. “And you live in my,” “Heart,” he responds again. Magical.
I listen to music while I run. The combination of running and music allows me to go inward. Some days the reality is like a paper cut and other days it’s like one of the greatest diasporas of my life. The changes I have encountered in the past 8 months I hope they are signs of maturity, wisdom gained and greater things to come. For now, I’m just meandering through what I have at such a time like this. Unclenching my fists. Unfurling my arms and heart. I need to remain open.
If my life is currently filled with uncertainties, then how will I ever define myself? I wish there was a reset button.
After my run I pass my son’s school and enter the threshold of silence, other times I enter the instability of my mind and that is haunting.
I went and got a foot massage. The reflexology technique put me to sleep! I fell into such a deep slumber, the nice young lady had to give me a nudge to wake me up. I didn’t want to leave. I reveled in the stillness. (I miss yoga)
When I got home I turned on my favorite candle and played my favorite Norah Jones album. The one my mom calls “elevator music.” I dried brushed my skin, added Epsom salt to my bath (my feet were sore), let go of my braid and watched the beautiful soft curls unravel. Old joys.
My best friend, my heart’s delight called.
Today I spent most of the afternoon writing, drinking chamomile tea in bed and listening to Tapas and Ishaan playing cricket. Their laughter, their occasional, “I love yous,” complete me.
I started taking an additional five minutes to open my eyes in the morning because for heaven’s sake! And I do try to carpe diem the day, but not always. If seizing the day means me being at my most unproductive, watching my Spanish Novelas, and still in my pajamas, then yes to living for today.
Timidity. Anxiety. Hesitant. Reluctant. I’m screaming inside, but I intend on taking it slower. Are you with me?
I have a lot of recovering to do, but little by little old joys come back to me. I just have to remain open to them. And their magic.