It's been a "dry year" at MGM. Many of those that used to follow me faithfully over the years have gotten bored with the chirping crickets here. There are a variety of reasons why things have changed at MGM. The most obvious one is that time has been so limited. My "career by a thread" became much busier than I planned or expected. Then I stumbled into a disaster just over a year ago, which I have eluded to, but cannot--for a variety of reasons--describe in this venue. Not that I could find the words anyway. This "wrong turn" pretty much swallowed me for more than twelve solid months. Add to that the demands of homeschooling an extremely precocious child and her little brother, not far behind her. Then I launched my own private clinical practice last spring. Because I contract with more than a dozen private insurances, each of them requiring me to re-invent the wheel of establishing a partnership to provide services for their members, this has been no small feat. Providing for insurances, including the claim filing and bookkeeping involved, is exhausting. In short, the stress of the past stretch of life has pretty much zapped my joy, energy, time, attitude, and creativity. It's been pure survival!
Somewhere on the path of almost completely losing myself and feeling so swallowed up that I didn't know if I'd ever discover myself again, I have just recently begun to feel "resurrected." Glimpses of myself that I haven't seen for a year and few months are surfacing. I find myself able to enjoy my children every day the way I used to, and I try not to dwell on feelings of anger or resentment at how the past year and few months have been robbed out from under me and my family.
Yesterday, Dear Daughter set up a "tea party" and invited her little brother and I and the two Boston Terriers that live here to the party. The tea party morphed into a birthday party for Baby (the recent doggie addition to our home). I thoroughly enjoyed the act of playing this out with the kids, complete with birthday cake and song. Yes, we all three sang Happy Birthday to Baby at the tops of our lungs while Baby sat nervously in my lap. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that after the wee ones quit singing, I went on at the top of my lungs in my most obnoxious voice and as much off-pitch as possible. Baby so enjoyed it that she began to howl in her little soprano doggie voice. Thoroughly amused by her little quivering chin as she thrust her head to the sky and yowled along with me, I pressed on in competition with her. Cooper sidled up to my knees and lifted his little chin to the Heavens as well and began to howl along in his more tenor-ish voice. I apparently enjoyed these moments of howling with the dogs so thoroughly that I paid little mind to the fact that my children had covered their ears with their hands and were making horrified faces at their mother who had fallen off her rocker. In fact, Dear Daughter decided to practice her safety lesson of a few weeks ago and picked up her toy phone and announced she was calling "9-1-1." I quieted enough to hear what she was going to say. "Yes, hello!" she said to the imaginary emergency response person at the other end. "Please send an ambulance for my mommy! She's gone whack-a-doodle and needs to get to the hospital."
Yes, as backwards and ironic as it may sound, when the kids think their mommy is insane it means things are actually returning to normal.
Not only am I enjoying howling with the dogs, but I can once again find joy and humor in the little things of life. Like when Dear Son climbed into bed in the wee morning hours a couple days ago and did his wiggly jiggly thing that shakes the bed and shakes me awake. I try, in these moments, to stay still with my eyes closed and not let myself be awakened by whatever he is up to. It's pure denial as I try to gather a few more moments of sleep, lest I allow full consciousness to leave me wide awake for the day. Finally, realizing that I could not deny myself back to sleep, I gave up and opened my eyes. The wiggling and jiggling was not subsiding and something lumpy was being shoved under my pillow. I saw my dear boy child looking back at me, his bare feet shoved under my pillow. "What ARE you doing?" I inquired with irritation. "My feet are cold!" he responded matter-of-factly. Of course they are. Dear Husband put the boy child to bed without socks the previous night, despite the fact that the lows for the night reached somewhere around the freezing point, and despite the fact that I requested that the husband would put socks on the child's feet. I'm pretty sure the husband also neglected to put the extra blanket on the boy child's bed. And now he was shoving his very cold, naked feet under MY pillow at the crack of dawn! Of course I could not stay irritated at the child who stared back at me with his yellow curls in a frizzed mess and a combination of a shy-impish grin and incredulousness on his face that I would not find this act of shoving his feet under my pillow completely appropriate and understandable.
These are the things that have escaped the past year. Some of them I'm sure I didn't even notice. Others may have been noticed in the moment, but lost in the sea of stress and left to float for all eternity in some vast pergatory where all the missing pieces of my life go during periods of great stress. I hope one day when I find my eternal resting place I will be able to gather all these pieces back to myself and set them in their proper places in my memory. At minimum, these are the things that I had no time or energy to find joy in over the past year and few months, let alone blog about.
Yes, after a year and a few months of previously unknown levels of stress and exhaustion, it feels good to once again be aware of the small joys in each day, and in my enjoyment of them to re-discover my old "whack-a-doodle" self.