There are times when I really question myself. What am I doing? Where am I going? What kind of mother am I? Is this the right way to make play dough? Does my dog need Prozac? Do I? This week, OK, for the past few weeks I find that my mental arrow is pointing to the “frazzled” category. I look around at the clumps of dog hair hanging from every nook and cranny and wonder when the H-E-L-L we are ever going to finish painting our house.
Every so often I will have these moments and with decaf in hand I will stop, breathe and look around. I force myself to take in my surroundings, to enjoy the trees and smell the fresh air. But most importantly to stop and see my beautiful son who is usually standing in front of me asking, “Why can’t we go outside right this very second?”
This is when I pull out two important tools in my “get your head out of your ass” box. I think back to the morning I was on my way home from the local coffee shop after having had a miserable start to the day. It seemed as if everything was going against me. Nothing was right. What snapped me out of my “poor me” snowball was the mention of Maasai on the radio. As a lover of African culture and music, and a place where I will take my son some day, I turned up the radio and heard a story I will always remember.
It was what I needed at just the right moment. A big *kapow* on the side of my head to bring me back to reality, and it made me cry and cry and cry. The tears just flowed, and I smiled because of the rawness and beauty of emotion expressed in this story was so true. How we act, who we are, what we do, or don’t do, and how we treat those around us, this is what matters.
“And if you see me first thing in the morning,” as Siranka explains, “it’s a blessing to be alive. Greet me because maybe you not have seen me again.”
The second tool I pull out is a reminder I keep on my refrigerator. It’s the program of a funeral we went to in 2005. At the age of 47, my friend and co-worker died. I remember receiving a call from work letting me know Andy was sick, again. He had been cancer-free for awhile but then it returned and there was nothing the doctors could do about it. Within about a week of the initial phone call I was told he only had a few weeks to live. Another call came in a few days later letting me know it was only a matter of days now. By the next morning, he was dead.
I remember sending Andy an e-mail begging for a chance to see him and writing him a note, which I gave to Andy’s best friend asking that he please read it to him. It was more of a poem about how much I missed him and all the wonderful things he had done for me and to please never give up. But it was too late.
When I look at his smiling face on my refrigerator, he is there to constantly tell me to live each day like we mean it. Andy was the kind of person all of us aspire to be, but few ever achieve. He loved life, he loved his wife, he loved his dogs, and he took care of all of us like family.