If they’re water, how come clouds don’t make puddles?
I tripped and fell today over a cement block, landing on my palms and knees. Found myself instantaneously breathing much the way I did in labor, deeply and with every ounce of my attention. Both kids, along with a friend of Aviva’s, were watching me, and I knew that they were holding their breath as I was deepening mine, waiting to see if I was still a dependably unfazeable adult.
Later, as V sprinkled kosher salt on our raggedly sliced potatoes to make french fries, I understood the idea of “pouring salt on the wound” more viscerally.
Aviva had to get two shots today. It took me and two nurses to hold her tightly enough to accomplish this brutal deed, and we’re lucky nobody burst an eardrum.
Within moments afterwards, she was sporting a princess sticker and determining whether to get rainbow or chocolate sprinkles on her creemee.
Later, in the car, we talked about how terrible it had been anticipating the shots. How it was so much worse thinking about them than actually getting them over with. Aviva wanted to know why. Why is it worse expecting something you think might be scary or painful than just experiencing it?
My improvised answer (aren’t they all improvised?) echoed the bumper sticker a neighbor of ours has: Don’t believe everything you think. The mind loves to tell stories, I told her. And we get to choose when or whether we want to listen.
“Maybe you could just say to your mind, ‘I don’t feel like listening to your story about how much the shots are going to hurt,'” I said.
Her response startled me: “But why sometimes does your mind lie to you?”
I didn’t fake an answer there. I simply answered that that, my love, is an excellent question.
It does occur to me now, though, finally alone after a twelve-hour stretch with kids, that we are always equipped to deal with what we’re experiencing. We just don’t think we are or will be. So the thinking undoes us.
Being in mama mode is so freakin’ constant and often frazzling these days. I think it’s these moments of reflecting on my days, this practice of digging for jewels, that keeps me sane. The going inward is what ultimately allows me to get back out there, into the mix, the fray, the frakas. Did someone say frakas?! Must be time for the weekend.
Shabbat Shalom. May this weekend bring you moments of sanity and goodness and gracious space and deep breathing and surviving what you thought you wouldn’t. Oh, and one last piece of unsolicited advice: Don’t pour any salt on the wounds – even if it is kosher.