April 19, 2012
Losing Things That Are Dear
When Dani's in-laws, Jon and Margaret, spent the night at my house before I drove them to Vancouver to hop a plane to Hong Kong, I had to confess that I couldn't send Dani's clothes with them that she had requested and that they had left room for in their luggage. The thing is, I packed them and put them away so very carefully that I can't find them. It is a complete mystery. When Dani and the boys were on their last hours getting ready for their leaving Bellingham for a year, they had much to do. I suggested that she leave the things she wasn't going to take and I would pack them up and store them in my basement. She was taking care of so many last minute business and house details, that it made sense for her not to worry about anything else. After they left, I began organizing things in boxes. Dani had already organized most things in piles. All I had to do is box them and James' friend, Eliot, came over to tote and carry them into the basement.
When Dani asked that I send things to her because she had lost weight and needed her summer clothing, I went looking. I found James clothing, I found Nico's clothing, I found the box of sox that I packed away, I found the heavy jackets, but I simply could not find Dani's clothes. AmySue came across the street and we both looked everywhere. There are some things that Dani and Charles had previously stored and, I confess, we didn't look into all those boxes. On Jeni's advice, I went over to the storage place to see if I had inadvertently taken a box over there when I checked it out after they left. I looked at our church rummage sale for her favorite clothes to see if, God' forbid, I had mistakenly taken a bag there. I don't even remember what I packed them in -- I presume a box but perhaps not.
My gut feeling is that they are somewhere. My biggest fear is that they got thrown out or taken to Goodwill (although I don't remember going to Goodwill in the past year). Dani has been more than gracious, but I am perplexed and concerned. I guess it taps into another time in my life when I climbed into our VW bus with kids and luggage and somehow, on the freeway while driving through Carlsbad, CA, the back window fell open and Jeni's suitcase fell out. Although we circled around several times, we never found it. It contained all her precious items that she had taken on the visit to her paternal grandparents. She was devastated. I was aghast for several reasons - I must not have checked and latched the back window carefully. What if a child had been sitting there?
I don't remember how old Jeni was, maybe 5 or 6? But, she was unforgiving for years. It became the family curse! Lost treasures! A complete mystery about how we could not find it at the side of the road. And, now, I've lost another one of my children's boxes of treasures. What kind of mom am I? I can only hope that the travelers will return and someone will uncover the treasure in a surprising, hidden, and safeguarded place where I have lovingly placed it. Otherwise, I'm going to be marked forever as the uncaring, careless, and irresponsible mother that I feel like I am. But, then, it's just stuff! Right?
April 12, 2012
A Peculiar Neurological Glitch!
Isn't that a great line?
I was listening to a wonderful podcast the other day. Krista Tippet of "On Being" was interviewing the California psychologist, Sylvia Boorstein, who wrote the book "That's Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist." Krista had read the book years before and introduced Sylvia as a very wise woman whose writings had been especially meaningful as Krista became a mom for the first time. The interview was so good that I actually listened to it twice because I knew that it would be removed from my iPhone when I synched it with iTunes. It was just as good the second time. Sylvia had some very wise things to say and she was also very funny and wry. When I looked her up on the web, I found pages and pages of her quotes and sayings listed. I thought that I was the only one in the world who had never heard of her.
She described herself as having chronic anxiety which she called her peculiar neurological glitch. That spoke to me clearly since my lovely husband used to call it my roving anxiety which hovers in the air until it finds something (anything!) to land on. So, if all is going well, it is just hovering ready to strike. When I shared how anxious I was about something, he would often refer to the syndrome I possessed that had to go somewhere. He would say that I was most likely worrying about nothing in particular - I just had to worry and whatever it was at the moment became the target of my anxiety. It might be an airplane ride, a spot on my arm, a child not calling on time -- whatever captured my attention at the moment.
Sylvia said that if she could think of that tendency to worry as just a neurological impediment, she could dismiss it when it threatened to overtake her. Her husband, late for an appointment, could cause her to rehearse all the bad things that might have happened to him. She chose, instead, to realize that she had that neurological glitch that attacked in such a time and that she didn't have to give in to it but could concentrate on other things instead. She had a funny line when she said that what could set the glitch in motion every time was receiving a telephone call with a morose voice at the other end saying, "Hi ma."
Of course, since I tend to worry most about those closest to me, Don also used to say that I could only be as happy as my least happy child at the moment. Last month, Dani was sick and had a bad cough in Hong Kong so we talked very little on Skype. That tapped into the memory of her coming home sick from Vietnam many years ago after having been given a strong antibiotic that set off an allergic reaction. At the time, we didn't know that was the problem and she kept getting worse until she found her way to a naturopath who built her system back up and helped immensely. However, we were really worried, so having her again so very far away, out of touch, and sick just kicked in the old anxiety.
I can worry about anything. I worry about my kids and my grandkids. I worry about myself. I worry about friends. I worry about church. I worry about my house. I worry about my work. I worry a lot! But, I can still hear Don's voice in my head helping me through all those worrying times. And, now I have a new friend who explains that my worry is probably a very peculiar neurological glitch. That amuses me so much that I might even forget to worry!