On Friday, I shaved what was left of Penelope’s hair. She decided she had had enough of it thinning and getting matted, and just wanted it over with so she could wear her cool wigs. She was clear and determined. What could I do? This is not about me. I grabbed the clippers.
I had this moment recently where I took a mental inventory of everything that’s going on and I realized something: I’m still here. I’ve gotten through and am getting through all of these things. Maybe sometimes with less grace than others, maybe sometimes with lots of turbulence, but the fact remains: I’m still here.
This is a weird time, and there’s a lot to be anxious or worried about. But this time has also made me build the habit of constantly asking myself: what’s my problem right now? Meaning,
And that’s the thing I’ve come to realize, embarrassingly late into adulthood: I’m supposed to be living my life. Not
When P was in the hospital, just a week after her diagnosis and days after her surgery, she was feeling better and asked to go to the 12th floor to the rooftop garden area. It was drizzling and overcast, so there was no one there. On the way to the 12th floor I remember seeing us, like really seeing us, almost from the outside: me, pushing our daughter in a wheelchair, Greg following close by wheeling the IV pole she was attached to, all three of us in masks. In a hospital, in the middle of a pandemic, with our little girl recently diagnosed with leukemia. And, for reasons I can’t explain, I remember feeling a very strange sense that everything was okay. We breathed in the fresh air. She caught raindrops on her tongue and admired the view.
There are extremely difficult moments; anxieties, setbacks, treatments, and side effects. There are things she has to deal with and things we have to deal with. But we are doing it. We are living and flowing and doing the next thing that needs to be done.
Then there’s virtual school. My son’s kindergarten teacher plays classical music in the background on the zoom calls it reminds me of those musicians on the titanic at the end of the movie. Remember how they knew the ship is sinking but decided to play Beethoven anyway? Yet somehow, we’re doing it. She is showing up and making miracles. He is trying. It’s messy, but this is where we are. So let’s dance. Because, while school is important, I keep reminding myself that they are learning far more from us in how we process our emotions, react to tech glitches, and manage our own stress than they are from online math.
This is a hard time for all of us, and what I think it’s done for everyone is cracked open the fact that there is no certainty. We hear the phrase “uncertain times,” but the truth is there are no certain times, there never was, and there never will be.
We only have right now.
We can choose to feel helpless or hopeless with this realization, or we can use it as fuel to set ourselves free.
We don’t have the answers!
Nothing is guaranteed!
What I hear is: Rejoice. Own it. Take a breath, come back into your body, reconnect with your own energy. Have fun with your life. Find the lightness in your being. Don’t be reckless or idiotic, of course, but do find the joy.
When this is all over, I want my kids to remember that I chased them around the house and played hide and seek when I knew they needed breaks.
I want them to remember that I lost my cool plenty of times and that it’s ok to be human and scared and frustrated.
I want to remember that I let myself feel heavy things, let myself have those pity parties and meltdowns and strong feelings because it’s all part of the process. We spend our lives running from the shit that scares us (and we have some pretty fancy, expensive, and sneaky ways of doing so), but if only we knew that all our power, strength, and self-growth relies on us leaning into those very things. We could then do so when the moment calls for it, and grow through them instead of remaining stuck. We could heal. We could live and love so much freer on the other side.
No mud, no lotus.
Uncertainty is a strength. This is why I’m finding it so important to ask myself: what is my truth? Where do I want to place my energy? Is this thing that I’m harping on/attaching myself to/beating to death/giving my precious energy to something that is really important to me, or is it my silly little ego grasping at straws? What matters to my soul? Pouring myself a cup of tea and really sitting with that question, while messy and hard and certainly not pretty, is a form of church.
Right now, we are in the birth canal. It’s dark, and it’s uncomfortable. It feels like the life is being squeezed out of us, and we can’t go back. We are participants in a process in motion. We can try to claw our way back to the safe and cozy place from which we came, but we all know those efforts would be futile. Or, we could go with the current and trust what we know in our hearts to be true: there
Grab the clippers. Pour the tea. Take a pause. Flow.
I’m still here. You’re still here. What are you strong for this week?