Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Work in Progress

     The sun sets. The sun rises again.  I keep waking up, so I keep getting more chances to get it right.  I'm going to go ahead and say I'm doing a good enough job, even though the list of all that I'm failing at is insanely long, like waiting at the DMV long.   Today, though, I'm going to recognize that I'm doing my best and it's been good enough. The laundry is caught up.  The dogs and the boys have all been fed regularly.  I've met my work deadlines. I've prepped the bathrooms for a way-overdue repainting. I've even managed to remain mindful of some important self-care business:  drinking plenty of water, eating lots of veggies, and getting outside.  It's good enough, indeed.

     I had a truly wonderful return to the Sachuest National Wildlife Refuge this week.  I was in Newport on business and spent my lunch hour walking the trails.  As soon as I took the first bend, I came upon a deer enjoying a snack.  She didn't startle.  She must have been very hungry, because she never stopped eating. I probably could have pet her if I were so bold.  It was an astonishing surprise. I stayed with her for about five minutes, before my work responsibilities drove me further down the trail.

Just past my deer, where the thicket thins and there is a clear view of the rocky shoreline, I saw a group of the harlequin sea ducks that winter in Narragansett Bay. This band of quirky looking flightless, diving water fowl draws birders from all over to the Rhode Island coast every January.  That this is just an ordinary part of my day makes me feel blessed. In fact, it is these ordinary moments--a walk at a local wildlife preserve, picking out paint for the bathrooms, playing keep away with the dogs and my laundry (especially socks, the dogs LOVE to steal socks)--that make the challenges manageable and the worries bearable.

     Thing 2 is out of the hospital, but not out of the woods.  Every day I drive him back to the hospital for some intensive outpatient supports.  That he's so actively engaged in his own treatment makes me hopeful.  That he's negotiated some very difficult situations since being home, including facing the issue that triggered the dangerous swing from manic to depressed, makes me proud.  If you ask him how he's doing, he's likely to respond, "I'm a work in progress."  And it's the truth.  Aren't we all?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hanging on by a Dish Towel

     It's been a rough few weeks.  There's a rock pile of issues that haven't crushed me yet, but staying on top of them has left me more exhausted than I've been in a very long time.
     I've been navigating my way through a Professional Leadership Opportunity that has been exceedingly challenging.  Turns out I have what it takes to make the Tough Decisions and to manage them effectively.  That I am surrounded by an incredibly strong team of folks who are smarter than I am has helped immeasurably.
     My fierce, beloved mother has a serious surgery coming up that is weighing on me.  I mentioned she was fierce, right?  So, while everyone expects things to go well, it's still cause for a daughter to worry. That she doesn't graciously accept any fussing over her is both part of her charm and part of my angst.
     Thing 2 is not in a good state right now.  After weeks of increasingly manic behavior, the pendulum swung sharply in the other direction yesterday.  In the good news department, he has sought out professional support himself BEFORE he hurt himself or anyone else.  I will forever be grateful for that.  Still, nobody's mother is okay with having her child committed to a mental hospital.  I certainly am not.
     And so, I am clinging to my sanity the only way I know how.  I've thrown myself into the mundane flow of housework.  I've taken care of the dogs.  I've done dishes.  I made hash and eggs for breakfast.  I'm scaling the mountain of laundry.
     There is a rhythm to the domestic routine that helps slow my heart rate and reminds me to exhale, then inhale, then exhale again.  In a season where I have absolutely no control of so much of what is going on around me, being able to take charge of my physical environment keeps me grounded. So I will scrub toilets and match socks.  I'll change the sheets on the beds and vacuum.  I'll sweep away the tumbleweeds of dog hair.  Later, I'll go visit my son and his clinical team.  And I'll check in with my mama.  And I'll return a few more emails about the Tough Decisions.  There will be more laundry to fold.  Dinner to prepare.  Dogs to walk.
     This too shall pass.  I have a great support system.  My Personal Chef (especially) and my family--the one I was born into and the one I chose--has been truly wonderful. And of course, there is plenty of laundry.