“Quick Mommy! You need to come downstairs. It’s a ’mergency!”
Little C alerts me for the second time in the last four days. The first was on Sunday when my eldest, Mason, attempted running long jump in the basement. He was thrilled to hit 11+ feet but not so jubilant with the subsequent pain when he landed on the top arch of his right foot. Little C informed us: “Masey really hurt hisself.”
We ended up in Emerg where the doc misdiagnosed a sprain. Two sets of X-rays, another doctor’s visit, a set of crutches, plenty of ibuprofen and acetaminophen and, four days hence, we learn it’s broken. An aircast later, and he’s happy as a one-shelled clam can be.
But this second code red arising from the basement puts me on edge. Little C is in the midst of a 5-year-old playdate, of which I was kindly asked to refrain from “spyin’ on.” I’ve been secretly checking on him and his friend (who we’ll call Big H) but should have known the two of them were up to no good. Earlier, when I pulled into our garage with the two critters buckled into the backseat, Little C gleefully roared:
“We’re here! Are you ready to par-tee?!” before they bounded out of the van like miniature frat boys.
“Is anyone hurt?” I now inquire nervously.
“No,” he shakes his head, brown eyes widening. “But there are gumballs everywhere.” The pudgy hands sweep in a big circle around his midsection.
“Ya better come quick.”
I make my way to the basement, as Little C runs ahead, prattling on about how the antique gumball machine simply started spewing rainbow rock balls everywhere. Of course, not before Bluto and Flounder (Animal House reference for readers who don’t recall the Delta Tau Chi fraternity) ate a handful each and, as I am about to discover, spat a good chunk of them onto the carpet.
As I round the landing I am faced with the fact that, unbeknownst to me, the Olympic committee dumped their leftover equipment all over our floor and introduced a new sport henceforth known as Gumball Skeet Shooting.
I look for Big H in the mess. He’s lying on the floor next to Little C.
I should be mad. I should be really mad.
Instead, thanks to my mindfulness practice wherein I am learning to be aware of my feelings, accept and release them, I do a very strange thing.
“Just stay there, boys,” I say. “I want to take a picture.”
I run upstairs to grab my camera. What the hell?
I return and snap away. Big H isn’t quite sure what to make of Little C’s strange mom.
I am so present. I am so in the moment.
Then, I turn my back for like 10 seconds and hear a crash. The party animals stand in the corner next to the gumball machine.
“Uh oh Mommy, the glass part just broke.”
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Earlier this week I met with Karen Kofman, a certified meditation and yin yoga instructor of Thornhill Meditation, to enhance my mediocre practice. We talk about what I want to get out of meditation, which is basically to carve 10 minutes of quiet focus into my hectic day. Ideally I would love it if the benefits spilled over into the rest of the time. Apparently this is called mindfulness. Meditation is a way to train oneself to be mindful.
I’d also like to reap the health-related benefits. A brief Google search provides reams of articles and studies that in the thick of our busy, sensory-bombarded lives a self-imposed timeout is just what the doctor ordered.
That said, starting a meditation practice is overwhelming. There are myriad types and techniques from Zen Buddhism to Hindu to Chinese to Christian, with subcategories upon subcategories. Check out liveanddare.com for a general overview. I keep it simple and follow Kofman’s lead.
Try this on your own:
1) Use your breath, body or a mantra (repetition of word or phrase) as a point of concentration. Focus inward, not outward. When your mind wonders, recognize the distraction, let it go, and return to your breath. Some recommend a straight posture with legs crossed but Kofman says to sit comfortably, straight backed with relaxed shoulders and face, in a chair or the floor. Lying down may put you to sleep. (Been there, done that.) The site do-meditation.com offers a good how-to. Kofman also suggests an app called Insight Timer to help log your sessions. Five minutes at the start of day is all it takes.
2) Choose one task daily to practice as a mindfulness exercise. It could be cleaning up after dinner. Focus on that task: not on what you did before, have scheduled after or the worries of the day. Try to be present: fully aware of what the body and mind are doing. When the mind leaves the task, gently bring it back.
3) Finally set your cell phone to go off 3-4 times a day as a check in: a) Where are you? (in your mind) b) Status of body (discomforts, tension etc) c) Take three deep breaths
Throughout the week, I put some of this into practice: during noisy drives in the minivan, when preschoolers destroy the basement, while relaying between hospital and doctor’s office, when my cell phone gives its last gasp forevermore in the midst of everything, when I’m hungry and nothing tastes good because going vegan sucks and I haven’t had sugar in 23 days… and I am calmer, happier and more care-free than I have been in a long time.
Sadly, while writing this entry I learned that a friend of mine lost a friend of hers to cancer this week. She was a young mom, and she blogged about her fight over the last year in a courageous, poignant and honest way on Rewritehistoryblog. It got me thinking that here I was, blogging about life’s silly little hiccups and self-indulgent personal growth. It all seemed so superficial and trivial.
But at the same time, it drove home everything: the noise, the confusion, the waiting, the rushing, the mess, the frustrations… I realize how lucky I am. Appreciating life for all its chaos means I’m healthy and here and surrounded by the people I love. What could be better?
If you would like to support #Rewritehistory #Noregrets by Trish Reid please visit https://www.gofundme.com/rewritehistory
Jumpstart your meditation practice with some books recommended by Karen Kofman: True Meditation: Discover the Freedom of Pure Awareness by Adyashanti; To See The Truth by Jess Peter Koffman; The Parents Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents by William Martin; The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle