Shuba’s Weblog

Journeys of the soul…

Journeys and destinations – part deux

on April 20, 2012

Moments after my blissful writing of the previous blog entry – savoring the sunshine, and basking in the smugness of my knowing – the roof came crashing. Anjali woke up from her nap prematurely, and started bawling. She looked distraught and kept arching her body backwards. She kept pushing me away, and kept crying, shreiking, like she didn’t know what was going on. I had never seen her like that. My mind went back to our last time when she had the vasculitis and couldn’t walk. She has had an asthma attack from a lung infection as well. What if this was a sort of precursor to a seizure?

I couldn’t get hold of Abhi so I called our Pediatrician. They weren’t very helpful either but the Doc mentioned night terror. That rang a bell. As I talked to the Doc, I knew I didn’t want to take her to the ER. I have learned that isn’t always the wisest move. So I decided to wait it out. I opened the door and showed her outside – and the stroller – and tempted her with a walk to see ‘the construction’. She kept crying and still didn’t say a word. Then she saw the cat. And slowly she came around and she calmed down. The cat saved us.

It had been 45 minutes since she had woken up. Long 45 minutes. When Anji calmed down, I put her in the stroller on the doorstep of our condo– came inside and started weeping uncontrollably.

Here I had been – less than an hour ago – in bliss convinced that my life was perfect and I had all the answers. And the very thing I was talking about had happened – the change. And I didn’t feel like it was any kind of opportunity to grow! It felt terrible – this change. Not the kind of change where baby gets up, needs her diaper changed and we have a snack and go out. Or read and play. No, it was a change of 180 degrees – completely upside down. Where had my idyll gone? I felt utterly alone and utterly clueless. And here I was undertaking by my own choice to spend more time with my kid – instead of a job I was good at and knew what I was getting into. Why would I do that? I wondered.

The moment when that thought came in, I knew I wouldn’t change a thing.

But I felt awful that day – for reacting and panicking and for my own inability to bounce back. Anji did. One hour later, she bounced on the bed and said ‘happy’. I looked at her with a sense of amazement. How is this possible? What does happy mean in this moment? Why couldn’t I be happy?

I battled it all day until I realized – we have to own our feelings. We can’t push them away. Pushing them away only hurts so much more. So I did what was right – I held myself with all the love I could muster. I acknowledged. Of course I was scared and freaked out. And of course it takes time to bounce back.

The next day, I got a baby sitter and finally had some time to myself for the first time all week. In that space came the realization of how much I had needed it – my own space to be me and take care of me. When belly dance class came that evening, I was ecstatic.

So this journey is as much about taking care of us as our babies. Only when we make time for joy and mothering our own bodies and minds can we give others. It is about signing up for that dance class or yoga or going for that walk or starting that book group. It is about making space to figure out who we are, what we believe in, and how we want to live our lives. Not just so we can be better Moms but so we can be better human beings. Less judging, kinder, and more resilient. And when the roofs come crashing and we are not the picture of equanimity – we can start over. Right now.

With love, S.

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