Child overslept today, I have difficulty waking her, finally she's up by 9am! Dressed and out the door by 9:15, breakfast bar in hand, we will be late for camp. My personal time will be affected. This is taking too long!
(I make a mental note to shorten the bedtime routine and begin way earlier, even if I have to do it myself every night for the next month. This MUST change.)
Speed bumps were recently installed on one main road and another side road near our house. Must slow down.
Then, that joyously wide-open cruising stretch on Rose--the 4 lane road cutting a thoroughfare between the golf course and the park--was deliberately repainted into 2 lanes and 2 bike paths, one each direction. Today we are stuck behind a slow moving car, our ability to pass forever removed as an option.
A car ahead of me backs out of a driveway, does a u-turn and lines up to back into a parking spot oblivious to the flow of traffic she is obstructing.
A daydreaming pedestrian doesn't notice his green light to cross until it starts to blink the orange "don't walk" signal holding up my ability to turn right until he wakes up from his reverie and crosses.
A street cleaner truck pulls ahead in front of the courthouse, slowing the line of traffic to 10 mph.
Up 2nd Street a hopelessly confused car changes from the right lane, to the left lane, then back again to the right, where she attempts to turn onto a closed and barricaded street thereby holding up all the traffic behind her until we can one by one swerve around her.
It's an almost comically long delay to turn into the parking structure as I wait for the 2 cars ahead of me, a pedestrian, another pedestrian, an elderly pedestrian (read slow moving), a man in an electronic wheelchair, a father with his preschooler crossing, a mother with her double stroller of toddlers, more pedestrians entering and exiting the farmer's market with rolling carts and bags of produce. The hustle and bustle of daily life is at play, while we belatedly enter the fray.
Once parked and walking, joining the others at preschool camp, the morning seemed OK. Late, but OK. We got through the obstacle course. We had arrived. We were here. We were moments to my freedom, my morning running/writing routine, only 5 precious days remaining over the next week-and-a-half until mid-September when school resumes. I was almost free.
But not quite. Not today.
In addition to delays and obstacles, there are now what appear to be emotional outbursts, death clings and screams, and blood-curdling cries pleading for attachment to mommy at the drop off, shredding my heart, sticking to my own vulnerability, twisting into my primal existential conflict:
Whose life is this anyway? Mine or yours*?
*(Insert: Mine or my daughter's? Mine or my mother's? Mine or my husband's? Mine or my needy friend's? Mine or the unrequited things I pine after like freedom, creative time, productivity, financial float, return of physical well-being?)
When staying calm, loving, rationalizing doesn't work, when making a note for her to hold doesn't work, when 2 attempts to kiss and say goodbye doesn't work, when engaging a teacher to help extract doesn't work, when erupting into anger doesn't work, when peeling her off of my chest, tears streaming down her face, legs wrapped around me doesn't work, I somehow tear myself away, throwing up my hands, crashing out of the gate, ignoring her and my dear friend and her kids--my daughter's best friend--so I can quickly exit. Heart racing, blood pounding in my chest, a conflict of anger, sadness, hurt, disappointment, impatience and regret balled in my throat… I somehow manage to stumble out of there gripped with a wave of swirling, opposing emotions, until I can hold it no longer.
I make it to the corner and the dam breaks. My chest heaves. The tears flow. Who I am crying for, I'm not really sure…my daughter, my heart, my belly, my friend, my pain, my own damn conflicts.
Do I take her home? Do I carry on?
Am I damaging her? Am I damaging myself?
I cry because there is no easy solution. And this has been going on for some time now. Even with camp, it is still not enough. I need more time. She needs more time. It is about to end. She has to learn to separate.
I can't go on like this. Clinging in the morning. Clinging at night, at bedtime. I am drowning here.
At the core of her need is my need to prove I can be a better mother to her needs than my mother was to mine. The knife is always in there taunting me, jabbing me, holding a mirror up to her life and now my own. Twisting, laughing, she's got me where it hurts.
No win on this one.
Jogging along, somehow this brings me back into my conflict with the narrow perspective time taker girlfriend. Damn. There she is, usurping my precious time again. She won't go away until I work through it. I try to kick her to the curb in my mind, but she keeps popping up like those birthday candles that refuse to extinguish. Bwah, ha, ha.
Water, I need water. I try to wash her down as I jog along.
How easy it would be to detach from all of this I ponder, and go into a deep, bliss-filled, heart open, one-consciousness state… On that level we are all one; we are all connected. We rise above the problems until there are no more conflicts. We escape into one-consciousness and non-duality. You are Me and I am You and We are all One Love.
True. Yes. But also ineffective. Will this solve the problem or make it go away?
Much harder is it to come back down into the body, enter into the heart and womb and pull the consciousness into life. Much harder to physicalize and internalize it into ACTION and inter-ACTION. Without falling into drama, distraction, conflict…or battle. Without losing our balance, our boundaries or more importantly, our wholeness of Self. That is the challenge.
This is the work I attempt. This is the work I fail at miserably. This is the work I attack again and again until the punches no longer hurt and I am standing again. Until my heart, its scar tissue held together by tape and crazy glue, pumps firmly and strongly, and my legs, graceful or not, attempt to carry my divinity into every situation.
I can take it. I am here. I am still here. I will always be here.
Until I am gone.