I have come to the place where I believe every potentially negative experience in my life is actually a positive one in disguise, because it provides me with rich writing material like endlessly happy days never can. It’s so easy to simply live and feel and breathe and savor the happiest days of my life. On the more difficult days, I write. It is the one outlet I have that has never failed me. I walk for miles, and then, I write.
I feel like I am in pieces lately. I am simultaneously coming and going, pulled in so many directions and yet feeling stagnate. I have some irons in the fire, but can’t make the fire burn hotter so I can mold and shape my circumstances into exactly what I’d like them to be. I am running to stand still. I hurry up and wait. It’s its own special kind of agony.
I registered for classes, which will begin soon enough. I am hitting the ground running with Intro to Cognitive Psychology, and Humanities and Cultures. I love this stuff. I can sink my cognitive teeth into it and make a mental meal out of it. I love a challenge. I am eager to get back into course work, deadlines, a writing papers which adhere to APA Style. It’s a sickness. I am seriously disappointed that my textbooks are eBooks. I am a tactile person. I like to feel the weight of the textbook in my hand, feel the paper between my fingertips as I turn the page, smell the new textbook smell of ink and semi-gloss pages. I love school. I really do. I love to read a well written syllabus.
Once classes start, I will feel more together, I think. Right now, I feel so scattered. Having school to focus on will help pull all my pieces back together. Knowing that I am doing something that gives my son and me a forward momentum helps restore the smallest bit of hope that this is not all there is for us. We have great things waiting for us, and if I am diligent and do not lose focus, we will have the world at our feet. Or something like that.
My son is such a blessing to my life, especially during these times. Children do not pay any attention whatsoever to the ebb and flow of life. They exist in the moment. They observe life and take it for what it is. It is only through conditioning that they learn to long for what they don’t have. Discontentment is taught.
The night before Easter, Jaden says to me, “Mom, be sure you go to bed right away tonight. I want the Easter Bunny to come, and he won’t stop by if you’re still awake.”
“Oh, I think you have nothing to fear. I promise, the Easter Bunny will visit our house.”
“But Mom, you don’t have a bedroom, so if you’re awake, maybe he won’t. You need to get in your bed and go to sleep so you don’t scare him away.”
I love this conversation, because it is so pure and so innocent. In Jaden’s mind, the fact that I do not have a bedroom is neither here nor there. It doesn’t matter to him that we have limited means, and that those limited means require me to sleep where the dining room would otherwise be. No, the more pressing issue was that my presence in exactly the place where the Easter Bunny may need to work would mean that Jaden didn’t get to have Easter candy.
The next morning, I stayed in bed smiling and trying ever so hard not to giggle as Jaden peeked out of his room, closed the door, then peeked out again. I knew he was looking for signs that EB had been there. Finally, he came out of his room. I closed my eyes, pretending to sleep as he walked past my bed and into the living room, only to find that there was no Easter basket waiting for him.
“Mom, was the Bunny here?”
I could hear the concern in his voice.
“I didn’t see any bunnies, Jaden.” I yawned and stretched.
He walked back out into the living room, then came over to my bed.
“Maybe he didn’t want to leave me anything.”
“Oh, I don’t think that’s true. Go look again.”
Finally, he came upon the first clue I’d left for him. He was beaming.
“Mom, what is this?” he asked, handing me the written clue. I was up by this time. I didn’t want to mock-sleep through any more of this moment.
I read the clue to him, which instructed him to find the next clue, and on and on until he finally found his Easter bounty. To say that he was happy with the discovery is an understatement. I seemed as surprised as he was by the clever EB who left clues all through our apartment, leading him to all manner of sugary delights. It’s amazing how much happiness a child can feel when someone spends just a little time and a few dollars to create a special moment for them. I cherish these things.
These things help me be mindful of what matters. These things help me remember that no matter what life is or isn’t, the things that are of real value are not found in having things or being Fancy Shmancy Title Lady. No, the things of value are found in moments shared with those we love, finding reasons to smile and laugh no matter what is happening, and gleaning strength and purpose from even the hardest things life throws at us.
I feel less scattered when I allow myself time to reflect on these things. My son is my greatest teacher, and I am so grateful to have him. I need him as much as he needs me, maybe more. He’s an old soul, born into this world with the wisdom only an innocent child can possess. He helps me put all the scattered pieces back together, every day. We’re both growing and learning. And it’s a beautiful thing.