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It’s Only 8:30!

26 Sep

The Scene:

Last night my husband, Brian, helped me put the clean sheets onto our behemoth of a bed.  After one month of not being properly made, he helped me configure my TWO down comforters and ONE cotton blanket into their rightful position (as opposed to the mountain style they were resembling this last month of summer), and we arranged our six pillows according to our liking.  My face was then washed and my teeth were brushed.  My son was taken care of and my daughter was still occupied in her nighttime French class.  My jammies were on and my blanket arranged on the couch, ready for my descent into its strawberry print lushness (a leftover from my teenage years–the coziest of blankies, especially with the warmth of the, still lingering, summer air).  After all had been arranged and accounted for, I sat back on the bedecked couch and let out a big sigh.

SIGH….

I had made it through another day.  It was dark outside.  Not on the brink of evening, but completely dark.  The night had come and I had made it through a full day of parenting, secretarial-ing, taxi-ing, cleaning, dog walking, spider killing, cooking, counseling, and dealing with the effects of a stiff neck.  I felt I had deserved the long sigh and the right to exhaustion, especially as it was late at night and I had been fighting the yearning for a nap since 2 in the afternoon.  Whew.  I then opened my laptop computer, and as the screen came into view so did the clock.  It read loud and clear, “8:30p.m.”

“It’s only 8:30 PM!,”  I exclaimed.  How is that even possible?  It must be wrong.  It has to be closer to midnight!!  And then it hit me…I am exhausted as if it were midnight, yet it hadn’t even hit the elementary-aged bed time hour.  Sad, sad, sad.  And so I quickly opened my “Bentrivka” portal to document my title, “It’s Only 8:30!” and then logged out because just the effort it took to even conceive that my exclamation would provide a reasonably good title for a post was the last ounce of energy within my tired mind and body.  And with that, at 8:35p.m., I sat back and allowed the mind numbing effects of television (as provided through Netflix.com) to release me from my connections to reality.  Thank you “Hot in Cleveland”, thank you!

Moving On:

In my last post titled “Living With No”, I hinted at having more to my bicycling adventure.  This is true.  But first I will introduce you to my bike.  She is a British Raleigh circa 1970’s.  Actually, early 1970’s, and she is a folding bike.  I have seen similar photos, online, but they indicate that my lady is a Raleigh Twenty, yet my girl doesn’t bear the “Twenty” verbiage that the others seem to possess.  So who knows what she really is!  What I do know is we enjoy a few jaunts about town periodically.  This is a pastime I typically enjoy.  However, with exhaustion (emotional or physical), it is difficult to pursue even that which brings forth joy and happiness.  But I am gaining ground in this area.  As mentioned by me previously, one mili-step at a time!  Or in this case mili-pedal.

I actually have a dream of living in an area where I would not require a vehicle at all.  All of my destinations could be reached by walking or riding my bike.  I do not currently inhabit my dream town, but I do utilize this fantasy to my benefit when the time frame allows.  Such as the other day.  I had errands to run (the bank, the other bank, and the new to our town used furniture store).  If time permits, I take the back roads and travel under the freeway where the atmosphere is serene and the route runs through a historical neighborhood.  I then have to pass by the Mission.  Yes, one of father Junipero Serra’s Spanish feats and the central beacon of our city.  Several years back the Mission became a Basilica and adopted the “open door” policy (this is actually the new Mission church, not the adjacent historical-must pay to enter-attraction).  With the new policy in place, the doors are unlocked and the grand, yet very peaceful, church provides sanctuary from the bustling of the outside world.  Though I am not Catholic, I have spent many hours within the non-protestant walls.  I have appreciated the simplicity of the hand paintings and the majesty of the arched, vaulted ceilings.  More recently, for reasons I cannot fathom, a golden alter was installed.  I suppose its gaudy position and magnitude against the simple wall paintings is a reflection of the truth from its past.  Echos of the ruling empire dominating the natives with the two coexisting as one.

I do not like the alter as it is difficult to ignore.  And when I take the time to visit the Mission church I like to pretend it is a peaceful place, built with peaceful intentions, and present because it welcomes all kinds of people.  I like to ignore the truth history provides regarding the slavery of the indigenous people, and I battle the teachings I have had through my own education and from that of my children, as I approach the open door to the quiet structure.  The golden altar, in a sense, screams “Remember the truth!”  And though I do manage to find my inner quite, it now takes a bit longer for me to get there.

So my Raleigh is my accomplice in quiet adventure.  She takes me places with speed and she doesn’t say a word.  While on her seat I imagine I am riding through the streets of London, and the country sides of Europe.  I pretend I am free.  And while I am free, I am being replenished.  Which is why it is ironic that when exhaustion hits, I fight her call.

Well it is currently 5:00p.m. in the evening.  Brian is home, Esther is on her way to another nighttime class, and Cole is holed up “saving a world” in some extra-terrestrial video game.  I do believe I have a window of opportunity for a ride.  Cheerio…

Living with “No”

20 Sep

It wasn’t too long ago that my husband and I were living with, “Yes.”  And with, Yes, came some fun opportunities.  Hollywood parties, cavorting with celebrities.  Travel possibilities.  In fact, Yes is quite fun to be around.  She is very pleasing on the eyes.  Her scent is fresh throughout the day.  Yes is never tired, she is never boring.  She is a grand adventure!  The morning was exciting to wake up to, while she made our life her home.  But then slowly, one packed suitcase at a time, she began her move away from our world.  Oh she was kind about her departure.  Never once did she utter an unkind word.  She left no abrasive lesions upon us, and even her scent lingered for a while–long after her goodbye was said.  I miss her as our house guest.  Her presence brought sunshine when the sky provided none.  She, was a friend I like to have.  “Yes” is good company.

…now we are living with “No.”

No, is not so bad.  He, too, is not unkind.  Nor is he selfish.  But No, is blase.  He bears no scent.  He shines no light.  Being with him provides no adventure.  And travel does not seem to be to his liking.  And while he is a part of our life, our chores seem more abundant.  The spring in our step not so springy.  The gray of the day permeates, and sleep does not bring sufficient rest.  Though I would prefer to exchange his presence for his predecessor, it seems the good Lord has it in His will for us to entertain the present house guest a while longer (another aspect to No is the end of his stay is occluded, thus leaving us in the dark as to when he departs).

I honestly wouldn’t mind his living with us so much, but while having him here I have picked up certain habits that I’m not too fond of.  For instance, while living with Yes, I was motivated to care for myself and invest in activities that provoked excitement.  Waking up to No every day, I am struggling to even remember what those things were that used to motivate me.  Funny thing is, No doesn’t take up too much space but his stature hovers over much of our life.  So much so that I find myself pulling in ear marks of Yes, such as in my clothing, to help offset the drudgery of No.  For instance, I have resurrected my 1970’s floral print pants and am wearing them in circumstances of monotony (such as to the Long Beach VA).  Vintage Floral Pants

I have also taken to wearing a dress while walking the dogs.  Who needs exercise clothing when one can sweat in style!  I admit, the Nike’s are not the best accessory to my Leon Max creations, nor my Brian Bent’s for that matter.  But I am finding a glimmer of joy within the sheer absurdity of how I look as I ambulate, perspire, and shine while ‘Mutt and Jeff’ tag along on leash. 🙂

Fashion by Brian Bent

A Brian Bent original

I even thought I would fool my freeloading boarder by deciding to grow out my hair.  That’s right, my hair grows whether No wants it to or not.  However,  yesterday as I was readying myself to leave the house my daughter shyly asked, “Do you like your hair like that?”  To which I answered, “NO.”  With a sigh of relief she said, “Oh good.”  ‘Oh good’ was all she gave me…obviously the influence of Yes had worn off of even her.

So here I am, living with No.  He is a tough guy to be around.  And to help offset the heaviness of his presence, I am learning how to use new tools.  You know, the ones in the toolbox that are there but one hopes to not have to use.  One such tool is the “art of redirecting.”  That is right, I am redirecting my thoughts to the time of Yes, when I am faced with another No answer.  Another such tool is the “reminder wrench.”  The reminder wrench is used when thoughts of abandonment try to ease their way into my soul.  I take the wrench and use it to remember the word of encouragement from the Holy Word that says, “I shall never leave you nor forsake you” (Deut 31:6).  And, from the 55th chapter of the book of Isaiah:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”

The ‘reminder wrench’…a good tool!  I know there are other tools still in the box, untouched.  It could be that I will have to peruse the contents and learn, yet another, instrument of peace, motivation, excitement, and elation before the year is through.  But for now, the ‘redirector’ and the ‘reminder wrench’ are doing the trick.  I have even borrowed a necessary item from my neighbor…the tire pump.  Yep, the tire pump is a good tool to have on hand for when No takes a nap.  Oh the places to go with just a few pumps of air.  More on that next time…

Raleigh bicycle

My Raleigh and Me

Risk Of

23 Jun

The other day, when I accompanied Cole (my disabled son) to the airport to fly to Oregon for a white water kayaking experience, I had the daunting task of taking my hands off his care and entrusting his well being to himself.  …Please take a moment to pause at this sentence and consider that I am a mother, who loves her son.  Period.

Pause, pause, pause, pause.

I was standing next to Cole at the Jet Blue gate, while he was sitting in a wheelchair holding his USMC backpack and his cane.  He was awaiting the escort who would take him to the taxiing jet.  When the escort arrived, Cole was juggling his boarding pass along with the other two items mentioned.  I found myself ready and eager to assist with suggestions for a more efficient and safe ride to the plane EXCEPT, the USMC emblem on the pack reminded me of who my son is and who he isn’t.

He is a capable and experienced human being.  He is not a feeble unaware teenaged child.  He is a burgeoning man who has several travel experiences, without his mommy and daddy, under his belt.  He is not without knowledge of how to hold a ticket, backpack, and cane while being escorted via wheelchair through corridors–after all, he traveled to Nicaragua in January just after having had an eye surgery!  He is his own being.  He is not mine.

As I caught myself and halted my intrusive actions, I waved goodbye and watched him pass through the door with himself as his advocate and a stranger for an escort.  I turned toward the exit and coaxed myself through the door with the above reminders guiding my every step back to the parked car.  Had Cole been underage, I would have stayed until the airplane lifted off the ground.  But again, he is not that little boy any more, so I kept walking.  In my journey to the roof top of the parking structure I reminisced about the last email sent to us from the camp Cole was off to (www.firstdescents.org).  It was an email with a waiver attached that was mandatory he sign in order to attend.  It was a “Risk Of…” waiver.  Essentially, as you can fathom with a white water kayak camp, the waiver covered any and all possible risks of injury, illness, and potential death.  He had to sign his life away in order to live.  OK, that was a bit of a dramatic statement, but it works so I’ll leave it be.

Now at my car, I sat a moment in the silence ever so present due to the vacancy of the passenger seat.  And the idea of “risk of..” kept rolling over and over within my mind.  At that moment I wanted to express a profound prayer on my son’s behalf, but “risk of, risk of, risk of…” kept me from being able to land on continual thoughts which could possibly formulate into a petition to The Father to benefit my son.  And then I finally realized, “Yes, there is a ‘risk of’.  But that is a risk we all have to take, every day of our lives.  And Cole, fully aware, was interested in experiencing life despite the known perils.”  With the calm now present within my soul which came from the acceptance of the statement, I was ready to formulate a prayer.

“Lord, I pray Cole will have a good time.  And Lord, if he dies, I pray he dies happy…amen.”

I then turned on the car, drove out of the structure, and left the area before the plane took off.  Knowing full well the risks of the day, the hour, the moment, and the future.  Risks I’m willing to take and be a part of.  It is just plain old living.  Nothing new, no epiphany, just plain ‘ol livin’.

Cole called this morning.  He hasn’t yet been on the white water or in the kayak.  He has been sick to his stomach and very aware he is the only camper who is challenged physically, to the degree he is.  I handed the phone to my loving husband and walked away.  His dad gave him a pep talk over the phone and I am giving myself one still…

“Risk of, Rivka.  …risk of!”

 

 

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