There was nothing like late-night Friday college debates, responsibilities left on desks not to be revisited until Sunday. We solved problems and found power and peace during our whisky and Marlboro-laced debates about politics, life, and war.
We were 18-years-old. Invincible. We survived New Orleans graveyards, complete with 3:00am requests of “Vampires! Come onto us,” and peeing in the streets to respect the graves.
We giggled at tipsy, made-up Seuss-like rhymes.
“I do not like warm beer. I do not like it on a bench, and I do not like it with a wench.”
Back then, you could call a friend a wench and have her know you really meant “I love you. I’m glad you’re on this bench with me.”
We sat in dorm rooms, cafeterias, and bars, talking about nothing and everything. Homeless people, welfare, music, drugs, eating disorders, skanks, and what should and could be.
We were wise back when we still knew everything.
We were invincible.
It’s been a few years since I lie sleepless while phrases battled for attention in my mind. Those of doctors and friends saying “Maybe, it’s just a speech delay.”
Those of my instincts, and of the fear I carried in my purse during the day, perched on my nightstand while I lie awake. They whispered “Autism.” “Not just a speech delay.”
“Shh,” I said. “I’ve got this,” not being sure of that at all. Of anything.
I told myself to be powerful and not to cry during our first IEP meeting. I cried anyway.
I cry still during each of them, because it’s impossible not to during the happiest of progress moments. During the most worrisome of less-than.
I got through our first IEP meeting. My son’s teacher said “You’re the boss, you know.”
“I’m the boss,” I declared in the car and in the bathroom and in the kitchen, over and over again until I believed it enough to act like it. I learned, and then wrote what I thought might help other people to expect during an IEP meeting.
I held the power because the boy we were discussing?
He was mine, although ultimately his own. Sure, the IEP people helped and help, but he’s of this home, and of this name, and of this particular breed of power, worry, and love.
He is, of course, his own first. But he was mine before that, and will always be, at least a little bit.
Worried. Always worried.
Is it possible to be a parent and not worry? Maybe it’s less of a parent thing and more of a human thing, but I certainly worry more now that I’m a parent. There’s bullying on the bus, there’s not fitting in, there’s self esteem and raising our kids to not be assholes.
There’s the world, and POTUS 45 saying things like “Two states or one state, whatever they want,” which even I, a dummy about foreign policy, knows goes against what the USA has said for the past 20 years.
There’s the world, and us having the most incompetent Education Secretary in history who talks about wanting guns to combat grizzlies. Almost an okay argument, if she didn’t add the words “in our schools,” after them. Guns in schools? To combat grizzlies?
I was talking to my friend Hillary today. We joked about a children’s book with grizzlies and an heiress.
I hope that the grizzlies eat the heiress, personally.
Love Brings Peace
Finding peace and padding it around ourselves and our loved ones isn’t always easy. It’s especially hard these days.
Except that maybe, it doesn’t have to be.
My not-so-little little boy sleeps with his stuffies around him. They protect him from harm, and if he’s worried about them falling asleep on the job, he knows I will always come. I will always remember and hold him, scratch his back.
I lie down next to him and Skully, Spidey and the others, and I breathe the scent of his hair. Remember his tiny baby face, and the worry that I had about him starving or latching on.
Peace is found in incompetent self-care and meditation.
It’s found in rubbing thoughts between fingers and thumbs.
Peace can be found in listening to cars outside and wondering what a mom half-way around the world is doing right now.
We find worry there, too, of course, because too many moms around the world are hurting and hoping and grieving and there’s not very much to do about that RIGHT NOW, which bothers me and hurts my everythings, everywhere.
Peace is found in the quiet. In the organized and totally messy-messed-up-unorganized piles of reading and life.
Peace is found in the loud.
In the not-so-little little boy running skipping-laps as he does each night. Around and around and around. Thump-thump, thump. Repeat.
Peace is found in the words “I’m hungry,” and knowing there’s food he will eat. That he asked, when once, I wondered whether he’d ever ask for anything above saying “ah.”
Peace is around us, it is.
Yes, chaos and crap is as well.
But we don’t accomplish much focusing on that, right?
Here’s to focusing on the peace. At least for a moment, tonight.
Tonight, I wish each of you peace and breathing and smiles. In being able to fix “I’m hungry,” if you can. And if you can’t, please email me, because we are a team, and I will try to help.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “I find peace from…” or close enough.