I Could Do With A Little Sunshine

The big picture is good – we are truly blessed: fed, clothed and sheltered, happily married, and so are our daughters. But, I’ve had a rough month. It began on Christmas. I don’t know why, either, because it was a “good” Christmas. We saw everyone, everyone traveled safely to and from. Yet, anxiety and depression were unwelcome houseguests. I functioned, laughed, and enjoyed the antics of our grandson along with everyone else. But, there it was, hovering in the background, threatening to creep ever closer.
 
Suddenly, everything seemed so full of . . . everything. A lifetime of happiness, sadness, fear, mourning, worry, joy and delight swirled and suddenly felt as if it was being lived all over again, all at once.
 
Intense motherlove welled up, along with the realization our daughters have grown into their own time of power – making their own decisions, right or wrong, raising families, forging ahead with their lives. It was too much. I wanted time to stop, to keep everything just as it was. It was a sobering reminder that more sand is in the bottom of my hourglass than the top, and I am powerless to stop the incessant flow. Briefly, I felt a little useless. I know they still need me and, I am so glad of that, because significance to others is such a deep human essential. But, there is also the knowledge that someday, I hope far off, they will get along without me. I know they will because I managed without my mother most of my life.
 
I could sift through the sand that has passed through my glass and surely find a few more pebbles that might reveal causes for my sudden anxiety. But, I suspect they would be the same old pebbles worn smooth from me taking them out and reliving and analyzing them over and over.
 
I have done a lot of things in my life – not so much exotic travel and grand adventure, but experiences, challenges, and journeys that called to me and I followed. I met a lot of people and learned a lot of things. I made some bad decisions and said things, and didn’t realize the effect they had on others until years later. I also think I’ve made a positive difference here and there in my own, small way, using the talents that were gifted to me, and working hard to learn ones that were not. Just like everyone else, I’ve had trials and failures along with accomplishment. I don’t think I would have tackled much without the help and encouragement of someone by my side urging “You can do it.” 

I grew up, in some ways, a little later than other women. I look back and see I was a woman child. Capable of much, yet inside was a young girl whose emotional maturation was seriously slowed by loss. Things that may have bounced off others stuck with me. Like one of those crabs that collects objects it encounters and attaches them to its shell, I have carried some memories and hurts with me, not really wanting to drag them around, but unable to completely detach from them and leave them behind.
 
Maybe we aren’t supposed to disconnect completely. Negative events don’t always result in negative outcomes. My little cargo helped make me a good mother, fiercely dedicated to my girls, yet raising them to be their own persons. It also created in me a sense of empathy and a drive to help others. Let me add this, lest I sound too self-congratulatory: over the years I have met women whose will to make a difference, to make things better for someone else without any regard for self far exceeds anything I have ever attempted. I will always be in awe of them. While there have been times I rolled up my sleeves and waded in, I tend to be big bang – short term - project oriented. They are the ones in it for the long haul, who don’t weary, who do what they know in their hearts is right, no matter how much negativity they encounter. They take on the world. 

So, back to my shadowy companion. The best first step for me is admit it is lurking about. The next is to not give it more power than it deserves; this doesn’t mean simple dismissal because if that were possible, I wouldn’t be writing this little self-exposé. I was caught by surprise this time. But, it’s been here before and it doesn’t stay very long. Focusing on the positives in my life, prayer/meditation, exercise, fresh air, and talking (and talking) about it – all of it helps, plus time. I could do with a little sunshine, too. 

                 We all have seasons of our own. 

                We all have seasons of our own.