If you’ve engaged in a sport long enough you probably know the feeling of near-misses. That “almost fall” for which you feel very grateful you pulled it off unscathed. Like yesterday toward the end of an incredibly fun late-season bike ride. Trying to keep up with my totally badass cohort who always schools me on the downhills, I had a moment where both feet were off my pedals and my bum slammed down hard on my saddle after catching a little air and not quite landing it 100%. However, what would have been a total “oh shit” crash was an “oopsy” that made me more grateful I DIDN’T dislocate my hip (as a friend of mine did a month ago) or crack ribs and separate a shoulder…like another friend earlier this summer. The gratitude has lingered with me into this morning, since I’ve experienced the other situation–that injury that lands you out of the game, and sometimes out of normal life, for an extended amount of time. Thank you bike gods for granting me this “get out of jail free” pass!!
We don’t always come out entirely unscathed on this adventure called life, and sometimes it’s not manifested in a physical injury. Last week we placed my dad in a full-time care facility, after nearly a decade of in-home care provided by my mom. It was time. It was BEYOND time. Sparing the details, my mom had almost single-handedly taken care of my dad’s moment to moment needs while he slipped farther away with Alzheimers disease. It’s been a struggle. I know that going to a facility is necessary and I’ve had many years to process and cope with the situation. The reality is, I don’t think I have done a great job of working through this. I saw a post on Facebook…a quote by Keenu Reeves…of all people… saying something about individuals who experience true crisis but maintain kindness and compassion throughout. He called these people “true angels” and to be clear, that isn’t me. I haven’t been able to pull off a sweet demeanor. I’ve been cranky. I’ve been moody. I’ve snapped at people…typically friends and family rather than strangers, but they haven’t been immune either. It comes and goes though, and sometimes I find myself feeling very positive. Feeling relief because honestly, it was an accident waiting to happen based on my mom’s own compromised condition.
With all of this said, I’m working on it. There have been learning moments. For one, I am strong (I’ve known this since I was a youth and HAD to be), but permission to be weak from time to time is something I seek. Everyone needs to know they can fall apart sometimes and it’s going to be ok. Maybe that permission I seek needs to come from within. I’m not sure I know the answer to that. Theoretically I do, but in practice…mmmmm…that’s different. This week has reminded me that life is like a garden. The things you put time and effort into will flourish, will grow, will blossom and endure. Those things you neglect for any real amount of time will wither and eventually die. And sometimes a bunch of deer will just come and eat most of it (shitting next to the tomato plant they just devoured).
Put time into the people and things you love. Life is short… actively choose your priorities and then show up– for the great times, the oopsies & oh-oh’s and the oh shits.
Thanks for listening….