Thursday, October 27, 2016

As I pull into the parking lot I am suddenly overcome by fear and anxiety.  I laugh out loud at my trepidation and step out into the light of a new day: I'm 40 now.  My first mammogram.  A bizarre rite of passage I hadn't expected to hold with any significance.

Anticipating the usual trappings of a doctor's office I march myself inside the ordinary medical building and am greeted by a courteous and calm younger woman who directs me to an inner waiting room where Ellen is playing on a large screen TV over a huge stone fireplace.  A point to clarify: it's not just any Ellen episode; it's Snoop Dogg and Martha Steward.  Awesome.  I laugh again as I take in the comfortable couches, a coffee/tea station and no cheesy magazines in sight.  Only Cosmopolitan. Bizarre.

Very unlike a doctor's office, I hardly wait a moment before my name is called and I am transported to a boutique spa instead of the expected sterile clinic environment.  Low wood tables with orchid arrangements and tasteful art greet me.  We wind through a maze of corriders as I fight a sensation of Alice falling down the hole with tables, clocks, paintings on the walls all breezing past. I'm ushered to a changing room by the spa medical attendant.  This is no cell-block with green curtains or heavy hospital doors like at a regular clinic, but truly a changing room with sliding wood doors, hooks on the walls, a comfortable bench and again, flowers on a low wood table. It feels more like changing rooms at a high end department store than a medical facility.

Just as I am disrobed and ready, the attendant returns and ushers me into the sanctum sanctorum, the inner room. Here the illusion is disrupted. This is a sterile, though warm, empty space of a room with a large x-ray machine in the middle.  The machine looks like a giant telescope or ray gun with an odd little tray table right at chest height.

I've heard about the squishing mechanism of the machine, but have not visualized exactly what that looks like until I see it in person.  Yes.  It squishes.  Yes.  It hurts.  Yes, it's a bizarre sensation. But when it's over I realize the fear I've been feeling is past.  I'm not afraid of cancer.  I'm not afraid of doctor's offices.  I'm not afraid of anything but my own failures.  And here, I have not failed.

To reward me for my bravery I'm given a bright pink gift bag with chocolates, a nail file, sanitizer and a pen.  Things a woman needs?   Things I've earned?  Still- I walk out with a proud sensation that I've accomplished something.  I retrieve my clothes from behind my wooden door and fill out a raffle ticket for a lovely gift basket in the hall.  The signs lead me back through the maze (now I'm brave, I can find my own way) and dump me back out into the bright parking lot.

Lately I've been talking a lot about being brave.  About riding on the power of your own wings.  This little procedure is nothing compared to what I'm sure I will face in my future.  But for now it is my secret little victory against fear.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pillow Dreams

It happened to me today.  I heard an ad from J.C. Penny for back to school clothes and when the manicured voice mentioned pillows and pillowcases suddenly I saw my Grace-girl at 18; headed off to college under the burden of pillows and books and buoyed by innocence and hopefulness.  As the young woman turned and smiled at me with confident compassion I felt sand shift under my feet and I thought- What the Hell.  She's barely 8.

But this year marks a big change for us.  We're sending the kids to school so this Mama can go back to work and help this family to financial freedom.

We've been homeschooling this incredible creature for... well... for 8 years I guess.  I taught her to walk, talk, strum a guitar, sing.  I taught her read and write and to love learning.  In many respects this is absolutely the best time for her to shift to the public school arena.  I got to have those fun years with her, those blissed out moments of "Ah Ha!," the sweet shift from single to sister...

But I wasn't expecting the grieving.  Seriously.  I must be the biggest weenie in the world.  Why is this so hard for me?  Because I know.  I know that growing up will happen. I know that there will come a day that she won't look at me with her doe eyes and her dreams on her sleeve.  It doesn't make it easier to face.  I'm not saying school is evil.  AT ALL.  I am saying that I will miss her.  But she's ready.  I'm ready.  I'm on the path to ready.  I'll be there very soon.

Now- don't even ask me about Baby Rain. I haven't started grieving for her yet- for the years I got to hoard with her sister that she'll never get to share with me.  That's a process for another day.  But now- It's time to share these babies with the world.  Watch out world- here they come.  I'll keep you updated on our family adventure, because that's really what it is.  We're being called out of our comfort zone in a new and prickly way.  Never in my life have I shirked adventure, so:  BRING IT ON, WORLD!  We're ready.