September 23rd, 2023
Maya and I are doing a college tour. We started in Chapel Hill, NC then Durham now we are in Nashville sitting on the rooftop bar/pool.
We are good travelers. Often in the summer when the older kids were in high school and had summer jobs and Scott had to work, Maya and I would pack up the car and head north to see family in NY or Canada or the Hamptons. At least once a summer we would take a week and let the road take us, often pulling off the road as many as 5 times on the way to check out a fruit stand or follow the sunset. We fall into easy groves when we travel and I am cherishing that this may be one of our last adventures.
Today we started out early to the hotel gym and then I moved outside to the pool to do laps. Swimming has become a solid friend since I turned 53. The weightless of it takes me back into a lighter body, the water soothes my cancerian soul and the long stretches and cold plunge shock of it soothes my joints. I am lapping in a pool that is a little short but I am making due by going in a sort of circle so I don’t have to stop. After 10 minutes in one direction I can feel the current I have created carrying me a bit so I stop and turn the other way to swim against my self made tide for a while pushing a little harder and faster to feel the edge of my breath.
And I think to myself….this is exactly where I am in my life.
After 54 years of habits that worked to care for others and self soothe me, I am challenges these old habits that kept me moving in tight spaces. My heath has forced me to stop and turn around. Now my self care is my first priority every day, and this is one of the gifts of older independent children. To recreate myself I require a lot of support to keep me accountable. The current is strong to put my body last. Where once I woke to the call of others and what they needed to eat and where they needed to be, now I wake to a quiet house with Walter being the only one that says feed me. His love of walks everyday takes me out in every kind of weather and I have come to need it just as much as he does. I follow him, he follows his nose.
And after a full year of retraining myself to go against my old habits I am stronger than I have been in years. As I swim and swim and feel the stamina I have fostered, I feel the hunger that is building while I fast till lunch. I am grateful the fire of that hunger no longer makes me anxious and tired. A mother’s hunger instinctually ensures that the children don’t starve. We are good at gathering and carrying so that others don’t become too hungry, too weak to grow. Now I say to my hunger, “It’s ok, I’ve got you. The kids are ok. Give it all a rest.” And I know I will be fed and will choose well what I need. No longer am I counting on the edges of other’s grilled cheese or the last of the scrambled eggs, the stale cookie for breakfast. I make protein smoothes and egg bites and pack what I need when I know I am going to be out for the day.
I feel a quiet come over me as the repetitive movement of my strokes replaces my wandering mind. I feel a soft current build as I take over once again the whole pool of water in new direction, my mind trails behind in a new neuropathic state putting what my body needs first while the world waits.