I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who likes to be in control of their personal life experience. I love an element of surprise, but not nasty surprises (like the ones my cats leave in the living room when their litter box is dirty); I like good ones, like finding amazing things on sale, or getting unexpected presents.
Though I know it’s really the best mode to operate in, I’m not one of those people who does well with being “in the moment.” I like to know what’s going to happen next. I like having a plan, and sticking to it. This works for me. I had a very rough time growing up; my mom suffered from cancer for years before she died when I was 15, and because she was so sick, she inadvertently allowed a very mean, controlling, power-greedy woman to take care of me. I lived in an almost constant state of dread, fear, and hyper-vigilance, so when I finally got to be on my own, a sense of being in control and having some semblance of a plan is what ended up working for me.
Recently, all of my control and planning has flown out the window, as I’m the new mom of a now 5-month old baby. He was planned (of course), and I’m thrilled to get to share this lifetime with him. However, I’m being stretched beyond anything I’ve ever experienced in my adult life. Baby calls the shots, and he is unpredictable, even for me, his psychic/intuitive mom! I’m kind of starting to get the hang of things, but I’m certainly not in control by any means, except for in my ability to be flexible and provide him with whatever he needs at any given moment, which is what being a mom is all about.
I found myself face to face with the scariest part of not being in control the week before last, when I noticed that Ivan was wheezing. After talking to the nurse on call about whether or not he needed to go to the ER, (luckily he didn’t), I took him to the doctor’s office, where he was diagnosed with RSV, a nasty baby cold-like virus, and given a breathing treatment because he wasn’t getting enough oxygen. I held it together, but ended up crying after we did the breathing treatment. Imagine trying to hold a fuming mask over your baby’s face as he wriggles and screams and coughs and wheezes…it’s AWFUL!! The doctor was so, so sweet, reassuring me that he’d be fine, but the whole experience was kinda traumatic.
On my walk home (we’re lucky the doctor’s office is just 3 blocks away), I was totally, completely in my head, worrying about the baby and totally caught up with everything. I saw a lady walking a dog up ahead of me on the sidewalk and prepared to move the stroller to the side. People in LA don’t usually talk to each other, which sucks, but when I saw this little dog she was walking I was so shocked that it snapped me out of my mental merry-go-round and I just burst out laughing. It was a white frou-frou type of dog, super cute, but the thing that stopped me in my tracks was that this dog was wearing PINK SOCKS AND SHOES. And not just any shoes: little girl-shoes, like the kind with buckles and straps, just the kind of shoes you’d put on a baby girl for Easter or something. Of course, she also had on a pink Chanel-style tweed doggy jacket and a gorgeous satin and crystal barrette in her silky white hair/fur. I was so delighted by this ridiculous-looking creature that all my stress and worry flew out the window for an instant. The lady was so cool…apparently, the dog, who was a friend’s, had sensitive paws, hence the socks and shoes, and we both giggled about the blissful absurdity of her outfit. It was just so, so funny.
In retrospect, this encounter was exactly what I needed, and the universe delivered right on cue. It helped me ease my pain, lighten up, and be in the moment. Yes, the baby had a virus, but my getting all tense and agonizing about it wasn’t going to do anyone any good. I needed that laugh to help break up the tension and re-gain my strength. Not control, because I can’t control things as much as I used to, but strength and courage to be in the moment, to be flexible, and to know that everything’s pretty much going to be okay.
When times are tough, or you’re too caught up in the whirlwind of things to be objective, one of the best things you can do is ask for a sign to help you gain some clarity. I guarantee you’ll get something, be it a number or series of numbers (I love 11:11 and 2:22), a message on a billboard or license plate in front of you, a perfectly-timed song, or a hummingbird, butterfly, or a ridiculously-clad doggie. It may not mean anything in that moment. It’s sole purpose may be to show you that bigger things are at play than your drama, but that alone is enough to make a difference.
P.S. Baby’s all better now…and I’m so grateful!!!