Sunday, August 21, 2016

Middle-of-the-Night Thoughts

Photo courtesy of William Warby/Flickr

It's 2 o'clock in the morning.

I'm lying in bed and my brain is muttering about all the things I need to do.


  • Contact Lily's school about withdrawing.
  • Contact Lily's new school about registering.
  • Find a preschool for Jovie.
  • Find a doctor's office for everyone.
  • What about Lily's dance class?
  • Get the permit for the garage sale this weekend. 
  • What if they hate it? 
  • What if we move and then get evicted and are homeless?
  • What if life doesn't work out as planned?
  • Wait, what was the plan again? 

The list grows like Jack's beanstalk as does my anxiety. I can feel the hairs on my head turning white. My stomach cramping. How will all of this get done in two weeks*?

I'm so tired. I need sleep. Sleep will make this better. Sleep will make this more manageable.


Go to sleep. Go to sleep.


I can't go to sleep. Did you see the list? All the things. I feel my brain whirring like the computer does when it's trying to cool down. 


I grab at calming thoughts. Soothing, sleepy, chamomile thoughts. 


Deep breathing isn't working. The sheep aren't working.


I land on that Syrian boy. The one from Aleppo who's Internet famous this week because his house was bombed by his own government. Not the one whose body washed up on a beach last summer. The boy who lived. Omran Daqneesh. The dusty, bloodied 5 year old with the dazed stare and the bare feet and short legs. 


His mother probably isn't worried about kindergarten registration at this moment. The media just reported his 10-year-old brother, Ali, has died. Killed as a result of the same bombardment that put that otherworldly gaze on his brother's face. 


No. No need to worry about school registration. Are there any schools left in Aleppo? Or, doctor's offices? I hear they've all been forced underground, hiding out from attacks, as they frantically attempt to patch people back together. 


A bomb just evicted Omran's mother and her children. My vague, pointless fears are already her reality. 


What a luxury for me to entertain the worst in the middle of the night. On my bed, in my room, in my still-standing house.


"It's all relative." 


I always tell my friends this when we're swapping stories about the stress of the day. This one's baby is still not sleeping through the night and she feels like a zombie and it's awful. And another is struggling with health issues she's still not received any clear answers on and it makes her feel (at times) like an enraged zombie (if such a thing were possible) and it's awful. And I'm here in the middle of my house, which in the span of just four days has become a place of empty shelves and stacks of boxes with that never-ending list. And it's awful, too. 


We are all struggling.


"Life is hard sometimes, isn't it Mom?" Lily consoles me after my nth outburst of the day.


She doesn't even know. 


And I don't even know. Not really. Omran tells me otherwise.

The boy who will forever be remembered for this tragedy than celebrated for his contributions. His childhood and self-actualization annihilated. 


Comparing one's misery is a dangerous game. It can easily lead us down this path of dissatisfaction and resentment. 


"It's all relative," I tell my friends to avoid the comparisons. The one upping. Life is hard at times in a general sense. And our own erratic, fidgety neurosis makes it harder for us, as individuals, to get a grip on it. 


The airing of grievances is important, I think, to make us feel less lonely, which is why I will listen to all grievances any time of day or night. 


Even at 12:30 a.m. when Jovie's bed is too lumpy and bumpy to sleep on.


We all just want to be heard.


But the celebrating of grievances is fatal to our growth. And I have to remind myself of that all the time and this week especially when I feel like the weight I'm carrying is much larger than my mind and my body can manage. I'm burnt out and anxious, sure. But, I'm OK. I'm alive. And I have a roof over my head (and almost another roof over my head). And my kids are healthy enough to drive me bananas, which is to say, extremely healthy. My husband is so kind to me. And he has a good job. And I have various good jobs. The dog isn't barking. The cat hasn't thrown up on the kitchen table ... yet.


It's after 2 o'clock in the morning. I'm lying in bed and balling up all the thoughts -- all that energy my brain has been generating. I strain out the anxiety and transform it into love and send it across Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware, and across the Atlantic and through Spain and Greece and Across the Mediterranean to Syria where I'm hoping it wraps around Omran as a blanket. 


I'm still awake. But it feels more purposeful.


I wonder if Omran's mother thinks it's relative, too. But on this one, I'd say, with tears in my eyes, she wins. 


* Yeah. Two weeks. Remember the last post where I was bemoaning uncertainty? Well now there's a bit more certainty. We found a house in Virginia and are signing a lease. And because of the start date for schools down there and prior obligations to life up here, we are scrambling to move by Labor Day. Why the hell am I blogging right now when I should be doing all the things? Because pausing is important. It's the only place we get to find each other. And sharing the love is way more important than all the things anyway.

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