Finding Peace in Conversation
I was talking to a friend the other night, sharing with him stories about my early pregnancy and how before I even knew I was pregnant, I had that cooky dream that I wrote about back in the day, where the late movie critic Joel Siegel appeared to me, sitting at the foot of my child’s father’s bed. (In case you missed that post, and think I am absolutely nuts, I must share that I was Joel’s intern when I began working in television. Well his intern-ish. He sort of just claimed me as his own because I sat close to his office. Anyway, I loved the guy, and was very sad when he passed away a few years ago.) And in that dream, or whatever we choose to call it, Joel told me that everything was going to be okay and that my life was headed in the right direction. I asked him what he was referring to, and he just kept repeating over and over, that everything was going to be okay.
Now if I haven’t totally lost you, then perhaps you are open minded enough to understand that his words were nothing compared to the feeling I had during that dream. I actually felt like everything was going to be okay, and a feeling of peace washed over me in a way I still have trouble describing.
And when I was telling this story to my friend this weekend, I was explaining that so many times since that dream I have laid in bed praying, hoping, asking the universe, to please, please, please help a sister out and send me something like that again. And if nothing else, then just a little affirmation that I am actually on that right path, particularly when it comes to raising my daughter on my own.
Ellie is awesome. Awesome. But in the past couple months, she has become so extremely clingy that I have started to feel like I am wearing her again, just like I did when I was nursing her. When I bring her to a friend’s house, she repeats over and over again, “Mommy, don’t leave. Mommy, you are staying, right?” The other day, she was on a little field trip with her school to a neighborhood store and the teacher told me she had to bring her back to school because she stood in the corner and just kept repeating that she wanted to go back.
And this morning, after I myself have been having one of those weeks where you constantly feel like you are moving against the current of life – she had a meltdown, begging me to let her stay home with me, and making herself choke because she was crying so hard.
I know the constant changes in my work-life, impact her home-life and she is just sort of over all of the changes. Additionally she misses her former sitter so much that she asks for her constantly, and when she is really being a gem, she tells me that she loves Jillian and not me.
I’ve also been having some growing pains of my own, coming to terms with the fact that I will never be carefree, like genuinely carefree, ever again in my life. I will always have Ellie on my mind. And for those of you that are about to write to me and tell me that I just need to wait another 20-years, I am going to tell you that my sisters and I still bug the sh*t out of my parents, and they’ve had to cancel vacations because of pre-term contractions, had to jump in the car at the middle of the night to meet a couple of us in the ER, and so on and so on.
So you can see why I have been asking for the universe to just give me even a tiny bit of that feeling of peace. Okay, I haven’t been asking. I’ve. Been. Begging.
So after I coaxed Ellie out of our apartment today, I ran to a meeting and then had about 20 minutes to kill before another meeting, so I popped into my old workplace to see some friends and to say hello. Honestly, it was great. I love working from home, but I REALLY miss my friends and the constant access to conversation I would have all day long. (I love to talk more anything else in the world. Especially while drinking beer, but that is a different story for a different day).
I popped around the office, saying hi to my closest friends, when a colleague whom I haven’t seen in months, pulled me aside and asked if she could talk to me. Now we are friendly, and I would certainly not pass up an opportunity to chat with her, but it’s not like we are super-tight – which makes what she was about to say even more powerful, in my opinion.
She recently became a mom for the first time, and has little ones at home, so I asked how everyone was doing and she said, “Cara, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of you…not one day. I just…” and we both started getting teary eyed, while she continued, “I don’t know how you do it on your own. I mean how do you bathe a baby by yourself? How do you do everything you do?”
And I smiled and said, “Well I know no different, which is actually a blessing.”
She told me that she has sat down countless times to write me an email, telling me how much she thinks of me, and how hard it must be, but life always gets in the way. And then she continued on and said, “I am not a fortune teller, I can’t see the future, but I know in my gut that you are teed up for greatness, and so is your daughter. And I just see her doing something absolutely amazing – like really, really big, and you looking back and saying, ‘Aha…now it all makes sense.’”
We talked about the intrinsic changes that happen when you become a mom, the way in which you become so much more empathetic and understand life on a completely different level (when you aren’t trying to coax your child out of her pajamas).
She also shared an anecdote about a friend of hers that married a single mom of a 3-year-old, and they have now been married for 9 years – even though that was the furthest thing from his imagination at the time that they met.
Now by this point I was really having trouble keeping back my tears, and I thanked her so much for pulling me aside to say such great things. And she finished by saying, “You need to know how much people respect and admire you here, and that we still talk about how amazing you are.”
I was taken back, and completely overcome. I felt those feelings of panic all over again, when I was trying to figure out how exactly to tell everyone that I was pregnant – because it required an explanation that I was just too exhausted to repeat countless times. I flashed back to all of the feelings of insecurity that I had when I started showing, knowing that people were gossiping, and imaging that gossip to be of the worst kind.
And then, out of nowhere… I felt all of that anxiety wash away…And for a brief moment, I felt okay, like really okay, with where things are at with my life – and I felt myself take a big deep breath for the first time all week.
It wasn’t that all encompassing peace I felt when I had the dream with Joel, but it was a relative of it…and it was such an incredible gift.
I am so profoundly grateful for my friend’s candor and her support, that thank you will never be enough…but I know I wont pass up the next opportunity I have to tell someone how much I admire them.
And until then, I will keep reminding myself to take those deep breaths.