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Self-Care Tip #179 – Get inside your reality and be with Love.
When I was eight my family left me at Grandma’s farm for the summer. There’s not much more inland to go than Iowa. If the United States of America were a house, Iowa would be perhaps it’s cellar; full of smells, goods and it is a great place to play. I played a lot that summer – as well as stepping in a cow-pie or two, riding tractors with Grandpa Jack cutting hay, pulling on cow tits and seeing the milk come out to shoot right into the cat’s mouth. And I gathered eggs from pecking feisty chickens that would scare the bravest of any Coasters (those of us from the East and West.) Grandma was no-nonsense and didn’t waste much time on coaching.
Just stick your hand in there and take the eggs.
As an eight-year-old you haven’t known real fear until you face down a mother hen in a musty unlit poop filled coup, and reach under her feathered skirts for eggs.
That summer Dad came to get me early. I was really happy to see him. Uncle Mel and my cousin Dougy had been in a motorcycle accident.
Dad is an orthopedic surgeon and since my summer in Iowa, Dad has called motorcycle helmets, “brain-buckets.” He’s seen a lot of them in emergency rooms, so he knew what his brother had looked like. Dougy was in a hospital bed being introduced to his now forever useless arm. I came in shy, because Dougy was so cute. I was thinking about what he thought of me. I know. I did. Despite my diva-self, despite the horror and grief, Dougy gave me a brilliant white-boy American smile. I hid under Dad’s arm where I didn’t have to look but could still hear Dad’s voice. I think I may have even whined. I’m still embarrassed.
These days, unfortunately I rarely get to see Dougy, but when I do, I still want to hide under Dad’s arm as if he’d remember me there. I wonder if he remembers Dad’s voice.
Today, Dad is in a hospital bed with a blood clot the size of a rattle-snake crawling up his leg, fighting for his right to walk, let alone live. It is his voice, or maybe the bed, that brought Iowa back to me.
Cousin Patty was crying at Uncle Mel’s funeral. She wouldn’t go up to the casket, just sat and cried. I was a little bummed my cousins weren’t interested in me. It was who I was at eight years old.
Grandma, who left me unsupervised to gather eggs from angry-chickens, cried and asked me for more kisses.
They taste like brown-sugar! Give me some more.
Dad’s hands now have Grandma’s same wormy veins, raised over blotched ecchymosis (purple patches from leaking blood vessels into the skin); begging to be touched.
I went to see her with my brother Cam before she died. She was delirious. But I trusted her so. I laid beside her in her hospital bed and looked up for a shoe she told me was stuck in the ceiling. I thought, “There just might be one and these people don’t believe her.” I was miffed. Now I realize I was mostly angry because Grandma was dying.
The farm is gone and I wish I had the metal tub Grandma bathed me in outside on the lawn. But I do have this connection in me to all she gave, the people who came from her and her showing me how to live and die.
If she was still alive and knew Dad was in this danger, she’d say, “Rob, I’m praying for you. I Love you.” And unlike my emotives, that would be about it. She was from Iowa, you know.
This is my reality. Dad is in the hospital.
Self-care includes being in our reality. Sometimes it’s too much for one person to handle. People need Love. The reality of the world and of the individual is that we need Love. We are better to ourselves and others when we can be inside our reality.
Telling you about this is my self-care. This is part of my Love story.
Question: What is yours? Please tell me your story.