Holidays:The Long and Short of Giving Yourself a Break:Right in Your Own Backyard!

"I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.
~~Alice Walker"

Okay, the economy had already created a drop in vacation plans this summer and now we have the Swine Flu that may simply eliminate "non-essential" travel all together this summer.
Now, my "mommy" brain and my "deeply fatigued and aging mommy body",need a break. I am mentally, spiritually and physically exhausted. My parents are driving me nuts with their demands and my kids are :well kids:boys! So you know if I am awake, I am,as Forrest Gump would say...running!

About three weeks ago it all hit the fan. My Dad had a fall and ended up in the hospital and then physical rehab. One afternoon after I picked up his dirty laundry from rehab, I simply "snapped". The forty-pound bag of Granpa's poopy pants broke wide open onto the linoleum floor.
And I fell into a heap right there. I sat and cried and cried and cried: on my laundry room floor.Violently resenting the very large pile of Grandpa poopy pants and the father that inhabits them!
(Gosh I know it is mean to call them Granpa's poopy pants,but Oh!it makes me feel so much better)
I yelled,like a bellowing bovine at God and the universe...
" F@#$% this!"
"This is not fair! What about me?!"

After about twenty minutes of very loud Croatian-like-funereal-wailing while Ioading the soiled clothes into the washer, I became aware that the neighbors might notice and call the "puff" unit to come pick me up and send me to five-east for a seventy two hour observation "Holiday". It was then I decided a more enjoyable holiday must be made and toot sweet!

A barmy overwhelmed Mommy is an ineffective Mommy.
I scraped my sorry bum off the floor crawled upstairs and put on a pair of terry cloth shorts, a white cotton tank top over a bright red two piece bathing suit. I grabbed a blanket, a book, the car keys, my sunglasses, some sunscreen, and a bottle of Pellegrino, got in the car and drove.

First I got stuck at the light on the corner and while I was there I thought I might as well just turn right and go up the hill. After I got up the hill I found the next right and then a maganetic pull left into the Arroyo Burro beach parking lot. I found a parking spot at the top of the "horse shoe" parking lot (always a good sign):my son and I call this "loge" parking. Like good seats at the theatre.

I slowly got out of the car. Every moment, every choice, came with mounds of guilt. "Why are you taking a break?" My subconscious stirred. I almost felt sick a couple of time.I almost got back in the car to scurry home and back to my caregiving detail.
I was relieved and anxious,at the same time. When I found my way down to the beach I just stood there,looking and listening to the ocean,the smell of the salt sea air wafted into my nose and a thought came to mind. "You were here all the time(as if speaking to the magnificent splendor of the sea like it was my Mother):how stupid can I be? How lazy of me to forget that I have this right in front of me:every day:I am not stuck in some crazed big city with no escape. I am here:in paradise...Oh God! I forgot you were here."

I walked down to a small cove I like. I threw out the soft,well worn and brightly colored Mexican blanket until it lay flat on the slight slope of warm sand.
I bundled a towel under my head as a pillow and lay back to luxuriate in the sun. I start reading, "After the Ectasy, The Laundry".
It is a nice book that transforms my head and heart. After a awhile I get up and wander down the shore and spend long moments gazing at tide pools and searching for sea glass.
I walk for a long time until the cliffs are white and the air is silent. The beach is deserted this far up. I climb on rocks in the water and sit and feel the wet-salt-licked wind against my face, legs and belly.I exhale and remember I am loved.

When I return to my blanket I find I am so sleepy that when I lay my head down, I fall quickly into a deep sleep. I only linger there for twenty minutes or so, but I feel hours of tension melting away.

This objectified victim of the "sandwich generation" has had new life breathed into her tired bones and a new plan of how to improve her overwhelming life of caregiving. I decide then and there that I have to create these little holidays, these windows of sanctuary and tranquility,every day. I will have to do this as I may, in between my obligations to my family, old and young. Just turn off the phone and disappear for a while to rejuvenate and redress. To fill up the coffers of my soul. To reignite my spiritual energy that is depleted by all of the busy-ness of being a caregiver for so many. Caregiving for my parents has created powerful resentments inside of me.
My folks are not always gracious or kind about all that I do for them. And I take on too much. And finally and perhaps selfishly, I have no witness.
No one to say,"you are doing a great job and thank you."

When I cannot get to the shore I create a "window-pane" sized holiday and go play in my garden. I am re-creating my side yard and doing some badly needed spring-cleaning. Throwing away things always makes me feel good.
Clearing cobwebs of confusion created by clutter, thus creating space and light.
Space and light. Space and light.
Never forget to find them.
I know I am no good to any one when I deny myself the simplicity of some personal "space and light".

So maybe this year there will be no great journey beyond borders for a grand holiday. Maybe the holiday will have to be created more from within. Smaller, deeper and more often. I am so blessed and I thank God for this place, this paradise.
That I can still see it and experience it with childlike enthusiasm is grace.

"I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it." ~~Alice Walker

So thank you God for the Ocean, the breeze, the sunlight, the whales, the dolphins, sea glass, my kids freckled noses, sunscreen, Pellegrino water, the cove, tide pools, long stretches of deserted beach, good parking spaces, a great cafe at the beach (The Boathouse..YUM!) and the wisdom to know when to stop and play in your heavenly playgrounds by the sea and in the garden! The wisdom to know the difference between the work of the soul and the chores of the body.
Remembering I am a vessel and sometimes the vessel just needs to be filled.
And if you don't believe in God, maybe you can believe at least that you are part of something greater than yourself.
"That we are all:every one of us, a part of something:more than ourselves"
"For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love."
~~ Carl Sagan

event calendar sponsored by: