I woke up with dreadful anxiety this morning. I have no idea why. I knew I was going to go eat lunch with Gibson and then read his class a book but that shouldn't have caused it. I was just at the school last night and have been there plenty of times and it's a kindergarten class and I always enjoy hanging out with the little kids before they become purveyors of what's cool and what's not.
But I was.
As if that damn beast had just been hiding under the bed and shown up, suddenly and inexplicably to bare his yellow teeth and his raking claws to remind me he was still around. Sort of the opposite of Maurice showing up just as suddenly and inexplicably to snuggle and cuddle and purr.
But I got myself together and went to the school and signed in and Gibson was SO glad to see me. He kept telling me, "Mer, I'm so glad you came!" We went to the cafeteria and it was interesting to see what the kids picked for their lunches. Most did pick the "cheese plate" which was indeed a kid yogurt, a string cheese, and a little package of granola. They also got to pick two other items of the fruit and vegetable variety. Gibson got an ear of corn and a tangerine with his cheese plate. I helped a little girl open her granola package and damn if I didn't have to pull out my pocket knife to do it which probably broke about fifty rules. It's not a huge knife but it's a real knife. Gibson spilled his granola all over the floor but whatever.
After lunch we all lined up and went back to the classroom and Gibson's teacher asked him to introduce me to all of the children sitting on the floor in front of me. And so he did. He announced the name of each and every child in his class and I loved that the teacher let him do that. Then she asked him to tell them my name, which he did- MerMer. I loved that too. Then I read The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza which I may have mentioned I have read at least a hundred times to Owen and to Gibson and I used all of the voices and got the children to chime in for the parts where the Dog, the Cat, and the Duck say, "Not I," in response to the Little Red Hen's requests for help.
The kids were so good and they had lots of questions and were extremely attentive and laughed at the funny parts and were amazed at what all the Little Red Hen bought every time she went to a different store to buy the things she needed to make her pizza which is a huge part of the fun of the book. She goes out to buy a pizza pan for example, and comes home with not only the pan and a pizza cutter but also bagels, doughnuts, rubber gloves (that would fit a chicken), a measuring stick, a plant, and a kitchen sink.
It truly is a lovely book and although I have read it so many times, it never ceases to delight me.
After I'd finished the book the teacher had an activity planned to go with it. She had cut-out circles of brown paper for each of the children to make their own pizzas with scraps of colored paper and scissors and glue sticks. I'd let her know what I was reading but I had no idea she'd incorporate the story into an activity so nicely. This same woman was Owen's teacher in kindergarten and she's one of the very special ones. When she told the children about making their own pizzas, I told her, "You're magic!" and she laughed.
So that was all good although the anxiety hung on like a summer cold but Jessie invited me to go to Costco with her and the babes and so I did and then yes, we ate lunch, and that was nice.
When I got home I made an effort to chase the demons out by doing the things which make me feel virtuous like cleaning out the hen house and putting the poopy straw on the garden and filling up the chicken waterers and taking the trash and watering my inside plants and sweeping. And then I tried doing something that makes me feel grateful and which pleases my soul which was picking camellias and bringing them in and putting them in vases and when I'd done all of that I started a new monkey man for Gibson, sitting in front of the TV watching some of the newest episodes of Grace and Frankie on Netflix. I'm sewing the monkey by hand this time, having more than a day to do it although in the grand scheme of the universe, it will never matter in the least how I stitch those socks up.
And I think I've been going through a bit of wondering if anything I do makes a difference.
But when I look up into the night sky at the stars and the silent silver witness of the moon, I wonder if anything that anyone does really makes a huge difference in this universe and I comfort myself with the thought that I, like billions of women who have lived on this planet, am a tend-er. I tend to that which is before me and if that's all that I can manage, well, then that's all that I can manage.
There's my latest crop of camellias. They are coming back like crazy after the freezes.
I planted those beauties. I tended them. And I cherish them.
And today I made my grandson happy by nothing more than having lunch with him and reading a story in his classroom.
Doing my best. And the anxiety will pass as it always does.
I explained to my therapist yesterday that anxiety for me is like somoene turning up every morning to smash my thumb with a hammer. Yes, the pain will pass but that person shows up every morning. It sucks because not only do I *know* it’s going to happen but also when it’s happening it’s so fucking awful. Sometimes I wonder if I can continue to live a full and abundant life with this disease. I also told her that I would like to know one full week with no depression or anxiety. Or even feeling nothing, neutral.ReplyDelete
One full week without either? Oh, gosh. I know exactly what you mean. I don't have any answers and you know what? I don't think anyone else does either. Not that I know of, at least. We just keep on going the best we can and try to ignore the pain as much as we can.Delete
PS - I loved Grace and Frankie at first but each episode I like it less. If it wasn’t on Netflix I know I would not be watching it. Because my life is Frankie. And people like Grace don’t like people like me.ReplyDelete
Uh- it's not my favorite but it's done well and sometimes it's amusing and sometimes they do hit on topics that I can relate to.Delete
I think I would hate Grace with a passion.
What wonderful thing to be able to do with your grandson. He will treasure that memory.ReplyDelete
If he doesn't forget it next week!Delete
I feel love when I visit here. You do that. Thank you.ReplyDelete
I feel love when you visit here, too, Jill. Thank you.Delete
Gibson was so thrilled to introduce his MerMer! Sometimes the anxiety we feel is absorbed from the very air. Lots of icky stuff happening. Yes, it will pass. Love.ReplyDelete
He was proud of having me there which is why I love kids his age. All of the kids were just so curious and frank and that made it wonderful.Delete
You sure are right about all of the icky stuff.
What Jill said. You're wonderful. Here's a quote I love (don't know where it's from; my therapist told it to me): "Make your bed and change the world." You're changing the world just being you, Mrs. Moon. BeckyReplyDelete
Well, I make my bed almost every day. Sometimes on Sunday I don't. But if the kids are coming over, I do because I know that diapers will be changed on it.Delete
I suppose we all change the world every day, just being ourselves. In some ways, at least.
Thank you for your sweetness.
Ah! Thinking about you reading to Gibson's class makes me so happy.ReplyDelete
You make such a difference. Though jesus, that black dog of anxiety is a persistent animal.
Yeah. It's like the black dog of depression is one thing but the black dog of anxiety has fangs like a bear. I fucking hate it.Delete
Every day you tell us a story and believe me it makes a huge difference for me. And has since 2007 when I started reading you.ReplyDelete
Also, did you know that when a cat blinks at you it is a clear sign of trust and affection? If you blink a slowww blink back at them, they will continue to blink and it's a bit like saying "I love you."
I will try that with my cats! If one of them ever blinks at me.Delete
the things we do may not make a difference to the universe but it damn sure does to ourselves and the ones we love, those close to us in life.ReplyDelete
You're right, Ellen. You are exactly right.Delete
I think we all make a difference just by being here, don't we -- in the ways we affect each other and the world around us, however small. And you, with your grandchildren and children, have helped to build the future, to boot!ReplyDelete
That sounds like a cute book, and it definitely describes the way a lot of us shop in the modern world -- go out for one or two things, come back with 10!
Well, yes, I guess I've done my job when it comes to passing my genes on. Which is hardly something I've ever consciously striven to do.Delete
It is a darling book, Steve. Lots of humor in it.
Hey Mary Moon...I saw this short video about chicken beauty pageants in Malaysia and thought of you. I know nothing of chickens myself, but I think the contestants might actually be roosters from what I can see. Some of the photography is rather stunning. Who knew chickens could be so gorgeous?ReplyDelete
That was a very interesting little film!Delete
Yes, they were roosters. The name of it was "Cocks" which is a give-away. Haha! I couldn't believe what their breasts looked like though. So different from our chickens!
Thanks for the link.
What you call anxiety, I call awareness. It's the steep price we pay for being human because it's not a comfy or happy thing, being sentient in a pointless and uncaring universe. Some people are better at keeping the awareness of our futility at bay, with religion, or children, or stories, or by simply keeping busy with hobbies or housework, but deep down, we all know that nothing we do has meaning. And in the words of that great philosopher, Dick Cheney, "So?"ReplyDelete
In other words, you're off the hook for feeling responsible about that meaninglessness.
We humans are so brave, every day, in knowing that we will die and yet still holding it together enough that we only go crazy every now and then -- I give us a lot of credit for that. So the next time you wake up feeling that terrifying ennui, you should realize that it's AMAZING that all of us don't wake up that way every single damn day.
"When the fall is all there is, it matters." That's from The Lion in Winter, a play that is full of great-sounding lines that, upon closer inspection, don't mean anything, but this blustery bit is often cited in existential situations such as this. It DOES scan well, and Anthony Hopkins sounds great saying it. So why not? The fall matters because we are all in a free fall, and it's all we got.
We are definitely all in free fall and yes, that's all we got. Which is hardly reassuring to me. But what can you do? Accept it and go on, I suppose.Delete
You've given me some things to think about here, for sure.
I am sorry your anxiety hit like that. It just sucks and that is the truth. That Gibson is a delight. I love that he introduced you as he really knows you and isn’t at the age where he felt the need to be more formal. And you mean the world to me and I can see so many others. I love you. JoanneReplyDelete
He was so cute, telling me what everyone's name was. Gibson is like no other. He's just a love.Delete
Thank you for your very sweet words, Joanne. Always and always.
I am sorry to hear about the anxiety hitting. It often hits me in the night and then that busts up the day somewhat but sounds as if you probably kept it at bay by doing all those interesting things.ReplyDelete
It certainly does help to stay busy and focused on other people when I feel this way but dear god, it's so hard because what my tendency would be is to stay at home and be alone as much as possible. I try to make a balance. I really do.Delete