Tuesday, September 24, 2013
There was a time I was fascinated by odd scientific happenings. Like cloning. Remember Dolly the sheep? She was the first ever cloned animal, "created" in the mid-1990's. Dolly was a real media sensation, and she lived a very pampered life for a sheep.
Lately, I've wished more than once that I could clone myself. If only there were two--or three--of me, I would be able to be more available to my family and friends. I could accomplish more. And I wouldn't have the stressful feeling of being torn much of the time.
The other day, my phone rang. It was Joe, my college kid. I don't have an opportunity to talk to him often, as he is extremely busy with classes, studying, fraternity and football. And in that particular phone call, he didn't want anything...other than to talk. He was telling me about the upcoming game and he was really excited. I was too.
Then another call beeped in. It was Nicole. She was supposed to be on a train from New Orleans to Jackson, and I felt I had to answer the call in case there was a snafu.
"Hold on Joe! Don't hang up..."
Nicole was calling from the train. She was fine. Just thought about something and dialed my number. Nothing important.
OK, back to Joe...but before I could click over, another call beeped in. It was Larry, calling from work. Since he had major surgery less than a month ago, and is back at work on an abbreviated schedule, I was concerned...so I answered the phone. Larry was fine...just had a quick question.
Now back to Joe. No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He hung up! I punched in his cell phone number and got his voice mail message. Too late. My window of opportunity to have a conversation with my son had closed.
What are the odds that all three of my immediate family members would call me at the same time?
I sat back, sad and disappointed because even though I had heard all three of their voices, the quality of our conversations was sorely lacking. I felt like they all thought I didn't have time for them. I felt pulled three different ways and it didn't feel good.
I thought that feeling would leave me when my kids got older. I think back to when I worked full time, Larry worked most nights, the kids were in school/dance/soccer/theatre....getting them fed, where they needed to be on time, and trying to be interested and engaged was a constant challenge. Now they are grown, and I still feel pulled...wanting to give each "child" 100% of me when I can. Yet, they still just get a distracted fraction most of the time.
When Nicole had her accident, the world pretty much stopped. It's like time stood still as I sat in the corner of her room in the Neuro ICU at New York Presbyterian Hospital. There was nothing else vying for my time and attention. Just Nicole. I focused on her 110%. I learned then that it's possible. Back home, Joe had badly broken a finger, and it really needed surgery to re-set it. But I couldn't control that situation by phone from New York. And Nicole was in critical condition. She needed me more. I had to say a prayer that Joe could/would handle his situation on his own and forget about it. And he did.
But when the situation isn't life-threatening, their "demands" for my attention are just as important to them. I feel like I let them down when I'm not there for them like they want me to be. But I'm realizing, slowly, that I'm not letting them down. They are adults. They understand that I'm pulled several different directions at any given time. I'm realizing that the disappointment is something I'm putting on myself...and it's causing me stress. And stress kills.
So, I'm working daily on doing what I can, when I can, but not beating myself up when I can't. I'm only human. It doesn't mean that I love them any less. It just means it's time to let them figure it out on their own.
Be kind to yourself today.
Blessings to all who read this!