OK. So I’m late in posting this week, but there’s been politics and skating that’s occupied me most the day. We’ll begin to work our way through bubble wrap and BYOP by starting with Bette Midler who does a great interview in which she wonders out loud if she’s becoming her parents now that she makes sounds whenever getting in or out of a car. I second her emotion.
For me, one of the highlights of having come through a long day is being able to relax supine in my recliner. But such bliss comes with trade-offs. One of mine seems to be the inescapable role atrophy serves as the period at the end of a sentence that had been my temporary nirvana. Put simply, the more time I pass with my feet up, the harder it is to to get up when the inevitable call of Nature arrives on the doorstep of my brain.
So the plot goes something like this: After struggling a bit to exit my position of reclining comfort, I get myself to the point of sitting up on the edge of the chair. After a pause, I take a breath, put my hands on my knees and push myself to a standing upright position. A sound of Success.
The other night as I paused a moment to both assure and celebrate my equilibrium, I heard the spokesman for the peanut gallery chime in from his place on the couch, “Weebles wobble….”. While the playful giggle in his observation held no malice, I still felt led to shoot a quick and sarcastic roll of the eyes in his general direction. Translated? ‘Thank you so much for that wry little bit of humor!’
Anyone who has lived long enough with their spousal unit can appreciate the short-hand, the inescapable tag lines that flow out of what you know about the other.
While it was a light moment, what his remark really indicates is just how much he knows about the work-arounds I’ve adapted as a consequence of my accident. Accidents leave scars to be sure, but in my case, my scars cover a skeleton that was intensely reworked because of my fall. Ask the lady that hems my pants. Seems that in all the ‘doing’ the orthopedic surgeons did in an effort to get me to a place I could walk again, a whole lot of subtracting had gone into the process. So much minusing that even today, when I stand straight up, my left leg can swing forward and back without touching the floor while the right leg holds the whole me up as it looks on in envious admiration.
But not being willing to drop it just yet, it wasn’t but a moment when I followed up with, “Yeah, the older I get, the more bubble wrap I’m going to need.” In that moment, I had a thought I’d never put together before! In the beginning, I had grown up in a bubble and in the end, I’d be bubble wrapped for my own protection.
I get it. Bubble wrapping me in my early life was intended to keep me safe from the big, bag outside world of evil and sin. But it had an intended other purpose. Bubble wrap kept me splinted and immobile while the koolaid of a sociopath was brought to my lips. Drink. Scars. And for awhile it wasn’t my fault. I had little say in response to all those messages of not being good enough, being a vile and bad boy who was punished every time his bubble keepers caught whiff of any idea I might even entertain of ever being destined for a life different than the dark one I had come to terms with living in their shadow.
But as I grew into adulthood, all that nasty imprinting gained a new and formidable ally. Namely, Me. In looking back at those early years, my detractors couldn’t have found a better person to perpetuate their mission of pain than me. And I don’t think my lot was any worse than many others. Down deep, I think lots of little kids like me grow up thinking, ‘that’s my mom and she knows better. So maybe she’s right and I’m not‘. And so it goes…
But flash back to my surgeons. The business of learning to walk didn’t really begin in earnest till the day the casts and splints started coming off. As much as it hurt to reactivate the atrophied muscles that ran my legs, it was so much easier to get up without the weight of all that had been installed to protect and promote my healing.
With all that now out in the landscape, enter another flash pot of truth, Jillian on Biggest Loser. We were watching this past week’s episode of the popular reality television show as Jillian was trying to get to the bottom of contestant Tanya’s relationship with her mother [who never said a kind word to her] and food. To make a very simple observation even shorter, it went something like this: “You want a better parent than the one you got? Try this. Bring your own. Be your own parent. Take care of yourself like the parent you’d wished you’d had”. DING! BYOP.
Be your own parent.
Looking down the road far enough, I can see bubble wrap clothing. Just the picture of me, as a senior citizen wearing bubble wrap can be as suddenly so plausible as any other outcome.
So the other night, I’m in the kitchen doing the dishes. In and out – the top dishwasher rack gets pulled in and out as I execute the mission. I see the stemmed wine glass moving in a top heavy fashion, but I’m careful. I’m good at doing the dishes.
Cut to slow motion video of wine glass breaking into lots of pointy pieces scattering in their shrapnel pattern across the floor. As I stood there in a frozen rage, I could hear myself yelling “Stupid. Stupid.”. I said more, but that’s not the point because in that moment, from the other room, I heard, “Is that being your own parent?”.
In that moment of interrupt, I knew he was right. And I knew what to do with the information.
“No. No, it wasn’t. How about this one, ‘You OK?’”.
“Yeah. I like that one better.”
Tanya’s light went on when she realized she could hire in another parent other than the one she’d been reeling from for years. I get it. I remember the moment I realized that I was the one who now had the choice to make.
That was then. But what’s this?
This, is now.
In a blinding instant, I saw Tanya learning everything she was going to need to know about being the parent she needed. Now. In a maddeningly precise microcosm, my wine glass moment was showing me something too. I had seen the troubling signs of movement in the upper glass rack. In gallantly proposing to ignore the very real possibility that wine glasses will break upon impact what I was really doing was running a red light in Nature’s intersection. Focused on getting done, I was too abrupt in pulling the rack out just one more time. Glass flies. Sound.
I know, I know. This is all very profound and thanks for playing. Here’s your merit badge. Now, run along home.
No. What I had not anticipated about the difference of being mindful in changing my ‘speak’, was how quickly I can settle myself down. The weeble exchange helped me catch myself in an old behavior and then, do different. So I took my breath, put my hands on my knees and stood up. Time to get about the business of cleaning the whole thing up. No big deal. Lesson learned and tuition paid.
I see optimism in the most unexpected places. And I see it far more often than I remember from around this time last year. Maybe more of us are seeing what looks like smoother sailing in our more immediate futures. Steps, baby steps, but steps all the same. But aren’t all the steps what a full and vital life is all about? Even baby steps.
So yes. When I’m old and house-bound, I will likely be encased in a bubble wrap garment of some sort. And while I fantasize about having members of the Swedish volleyball team there to help me get around the house, it’s likely going to be me, Rick and a large roll of bubble wrap. But not yet.
I don’t need no stinking bubble wrap. I like standing up. It feels a little weird, but I like it. I like feeling good about stretching my legs again. It feels good to have found a great group of people I really enjoy working with. Insurance. Loyalty. Purpose.
So many of you show me your own unique sense of hopeful honesty…a spirit of grace that can not be counterfeited even when everything feels like it has gotten caught up in a rushing torrent of swirling white water. So I’m going with it…good to be here. Whether it’s me riding waves or finding you in a spot where your job is to be thankful for the moment, saying thank-you for the scenery in front of you, there is a powerful peace to be granted when you know the You I need from Me is already here.
Easy as ABC. Sounds good to me.
FOXBOROUGH TEEN WHO BATTLED PROGERIA DIES.
Berns was focus of documentary on aging illness
By James Sullivan | GLOBE CORRESPONDENT JANUARY 11, 2014 “Sam Berns was scheduled to serve as an honorary captain at Saturday night’s New England Patriots playoff game. Instead, the team planned to hold a moment of silence before the game in his honor. The Foxborough high school student, whose battle with progeria inspired a monumental effort to treat the rare and little-understood “accelerated aging” disease, died at home Friday night from complications of the disorder, his parents by his side, according to a family friend. He was 17.
When Berns was diagnosed with progeria as a toddler, doctors told his family he might not live past 13. His parents, Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns, both doctors, worked to further understanding of the disease. Gordon began a research campaign that brought children with progeria to Boston from all over the world.
In 2003, she and her team isolated the gene that causes the condition, and they have since identified drug treatment that has helped prolong lives of children such as her son.
Their work on behalf of progeria patients is the subject of the feature film “Life According to Sam,” which was recently shortlisted for a nomination in the Academy Awards’ documentary category. The exposure has brought widespread recognition and a fund-raising windfall to the Progeria Research Foundation, a nonprofit based in Peabody, established and directed by Sam’s aunt, Audrey Gordon…”
(February 26, 1928 – January 11, 2014)
ARIEL SHARON DIES AFTER 8-YEAR FIGHT FOR HIS LIFE
By HERB KEINON, GIL HOFFMAN LAST UPDATED: 01/11/2014 21:46 “Netanyahu calls former PM ‘courageous warrior,’ lauds his ‘central role in the struggle for the security of Israel’ • Body to lie in state at Knesset today • State funeral planned for tomorrow at Negev ranch.
Sharon, one of the most important and controversial figures in Israel’s history, died on Saturday afternoon at Sheba Medical Center at the age of 85.
Sharon, who fought terrorists in his military career and rivals in politics, lost the final battle for his health more than eight years after the stroke that ended his six decades of public service…”
RONALD LOUIS “Ron” ZIEGLER
(May 12, 1939 – February 10, 2003)
RON ZIEGLER, 63, PRESS SECRETARY FOR NIXON, DIES.
SAN DIEGO — “Ron Ziegler, the combative former press secretary to President Nixon who famously called the Watergate break-in a “third-rate burglary,” died yesterday of a heart attack, his wife said. He was 63.
Ziegler died at his home in Coronado, a suburb of San Diego, said his wife, Nancy.
Ziegler functioned as the point man for an administration under fire, the president’s strident defender until the public release of the Watergate tapes made it clear that Nixon and his top aides had engaged in a vast cover-up.
As Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein tied the scandal to top officials in the Nixon administration, Ziegler routinely dismissed their reports as inaccurate.
The first denials came two days after the break-in…”
SOURCES, PHOTO CREDITS and ATTRIBUTIONS:
Banner Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission.
la-z-boy-recliner-vintage:https://thepoliticalcarnival.net/2014/01/05/former-florida-gop-chairman-now-sells-la-z-boy-recliners/; Horseshoe announces Bette Midler: http://www.nwitimes.com/entertainment/columnists/offbeat/horseshoe-announces-bette-midler-smashing-pumpkins-among-names-coming-to/article_260db402-4e9d-5c34-9456-a4f15aa3859a.html; joey1: http://www.buzzmove.com/blog/7-top-tips-for-packing-when-moving-home/; JillianMichaelsleaving: http://www.buddytv.com/articles/the-biggest-loser/jillian-michaels-to-leave-the-38867.aspx; tanya_winfield: http://www.nbc.com/the-biggest-loser/contestants/?par=The%20Biggest%20Loser|Home|Site%20Nav|Contestants|null|1; Sweden-Flag: http://www.altiusdirectory.com/Travel/sweden-flag.php; dr.-seuss from Jeremiah Fishback (A WordPress Blogger): http://www.jeremfishback.com/blog1/2012/05/26/the-importance-of-being-yourself/
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