Mar 2, 2010

Breathe in, breathe out

Some people call it cabin fever. Some call it claustrophobia. I call it indoor agitation. We have endured a long and frigid winter with perpetual ice and snow. There have been very few days since October that have been warm enough for outdoor play or even a walk around the block. Lately I have been suffocating. Today's sunshine and warm temperatures could not have arrived at a better time.

After a restless night, a rocky morning, and a harried string of errands, it was time to get outside. No one would believe the process involved in preparing my toddler, baby, and kindergartner for a walk, so I will spare the details. I hoped we could travel five miles after all that effort, but in the melee I forgot to change my shoes, so we walked a mile and landed at the park behind our house.

The kids couldn't have been more thrilled, and while they played in the sand, I sat on a bench, soaked up the sun, and breathed.

In....and out....and in....and out. Sometimes I forget to do that, you know. The life-sustaining air consumption happens, of course, but therapeutic breaths are few and far between. I forget to stop and center and breathe in the way that relaxes my soul.

I've been having the craziest dreams every night. I am always in a panic, having forgotten something important. In one dream I have to take a final exam for a class I didn't know I was enrolled in. I can't believe I have forgotten to go to class all semester, and that I don't have any notes to study for the big test. There's no way I will pass, and then I will fail the class and lose my scholarship and not graduate. I race around endlessly, trying to find someone to help me.

In another dream I am having a baby I didn't know was coming. My mom calls one day to ask when she can come help me -- she needs to buy a plane ticket and I need to make a plan. I am surprised to be pregnant, but distressed that the baby has had no prenatal care. I don't know if it's a boy or girl, or even if it is healthy. I can't believe I couldn't feel it kicking me. We don't have a crib or clothes or a car seat or a name.

Last night I dreamed about going back to school after a long absence. I am married, but Gavin and Lexi are my only children. I am moving into an apartment with five other girls, and they are all the children of my former roommates. I am the last to arrive, so I get the crappy bed and the highest shelves and don't have space in the fridge for my food. The apartment is crazy; I can't believe there isn't any privacy so I can nurse my baby. And I am completely unprepared for school. I don't have a computer or a pillow or a towel. I don't have a course schedule or any books for my classes. Garry is wandering around with Gavin in a stroller, trying to find me. I can see him, but he can't see me. It is a completely hopeless situation.

With all that is going on in my brain at night, it's no wonder I'm exhausted during the day. But today's brisk walk and park outing gave me the boost I needed to finish this day. The glorious sun in the sky and the warmth on my skin soothed my soul.

And, once more, I can breathe.
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