Returning to The Center

You know when you feel like crying but you don’t, you suck it up, you dab your eyes, distract yourself by talking to strangers like the man standing next to you in the TSA line at JFK flying home to Barbados for his father’s funeral or the elderly gentleman who is your age that you discover lives a couple of blocks from you and you wonder, “Could I date him?” And then you wait 45 more minutes in the packed pre-COVID security line, and wisely avoid the 40-minute Starbucks line, then go into the shop that sells Brighton jewelry and everything reminds you of the love you feel for the person you just left and you impulsively think buying the silver heart pendant will soothe your aching heart, but realize there’s no price tag  to this pain you want to avoid so you skip it and the smother-the-pain shopping tendency. Then you Facetime your daughter to see her face and your granddaughter’s and realize the overhead speaker, “Flight 2123 is now boarding rows A and B,”  is too loud and you can’t hear them anyway and besides Millie’s moved on, doesn’t miss you and is distracted reading books so you hang up and that only makes you feel worse. 

Run-on sentences be gone! 

It’s over. It’s not. What was, isn’t. What’s to come, will be. What’s now, tap, tap, tapping on my keyboard mid-flight, is what I have. Present tense.

Breathe through your nose through the mask. Breathe out. 


The hum of the jet flying over Lake Michigan. 

Thoughts.

Words.

Thoughts.

A melody.

.

Center.

Center.

Return to the center.

That is what space does for me. Backing up. Sitting down. Not doing. Being present. Being grounded while flying in turbulent space. 

A cup of tea, please, with milk. Hot, really hot, and black, English.

Quenching. 

My parents. The cinderblock framed backyard on Spreckles Lane. Their eyes. Mom’s belted  pastel pink cotton print dress. Dad’s tanned carpenter’s skin and big toothy smile. My first training wheel-bike from Sears under the aluminum Christmas tree with blue lights—oh so modern, oh so American. Fast forward to Paulina Avenue, insecurities, family fights, self-doubt, self-loathing. The chubby girl gets chubbier. High school: Diet-it-down, change gears, discover inner gifts, celebrate emerging self-awareness and potential. Basketball star/smart guy first boyfriend. Moving on. College, journalism, then the big screwup, marry the bad guy, pregnant times three, finally leaves, returns to center, returns to writing, journalism, meets the nice guy, marries, third baby (the one who just had a boy baby), tries her best, but Marriage Two is not to be. Teaches, for 18 years, in the middle of which her kids become adults, her dad dies and she becomes a grandma, then retires. 

One paragraph. My life so far. 151 words encapsulated 35,000 feet above Iowa. The good, the bad and the ugly , sparing the lavish details and sensory description. Which leads me back to the person I was the moment I was born. Just like wee Hudson, three weeks old today. I can already tell he is a fun-ster. Happy. Easy-going, but not a push over. Big-hearted. Smart. And very intuitive. And did I mention, handsome. Oh, he’s gonna be a cutie. Just like his Mama!

Me, I’m sensitive, creative, fun, friendly, intuitive and hopeful. These qualities are at my center, my core. Which means that no matter what else is going on, whether it’s cooking, gardening, teaching or writing stories for the newspaper, I do it from a position of optimism.   

Naturally, I stray. I get in a funk. I don’t take care of myself carving daily me time. But I’m working on it. Because when I remember who I am on the inside, through creative activities, visiting with friends and family, being in Nature, praying, then I get lost. And when I’m lost, I’m not myself. I get sick. I get grumpy. I eat unhealthy foods and don’t feel like exercising. I dwell on the sad and get lost in the negative, like leaving New York and Katie and the babies. 

Center.

Returning to my core reminds me of my strength, my connection to Truth, to God, to Love. 

Fortified.

Grateful to be here, now. On my way to there. 

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