Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Sorely-Needed Ass-Kicking what I got yesterday.

(warning: profanity to follow, dear Rabbi!)

It's no secret that December 2006 was the mother of all sh*tty months in my life to date. As a result of that whole existential drama regarding my health, I had kind of lost my mojo. I just couldn't seem to find the core of my confidence in the aftermath of spending so much effing scary time in the hospital. I was starting to want to cancel things already underway, avoid things in the planning stages, and essentially make no future plans for fear of having to break them. It was my own little slice of self-induced self-pitying hell and I couldn't figure out how to get out of it, not to mention couldn't figure out if I even *wanted* to get out of it.

Then along come the two people who make me question everything: Bambina and my father.

Bambina is now totally into seeing her baby pictures. She loves to talk about what she did when she was a baby, what her first words were, how much she made messes or cried or crawled or whatever. She just wants to know. So I sit her up on a chair and we go through all of her baby photos on my laptop, from Day One in China all the way through last week. She can't get enough of seeing all of her photos from China. So yesterday I was going through her narrative: here we are on the bus on the way to meet you. Here is the photo of you being placed in my arms. See mama crying because I'm so happy. See your cute pink hat? Mama sent that for you when I saw your picture for the first time. Here we are with your nannies who took care of you. Oh! Here you are asleep in my arms. There you are asleep again. Here you are back at the hotel, on the laptop, under the table, at the zoo in Guangzhou...

As I was doing our little slideshow for the third time, I just happened to look at her as she was devouring the photo of her with a camel at the zoo. I felt so freakin' lucky to have been given the love and devotion of this little girl and couldn't believe that I'd ever be so in the mental soup that I'd ever imagine not doing anything--anything--for her. I then heard myself say in my mind, "You need to get on your f*ckin' bike, Mrs!" For those of you who do not speak "wee fat scotsman," that means it's time to "man up." Time to get off your butt, out of the pity party, and get to work or wherever it is that you're supposed to be, but not here.

Now, here's the thing. I say "get on your bike" as a joke, but I never actually use it in the way it's intended seriously. And, notwithstanding my written effings here on the Haggis, I never utilize the F word in front of my kid, even in my mind. It just doesn't usually come into my mind when she's around. So my theory, which you can feel free to chalk up to the ravings of a girl missing her Dad, is that the thought came straight from the man himself.

I was thinking about it last night. I don't miss my dad in a terrible, hurting way every day. I miss him, I think about him every day, but it doesn't hurt. It just is. I think I'm so at peace with him being gone--and yet still here--since the Angelina Jolie incident, that I don't feel like I have to hurt in order to feel him. In some ways, him being gone made some of my scarier days in the hospital that much easier, partly because he'd have been unbearable to live with if he'd been alive and worried, ;) and partly because I just felt him so close to me the entire time. And knowing that someone can be physically gone but still able to be felt and perceived when you need it most, is the most comforting feeling in the world.

Which is what brings me to yesterday's ass-kicking. I think my Dad has been watching my recent mental retreat with no small amount of concern. If there was one thing that motivated my Dad, it was his family. Whether it was working 3 or 4 jobs at once, riding a motorcycle in all kinds of weather because he couldn't afford a car and couldn't get between jobs on time via bus, moving us from Scotland on faith, working until he looked significantly older than his years so we could go to college--and finally--hanging onto life until the precise moment when the rabbi told him that his work here on earth was done and he could safely let go knowing he had set the stage for all of us to succeed and be happy. I know that he would have gone to the wall for us no matter what, and that there was nothing he considered more important than his wife and kids.

So why the hell is his daughter sitting around wondering what to cancel next? Why the hell is she opting out of opting in, wondering what's the point, feeling like it's over before it's over? It's not over! It's never over! Why am I not running down every single g*ddamned cure or treatment there is? Why am I not demanding treatments from my doctors so that monthlong medical dramas not occur? Why am I just somehow letting this crap happen to me, rather than--well--getting on my g*ddamned bike and living the life I've been given?! The life I've been given with the blessing and responsibility of an amazing toddler human being who doesn't care whether I'm in a surgical mask or ballgown? Whether I can only sit and do play-doh today rather than run around the statue in the park? She doesn't care. She just needs to know that I'm here--and that I'm going to be here.

And I just need to make that happen.

So, call it what you will, but I call it a sorely-needed ass-kicking from the only guy who knows how to deliver it with that little bit of Scottish zing: because when your Dad uses the F word, you know you'd better start pedaling.

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