By: Angela Escobar
I hadn’t realized just how dispassionate and detached I had become till my daughter came to stay with me for three weeks during the summer. It’s funny just how tolerant we come to be of our circumstances, how numb we become to life in our day-to-day routine, how complacent and comfortable we get with dullness, with the way things are…till someone comes along, till something happens to bring about a little change; just enough to stir us out of our waking slumber. And then we realize that while we may have been doing well, we weren’t feeling so well after all. We discover that things can be much better and brighter. We can feel happier. Things can be better.
I don’t know if it was the pressure of having to play hostess and entertain, but suddenly it felt as if I had a burst of energy—waking up a little earlier every morning in anticipation of enjoying those delicious egg and cheese sandwiches she always made me. I felt motivated to move—show her around town, take her to places I knew she’d enjoy. Suddenly, I felt a surge of creativity flowing through me, and we began to take up crafting and painting as we watched movies on T.V. I am Queen of the Cooking Impaired but I cooked anyway, even if we did end up only able to eat a small portion of what I called “good ol’ home-cooking”. My creativity and imagination showed their faces from behind the rocks they had been hiding behind for several months and suddenly, out of nowhere, I was inspired to try tie-dying everything we could find in white cotton, to finish my vision board, to paint on canvas. I became driven, almost determined, to get things done. In the midst of all the chaotic ups and downs that always came along with a visit from my daughter, I managed to become focused and organized, feverishly juggling all my to-dos while I tried desperately to keep things interesting for her. I somehow managed to continue cranking out some of my best work during those weeks when she lingered around the house in her sleepy face and ponytail. My good friend silence and its solemn partner solitude no longer hung in the air or loomed in the empty doorways or narrow halls of my house; more sun seemed to force its way in through the small windows and I suddenly felt I had so much to talk about that I found couldn’t stop talking at times.
I began to sing songs out loud again, the way I had when she was younger. I sang while combing her hair one night, before helping her color her hair. I couldn’t keep from bursting out in uncontrollable laughter at one point when I realized we were trying to tie-dye every white cotton garment we could get our hands on. We unsuccessfully tried eating an entire box of Ramen noodle cups I had been driving around for weeks in the back seat of my car. Sporting faces of disgust, we tossed our cups of noodles, split a box of NerdsⓇ candy and chose to play Hangman on our tablets. During our late evening walks around the neighborhood I never once worried about a stray dog jumping out of nowhere to attack us; we were indestructible. I was suddenly brave and confident, safe and calm all alone out there in the dark. I was positive that I’d be able to protect her from anything, from anyone. We celebrated a birthday for a son and brother who was no longer with us in person, but would always be present in our hearts. I made sure to fill our days with things I knew she wanted to do, and despite how hopeless our situation seemed, I somehow managed to muster up all the optimism I had buried deep in the pit of my soul, cheering her on, cheering her up, smiling through the thinning fog of sadness that I was once obliviously lost in the thick of.
The doubt that hovered endlessly before, haunting me day after day, drifted away and became smaller; no more questioning my abilities—I was competent enough. I was able. I had everything I needed to be the best mother to this beautiful, amazing girl—and more. The day I flew her back home we sat on the couch, watching late-night game shows on T.V., my arm linked around hers, my head back against the cushion, feeling simply comfortable in my own skin, comfortable existing right where I was for a moment, not needing to do anything or go anywhere. After weeks of being spun around in a storm of fun and productivity, I was finally feeling calm and relaxed. Finally, I had no need to fill the silence with talk, fill the time with activities. The storm in my head had cleared, the dust had settled, and I was feeling some sort of peace within myself, inside my heart. I was feeling like my best self. I was feeling well.
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