Every single time.
The sight of the salty waves lapping at sand, rock, or cliff around my native state is a balm for heart and soul. I’ve gone to the ocean with friends and lovers, and spent many hours on the beach with my dog. I’ve rushed to the ocean with a spirit so broken I feared I’d never be whole again. But then I’m there, with gulls soaring in the air that stirs my hair, and I understand the curative properties of the sea.
I didn’t get sleep last night. My husband worked until midnight and I woke up when he came in. Despite the fistful of melatonin I’d gobbled before bed, I couldn’t fall back to sleep no matter how I turned or breathed or what I chanted.
But let me back up.
My son had a tantrum before bed. In general he’s doing a lot better with his behavior. We’ve seen some maturity. Sometimes he even puts himself in a time out under the covers of his bed instead of lashing out at us. So, progress is being made. Baby steps. . .
But he had this tantrum and it rattled my cage. So, in the middle of the night, there I was, restless, unable to sleep, and freaking myself out questioning how I’d gone wrong in raising this little boy.
But let me back up again.
Jack has got in trouble at school. Not big trouble or anything, but the teacher wrote us a couple times to say he said something inappropriate, etc. Jack’s side of the story is that kids are picking on him, and that they look for any little thing to tell on him and get him into trouble. His teacher is
a bit of a rigid bitch old school, and Jack has a hard time speaking up for himself, so I can both sides of the situation. But Jack is my KID, so if he is getting picked on, my big, bad mama bear buttons will be pressed.
Jack comes home like a ticking time bomb at the end of the day. Common Core (the new and improved way of educating our children) is definitely from the seventh circle of hell, IMHO. He sits there “learning” all day, and then comes home with all sorts of pent up energy, frustration, and angst. Having social issues with his peers is not helpful. And since they don’t really get a chance to practice their social skills through play or exploration, it is extra-not-helpful.
But to go back even further, I should let you know I’ve been having this weird pain in my abdomen- a piercing stab to the right and above my navel, under my rib. It comes on in a dramatic pop when I sneeze, laugh, or stretch. It’s gotten worse over the past six months or so, and I haven’t had it checked.
So, there I was in the middle of the night, wide awake and fuming about being wide awake. I started worrying about Jack, and before I knew it I was in a full-blown panic attack with racing heart and everything, convincing myself that the pain in my side was some sort of giant tumor or ulcer.
I decided to go to the doctor today, which requires me to take a half day out of work, since my doctor is at the opposite end of the state from my job. I was in a tizzy about canceling my clients and using benefit time, but I knew I needed to see her.
It takes an hour to get there, which is about as far as you can drive in my state without reaching another state. My doctor used to be a lot closer and more conveniently located, but she moved offices about three years ago. I love her and she is a wonderful physician, so I go the distance.
She palpated me, ordered an ultrasound, hugged me and gave me a script for some sleeping pills.
I left feeling better. The ultrasound is in two weeks. My doctor doesn’t think it is anything serious. Maybe just a hernia. No biggles.
But let’s get back to the ocean.
Since my doctor’s office is about ten minutes away from the ocean, I took the drive and parked by the sea wall. My mind argued with me the whole time, telling me I should be getting the kids from daycare and racing home to make dinner. But as I stepped out of the car, the ocean sang to me. Take a walk, it said. Self care is important and the world will not stop turning if you take a walk.
So I did.
I walked along the sea wall and it was a blissful release valve to the pressure cooker of my tortured head. With hardly a cloud in the sky, I could see across the bay to the islands, and miles out over the ocean to the thin horizon where sky met sea. The water was calm and glassy, gently rattling the round rocks at the base of the sea wall.
My neurosis blew away on the breeze. It was a mental massage.
The drive home was relaxing. I filled my prescription. Then I picked up greasy take out without a care in the world, rationalizing the fat and calories by telling myself I would cut up apple slices to serve with it.
My husband picked up the kids and we met up at home. They played outside and came in with flushed, happy faces, greeted me with hugs.
We ate burgers, nuggets, and fries (and apple slices) together, then spent the rest of the night reading stories, since Jack had lost his TV privileges for that tantrum. It was tranquil.
And all the while, in the back of my mind, I hear those gentle waves. My heart wiggles a bit, as though I’ve just fallen in love for the first time and nothing else could ever get me down.