Friday, September 14, 2007

Recovery from a bad mood... there are other forms of currency

We all have our crosses to bear, our challenges, our private struggles...

So, now that it is in the past, I can explain yesterday's bad mood. This is fairly off-topic, but I feel moved to write it, since it may help anyone out there who finds something useful here, or feels moved to say something that may help me!

The need to earn a living and keep things going often distracts us enough to force all of these little precious moments to the bottom of our priority lists. Sometimes things just come to a head, and it feels like your life is exploding in one big blast. In reality, it can just be the way you FEEL about an event that is truly minor, in the grand scheme.

Just to set the scene, a day in my life typically goes like this:

6:45 - Everybody up!
7:35 - Take daughter to school, and hubby to subway
8-10 - Breakfast, showers, misc.
10:00 - Son has Occupational therapy (3 days)- I participate
10:30 - 2:30 - Son play, nap, lunch, I make phone calls or organize
2:30 - Daughter home from school
3:20 - Son has physical therapy (2 days)- I participate
4:15 - Son has speech therapy (3 days) - I participate 2/3 times
5:00 - 7PM Son has ABA therapy for 2 hours(5 days)- I don't participate
5:00 - 8PM Homework and dinner happen during this time, followed by son's dinner
8 - 8:30 Son goes to bed, daughter has quiet time with Daddy
9-midnight and/or 3-6AM - laundry, my own work, organizational stuff, tasks, whatever

*note: All therapies happen at home.

This past Tuesday, Sept. 11th, I turned on the TV, and the endless coverage of the names being read was a bit of a downer, so I turned it off...

Let's go back in time. Here's the history of that day in 2001 for me.

On September 11th, 2001 I was working full time for a legal publishing firm in Manhattan, and my hours were 11AM-7PM because I was in charge of a west coast territory. My typical morning was to rise at about 7AM, work on my own business (As You Wish), for a few hours, and leave to hop on the subway to work at about 10:20. I was 8 1/2 mos pregnant, but feeling healthy and energetic.

My husband left for work at about 8:45, getting on the subway to head downtown to work. His job was very near the World Trade Center. I turned the TV on at 9:14 (we had satellite TV then) and saw what that day was becoming. First... the "What? A plane crashed into a building?", then... "another plane?"

I called the job and left a message for my boss, saying I was taking the day off, since I knew transportation would be screwed up, and I had an OBGYN appointment that afternoon... called the office and spoke to a coworker, until the first tower fell, and everything went nuts. The days following were a blur - my husband's office was shut down for a time, I was having false contractions, I was worried about the future, and my daughter didn't seem to want to leave the womb. My brother was helping clean up the WTC site, and my nephew, who was in the military at the time, was cleaning up debris and body parts at the Pentagon.

In the weeks, months and years that followed, I have truly become aware of how connected we all are, and how wonderfully generous and honest people are. I have really felt the heartbeat of my native city ever since, in a way I couldn't really feel before.

Skip to six years later... our daughter is a bright and happy almost six-year-old,


and our son is a rambunctious 2-year-old,


my business has grown, my husband now works in a renovated building right next to the WTC hole, and we are all living with the awareness, but not daily fear, of terrorism.

I want to remember that day, but celebrate the fact that things have changed so much since then, so I decided to think about my glove project a bit. I was really happy to think that 6 years ago, I wouldn't have thought that my day could be spent loving my kids and working on something as simple and unnecessary as a completely hand-stitched glove. I was just feeling really thankful - for everything.

My daily schedule is challenging, to say the least, but I have it under control, and the only projects I can accept, are the ones I can work into my life without too much trouble.

I was appreciating the freedom to be a bit silly, and had finished a small project for a client who greatly appreciated it. It was a "heart project", as I call them -- the kind of project I would have happily done for free, since it meant so much to the person who commissioned it. She told me she loved it, and was very happy.

So, Tuesday was a good day.

Wednesday, I went to see a broker for a new apartment. We live in a house now, but we need a place that is handicapped-accessible (NO STAIRS!), since my son has special needs, and he is getting to heavy to carry everywhere. Saw a great place.

Thursday (yesterday), I had to run some more paperwork over to the broker's office, and was hoping the broker would meet me outside, but since he didn't answer his phone, I had to traverse a steeply inclined parking lot, with my son on my hip, and no handicapped parking! Exhausted and sweaty, I get inside, and am told that it is no longer available. Incredibly frustrating, since finding handicapped accessible places in New York City is a very tough prospect, and getting there to see it felt like such a waste of time, energy and money.

Looked at my bank account, and the balance was unexpectedly lower than it should have been. The check from my "heart project" client bounced. No comment from my client. Good grief, I can't decide if I want to chase an elderly woman around for the money - I like to think that maybe she just made an honest mistake. This is something that I really would have done for free, if that were the deal - but it wasn't! I take personal checks because my experiences have shown me that the people who approach me for projects, and talk to me heart-to-heart, are honest, and I have NO TIME for extra stuff these days. It is just faster and easier than anything else.

I had an unexpected charge on my account as well, which I had made days ago, but forgot about. The charge went through, but I was charged for the overdraft it created, so now I have actually PAID to make that "heart project"!

Feeling frustrated, I start yesterday's blog entry, stating that I was in a miserable mood.

Yesterday evening, the broker found a better apartment, same location, better price, better space, better configuration. We put in the paperwork, so if all goes according to plan, it's ours. Yay!

My son starts babbling excessively. Enormous progress with his speech. No idea what he's saying, but it is clear -- there are words in there!

There are new posts on my guestbook from my Dad's cancer blog, written years ago, telling me that the site has helped them. Even now, people dealing with cancer and losing loved ones are finding comfort in it.

A package arrives in the mail, and it is a lovely lunchbox and bookbag for my daughter, courtesy of my mom-in-law. My daughter loves it, and is absolutely ecstatic!

So, small things can really make a day wonderful. Even when the $ currency goes wrong, there is always "heart" currency.

If this post bummed you out, my son and daughter both find this particular scene from Tom & Jerry hilarious. So do I. If you need a good laugh, click the link, and it out.

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