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Let’s Just Breathe

“Stay with me
Let’s just breathe”

Stay with me. Let's just breathe. Just Breathe was song #15 on our birthing playlist, and comes in handy in focusing on the current events.

On the deck, the sights and sounds were intoxicating.

The outside world was slightly muffled by the tall trees, and then the inside world was slightly muffled by the half-closed doorway. Still, I heard so much. Birdsong, distant construction, and car horns, maybe one mile away, or maybe five. Rider was playing with his feet on his lounger through the doorway and I heard all his soft baby noises, like sighs, and breaths, and those little infant noises of effort. “Eh, eh, eh.” Sleepless, sleepy, and like in a dream, I timed my breaths with the sways of the trees. It felt like everything at once. Where I’ve been, where I’m going, and most importantly, where I was right then (and am right now). Dreaming dreams. Breathing breaths.

And oh, how they time with the rises and the falls and the sways.

Stay with me. Let's just breathe. Just Breathe was song #15 on our birthing playlist, and comes in handy in focusing on the current events.

Anxiety symptoms and allergy symptoms can feel like COVID symptoms as well. I try to get used to it, and also fight against it, but it also gets lost in the folds and loopholes of everything weird about right now, and that’s a lot weird. It’s not just the swirling thoughts and fears and how they change, but it’s also the swirling news stories and horrors and how they change. When you mix them together, yes, we’re all just writing our own rulebooks and doing a lot of erasing, crossing out, and rewriting. Tear out the pages, rip them up; start clean on another day. Or another hour. The decisions we’ve had to make for the past year are beyond the depths of the darker parts of our imaginations. Why should now be any different? Sending the kids to school, or maybe not.

It’s more than that, though. There’s a grieving involved that I never imagined.

Stay with me. Let's just breathe. Just Breathe was song #15 on our birthing playlist, and comes in handy in focusing on the current events.

Balancing and juggling mental health against physical health against emotional health against lurking dangers – from viruses and polluted air, to computer viruses, and those polluted, toxic chats, emails, and messages. Eye strain and headaches and stress like they never knew; might never have known. We can’t really speculate on that, though. This is our now. Let’s just breathe.

They were moving away from me, even if they didn’t know it. Still young, yes, but with their lives action-packed and stacked with school, homework, after school classes, activities, sports, play dates, sleepovers, and weekends away. Not since they were babies, have they ever been this close – literally breathing down my neck at times. This virus has been breathing down our necks too. Somehow, we survive, and sometimes (maybe) thrive. Somehow, it doesn’t ruin us. That we all crave space and have been stuck together. With SO much uncertainty and trauma and total horror. I mean, so much. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t ruin us. When the swaying breezes turn to howling winds, there’s a fortress building inside and around. It only grows stronger. Sturdier.

Threatening to implode and collapse under its own weight, sure. There is always a threat.

“Yeah, I don’t want to hurt
There’s so much in this world
To make me bleed”

Stay with me. Let's just breathe. Just Breathe was song #15 on our birthing playlist, and comes in handy in focusing on the current events.

And maybe the biggest threat isn’t even COVID, if we send them back to school. It’s the mental whiplash, the push and pull, the still deepening and healing, deepening then healing, trauma. There’s the saturated sweetness of this past year together, bunkered and hunkered down – but bolstered against and with each other. Intertwined like the breeze through these swaying trees, and how they reach out to one another. The howling winds and storms form them differently, as they hunch over, but reach for one another. Exposed roots and stripped bark are facts of life. So is waiting out the storms, and being built (always rebuilding) to last. I’m amazed at how a virus or a wicked storm can fell a single tree in one snap, while others seemingly stand strong forever.

Stay with me. Let's just breathe. Just Breathe was song #15 on our birthing playlist, and comes in handy in focusing on the current events.

Often, I think back with sweetness on life before COVID. MY life before COVID. I don’t want it back. Of course I miss the freedom I thought I had, although the threats of pandemics and meteors and natural disasters are probably always lurking with a dull hum in the background. I’m not sure I miss the me then. We have a lot to grieve and answer for, and it’s not just the pandemic. It’s the variety of situations and disorders and disturbances that were already there, but now they’re freshly and hotly exposed. I can’t even fathom the mental illness impacts, on a small local level, and on a global one. I do believe, though, that most of us will prevail. We will travel and dine and hug and kiss. Things will be forever changed, and we hope that’s the case. The technology is changing, the thoughtfulness is changing, and the businesses are changing.

I am changing, and I bet you are too. We are built to adapt; to withstand.

“Oh, I’m a lucky man
To count on both hands
The ones I love
Some folks just have one
Yeah, others they got none”

It’s the breathing in and out; it’s the grieving in and out. Sometimes I can miss being pregnant so deeply that it brings me to my knees, even though it was achy and scary, and the baby now is SO healthy and SO bright-eyed and SO funny, healthy, beautiful, promising, happy. Sometimes I even miss, will miss, the first of year of this pandemic, even though it’s been achy and super scary, and yet so full of promise and fulfillment. Entire days spent in hammocks with books. This strange and saturated time together. Last night, he had a sweet nursing session before bed and kept stopping to grin at me. I snuck him downstairs for a last burst of energy with all of us.

I’m already grieving this strange and heavy loss, though it makes way for brighter days.

“Stay with me
You’re all I see”

Stay with me. Let's just breathe. Just Breathe was song #15 on our birthing playlist, and comes in handy in focusing on the current events.

The sunrise marks its arrival with the shadows of trees against our walls. Up now, over the canopies, onto tables and beams and faces. After all this time, the mornings beat to their own jagged rhythms. The clatter of dishes and eggs in a pan; Lucy jumping on the bed and then upending the cat, who was wrapped around my head. The kids open and close their secret doors, and pad across the new floors. There’s the silence of them all retreating at similar times into bedrooms and home offices. Cassidy and Lucy heading in to work. Then, the baby grins up at me and squeals; his trusting face knowing where to look and what he will find. I know it too.

I search and reach and grasp for contact. Do they know much I needed this? And need them?

“Did I say that I need you?
Oh, did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t, I’m a fool you see
No one knows this more than me
As I come clean”

Stay with me. Let's just breathe. Just Breathe was song #15 on our birthing playlist, and comes in handy in focusing on the current events.

We worry a little less these days, one by one, as loved ones get dose 1 and then dose 2, and numbers steadily fall, at least around here. We worry a little more these days, one by one, as this tight-knit, cozy, crazed, safer pod grows. We’re growing new limbs and leaves, and huddling closer to other tight-knit, cozy, crazed, safer pods. It’s a ride. Will they stay safe? Will we stay safe? How will our emotions change with the breezes, and the winds, both soft at times, and howling too? I worry until there’s nothing else to worry about, letting it catch on my breath, and then blowing it softly and silently into the abyss. To catch on a branch or two, and then fly away.

As we time our breaths with the sways of the trees, and with one another; to hold steady. Again.

Stay with me. Let's just breathe. Just Breathe was song #15 on our birthing playlist, and comes in handy in focusing on the current events.

“I wonder everyday
As I look upon your face
Everything you gave
And nothing you would take
Nothing you would take
Everything you gave”

“Just Breathe” was song #15 on our birthing playlist.

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6 Comments

  1. You summed up what this past year has felt like in one post. Honestly, everyday I have to remind myself sometimes more than once a day to breathe. Apparently if you have an Apple Watch it tells you literally when you need to breathe, so there is that, too. But honestly, this year in a word has been surreal and nothing I could have ever imagined in my wildest dreams. And still, I’d like to think we become stronger and that much better from it all (at least I’d like to hope and be on the positive side at the very least). Hugs <3

  2. I am liking the new not old me these days. I take a lot less for granted and breathing….. that’s the crux of it all. I had a family member so sick from covid that even that, breathing. I will never take it for granted again. Love your adorable family 🙂

  3. I never realized how this past year has traumatized me. When Izzy and I went to Tennessee I actually freaked out when we went to a restaurant – and we ate outside. I’m not sure when I’ll feel safe to eat indoors again, even once I’ve been vaccinated.

  4. I’ve been doing a lot of deep breathing this year. It just helps when my heart starts racing and the anxiety comes crashing in. Today it felt great to breathe outside, look toward the sun and think, “Yes, spring is coming!” I feel for all parents during this time, trying to do what is best for the kids and the teachers and the family. What a year. I’m ready to move forward!

  5. Even through our masks we must keep breathing, and remember to keep looking up with optimism, keep looking ahead, not looking back, and just keep breathing as we keep moving forward. I’m moving forward trying to leave my entire covid experience behind me. I’m finally feeling a little better. Lindsay sent me a regimen to follow when I sent birthday greetings to Parker. I’ve been faithfully following her regimen since l’ve been able to obtain all the supplements, and taking increased amounts of vitamins C, D, B complex, and zinc. Following her regimen is helping me to beat this hard hitting virus, and l’m staying on this regimen along with all the supplements l normally take for days and weeks to come. I can see small but noticeable changes in Rider almost by the week as he continues to grow!

  6. Yes, so important to breath and what a different transition this is for all of us. I truly have a more grateful heart and try to not stress over the small stuff. It is not always easy and.I have had more sleepless nights this last year than ever. Hopeful for the better times ahead!

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