Do you ever feel overwhelmed by panic and go into total meltdown? It happened to my granddaughter Jasper yesterday, and to me this morning. Fortunately, we both recovered in short order. I guess we have what psychologists these days are fond of calling resilience or hardiness. Mine is hard won over many decades, and often tenuous. I hope hers is more intrinsic.
At least one day a week, I drive down to Woodstock to care for my granddaughters. I usually take Jasper, a cheerful and rambunctious three -year-old, to McDonalds, where she loves playing in the enormous play tower with other kids. Yesterday, in pursuit of an older boy, she climbed up to the very top, where she’d never been before.
All at once I heard shrill screams – “Grandma, Grandma!” At first I ignored them – the majority of the adults there are grandmas – but then I realized it was Jasper. I couldn’t see her, and my first fear was that she was stuck in the purple slide tunnel – an opaque cylindrical shoot. Disastrous, if true, because I was afraid of getting stuck if I had to crawl up. But finally I spied her standing in the window of the highest plastic bubble, shrieking and sobbing uncontrollably. I waved and began calling out in what I hoped was a reassuring voice, trying to talk her down, concealing my panic at the prospect of climbing the tower myself.
At last she managed to scramble down and make it back to the table and her unfinished Happy Meal. Regaining her composure, she said, “I want to go right now.” I tried coaxing her into staying – the old “get right back on the horse after it throws you” approach – but she was adamant. Once we were in the car, though, she presented me with an alternative: she wanted to go to Small World, an enormous outdoor playground with wooden fortresses, slides, and towers.
“But it’s raining,” Grandma Julie said. “You’ll get soaked.”
“I don’t care! I wanna go to Small World!”
“There won’t be any other kids to play with.”
“That’s okay. I wanna play by myself.”
Actually it was only drizzling slightly, so I relented, realizing she needed to prove something to herself. We spent a pleasant half hour in the warm spring mist, Jasper running and climbing the tallest towers, and me hunkered down in one of the fortresses, studying WordPress for Dummies.
Now, what about my own meltdown? I’ll give you the option to stop here or read more.
I’m overwhelmed by clutter – one of my lifelong problems, exacerbated by the fact that in 2001, my husband and I downsized to a smaller house than we’re used to, with square footage about a third of that I used to enjoy in my SoHo loft. What with my writing, my various visual arts and my hoarding of old books, I’m dangerously disorganized.
Today I’d scheduled a lunch date at which I was to return something to a friend (I’ll keep the specifics vague, since this is one of my therapeutic rants.) My husband came up to help me look in a spare room, which is painted Pepto Bismol pink, and which I’ll need to clean out before our older granddaughter Kaya comes to visit this summer. We rapidly got to shouting about all my “junk” (aka art work and supplies.) The cats rapidly picked up on our vibes and got into a squalling catfight of their own.
I didn’t find the missing thingie, so I called the friend to inform him of the fact and to say I’d be glad to have lunch anyway.
“No, that’s okay,” he said. “Why don’t we wait and have lunch after you find the &*#@%, so we can celebrate and put this behind us.”
“Sounds good,” I said. “But it may be awhile. I thought it would be behind the old mattress frame we finally moved out, and now I have no idea where it is.”
“Well, I’ll expect it this Sunday.”
At this point I went ballistic, and I could feel my blood pressure shooting up. As I posted not long ago, I’m at the point where I can by and large cut negative people out of my life. And another one’s gone, and another one’s gone, and another one bites the dust, as the song says.
I’m feeling better already, sitting here blogging, listening to the birds singing while my cat Lunesta dozes beside me. We’re both calmer now.
I’m also learning more every day about WordPress. This is the first time I used the “more” command to jump to another page, and the formatting tools under the “kitchen sink” item to indent dialogue. And I like the idea of breaking off the blog in the middle, then saving some of the more personal stuff for the continuation. What do you all think? Has anyone read this far?