My family has begun tossing around the phrase me time, after my mother asked my dad to go somewhere, anywhere, for a couple of hours so she could have some me time alone in the house (one day he sat in the YMCA parking lot facing my house and read a book because he thought the senior citizens center was closed, and he didn't want to get out of the car, and indeed it is a struggle, or bother anyone).
Apparently my me time is between 4-5:00 a.m. and around 7-8 on vacation days. Today me time started at 3:45 a.m. or maybe is it just a counter balance to the family time we've been having. Pat and I hosted four of the millenials in the family from the 21st through the 26th. Then two of the millennials were replaced the 27th with the arrival of the heralded Florida millennials. We have spent countless hours at my parent's house eating, laughing and playing games. Notice I didn't mention arguing. That was a hard word to spell!
I have and only will work one day between the 21st and January 2nd to spend time with family. The early morning me time affords me the pleasure of a quiet house, reordering the kitchen, catching up on bills, or blogging and Facebooking. Yesterday Chuck came over at 6:15 a.m. to try to get his 1984 Mercedes running, a diesel engine that to all appearances doesn't like cold weather, so I did have some company!! This endeavor involved space heaters, much maneuvering, and eventually a tow to a warm garage. He did arrive safely back in Indiana, luckily, and only a day late.
It is wonderful to see everyone; the first time I have laid eyes on Eli and Hannah since August. Funnily, when Eli walked in, it didn't seem that long ago, nor when Hannah walked in a bit later. I took this week off specifically to be available when they are. They have a lot of people to see on their short visit so I want to be home when they are.
We have been lighting the Always and Forever candles for Adam so he can be with us. Already it has been a Christmas to remember, but the me time sure is nice!
It got me again. My uber -talented nephew Ethan was doing a piano performance at Wesley Village where my parents live entitled "Bach to Tackett." Grandma gave it the boss title, and Ethan nailed it with selections from Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussey, Copeland, his jazz repertoire, original pieces and ending with "Christmas Melody" arranged by his truly.
About 8 residents and 9 Vick relations gathered in the chapel. Ethan introduced each piece (several times in progressively louder decibels to appease the audience, namely Grandma), and even gave a brief music history lesson when one of the elder ladies shouted out, "Beethoven was blind, wasn't he?"
Ethan prefacing one his original pieces with something along the lines of, "This song is called I Will Wait for You and it's about when you lose someone you love. This song is very special to me," was enough to start the flow. I'm so proud of him and how amazing it is that he can write and sing such beautiful music and not break down himself. He sang at Adam's memorial and Eli and Hannah's rehearsal dinner, choking everyone up. I didn't look at anyone else yesterday, but I'm pretty sure it socked the nine of us family members in the gut. The elder ladies must have wondered what was going on.
It snowed this morning and we are having nice family time. We had a Willy Wonka marathon last night, a private family yoga session, a walk at Veterans Park, and of course, strawberry making. I am going to bake my almost famous "Poppy Seed Delight" bread and try a new casserole, Cinnamon Roll French Toast. I wouldn't say I am "bah humbug" but I didn't put up a tree or stockings or do much shopping. The spirit of Christmas is still alive, and Adam lives in our hearts this year and always.
Plans to shop and dine with Cal today were cancelled due to his coming down with a flu. I decided I wanted to drop off a care package anyway. When Pat balked I said, "I won't be able to do this forever, someday he will have someone else to take care of him." So off I went like Little Red Riding Hood to deliver homemade candies, banana bread, soup and Dunkin Donuts 1.5 hours away.
On the way I conjured up different memories of traveling this route, mostly in the wake of Adam's death, to visit the boys. I also tried to imagine what Adam's state of mind was after Christmas 2015 that led to his suicide. It wasn't terribly painful, surprisingly.
I surprised Cal at his door, but I think he was happy. I did his laundry, changed his bedding, took out the garbage, washed dishes, helped hang a picture, picked up some quarters and some Sprite at the gas station, and we managed to talk as well. He had a couple of personal blows recently, but handled them well. Life continues to throw curveballs at us all.
We discussed Stranger Things, and I forgot to tell him ever since I started watching, my bathroom lights have been flickering so maybe Adam is trying to communicate with me...or it could the new electrical system we had installed. You gotta watch the show.
I had a feeling I would hear the song Africa today and sure enough it was the second song I heard on the radio on the way home. I have my own past associations with this song, but now I clearly consider it Adam's song, ever since I found out he and Kelsey used to belt out the chorus to each other. He told her it was played at Bill's and my wedding, and I found this so endearing. BTW, it too, was played on Stranger Things. I belted out the chorus in the car along with some tears. A Peoria station was playing a Flashback Weekend from 1979-1982. I wondered why I hated Journey and Styx but liked Cheap Trick and Boston? Little Red Riding Hood arrived safely home, with no big bad wolf, although I did see what looked like a jackal at the Duncan Mills junction.
The rest of my weekend was spent attending a concert of incredible opera music and seeing the movie Coco with friends. Both were top notch. Best opera voice and Disney movie I've ever seen. All in all, it's been a great couple of days. If I manage to fight off the germs I was exposed to, I will consider it a roaring success.
Yoga is the first physical activity that felt right for my body (well, maybe the second). I was never good at any sports whatsoever, I hate to run, I didn't start exercising regularly until I was in my 30's, and I'm a horrible dancer. The only reason I can think I wasn't the last kid picked for teams in elementary school, is that I might have been prettier than some of the other un-athletic girls.
When I stepped into my first yoga class in 1997, I was surprised to find it was much more difficult than I thought, in an exertion type of way. If I really exerted myself (which I tend to do, because I like to do things well and right), I found the poses could be very challenging especially when held for longer periods.
My first teacher, Pam, is the gold standard I have held all my subsequent teachers to. Her style of teaching is very precise, and she is explicit about the placement of all body parts and the pattern of the breath. This was an excellent introduction and foundation, and when I did branch out to other teachers at other studios and retreats, I felt comfortable that I was taught the fundamentals and was able to participate without feeling out of my league.
One of Pam's tenets I heard many times was how important daily practice is outside of class. She even had a habit of going around the room and having each student report how many times they practiced that week. For 16 years, I would say, "O" "1" or maybe an occasional "2" and wonder when this daily practice thing was going to affect me.
Then along came 2013. I was having a really hard time accomplishing the workload I was given as a 4th year school social worker. Not to mention the emotional toll a new coordinator had on me. I lost 19 pounds in 3 months time. I was commuting an hour to work each way and felt I had to be at work by 7:00 a.m. in order to keep on top of my new schedule. That meant I was getting up before 5:00 a.m. five days a week. I decided early that year that I would get up early enough to start about a 15 minute yoga practice each morning to help me cope with stress. I credit this routine with getting me through that year without walking off the job. Yoga practice allows for brief rest periods, and this is a lovely concept when applied to life. They really do help mitigate life's stresses.
Then along came 2016. I was keeping up my daily practice because I found it was good for my mind, body and soul. Thank goodness because Adam's death was an overwhelming blow, and I needed anything I could anchor to to get through those first anguishing months.
So here it is almost 2018, and I have found a yoga class and my daily practice that help keep me sane, flexible and grounded. It has truly become an important force in my life.