Category Archives: Parenting

Hugs

The story goes that my sister used to cry on the way home from school because all her friends had a brother or sister except for her. She complained that all she had was Risas, the dog. My father named him that because he wore a perpetual smile as a result of an injury to his mouth.

Rosa had to wait nine long years before she had a living sibling. For during that interval, the tale goes, there was one other child, stillborn, miscarried or died young, I don’t know. But I know there was one. My mother told me.

What she didn’t say was whether it was a boy or a girl. Instinct tells me it must have been a boy. Or, at least, that my mother believed it was a boy. Thus when I appeared healthy and hearty, it must have been salt in the wound.

That is the only explanation I can come up with as to why growing up, I never knew a mother’s hug.

Logic tells me that she did indeed hold me. For one thing, she had to hold me to feed me.  They were not in any position to hire someone to do that job. And that does offer me a sort of comfort. But, as I don’t remember being weaned, I don’t remember being held.

Reading others’ words describing the feel of a mother’s loving arms when they were children fascinates me. I try to imagine and put myself in their place. To feel that warmth. To inhale her smell of fresh-baked bread. To feel the silk that is her hair as she leans her head against theirs. To know that the world can’t harm you while you are safe in her arms. And though I try, I can’t relate.

We were poor, but hugs were free. Yet, I grew up without that essential basic need. That nurturing sensory input.  It’s been a hole in my life that I dared not confront. Best not to look back. But now I realize, I’ve been searching for that safety zone all my life.

***Risas means “laughs” in Spanish.

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Bon Voyage

Taj Mahal, Agra, India.

Image via Wikipedia

It’s five o’clock in the morning and I’ve been awake for hours. Thinking, thinking, thinking. And there is a lot to think about. There is always a lot to think about, isn’t there? And the more you think, the more stressed you feel.

Stress is an aggravator, especially to someone with a chronic condition like RA. Over the years, I have noticed that stress exacerbates my symptoms. Of course, I blame stress for triggering my disease in the first place. Maybe I was predisposed to develop this, but I tend to feel the stress I lived under brought it on so early in my life.

I have come to terms with the fact that I have this cross to bear. It has become lighter in the past few years and for that I am grateful. Realizing that others have it so much worse, makes me feel like giving thanks every hour on the hour. And I do give thanks, for my wellness.

This morning it is not my RA that has me in knots, but my child. My child is going away. She is going around the world. And it scares the living daylights out of me. She chose as her study abroad to actually go abroad, a round the world cruise.

I tell myself it is the opportunity of a lifetime. I would have jumped at this chance myself. But, I would have been the one enjoying it, not the one left behind to worry. Big difference!

I will try not to worry, easier said than done. For now my days will be filled with getting her ready to go. There are supplies to be bought, packing to do, flight to book, and excursions to plan. She is excited and I am terrified.

I know that every day my stress will increase a notch, till it reaches its peak on the day she flies away to another country to board the ship. Part of me hoped her financial aid would not come through, though she would have been devastated and in truth, I would have been as well, for her.

But, the fates have aligned. She wants to be a travel writer and this trip will fill her bucket list, as far as fodder for writing material for years to come. I am happy for her, I am.

She will keep a journal of her adventures and I will keep a journal of my days waiting for her return. While she is seeing the Great Wall and the Taj Mahal, I will be envisioning her joy. But, while she is riding camels in the desert and shark cage diving in the deep, I will be home biting my nails.

My various writing projects will keep me busy; Tai Chi and exercise will help me ablate the stress, but there’s no getting around it. It’s gonna be a long four months.