I met my therapist at 6am this morning. After a good bit of a break, I’ve gone back to seeing her once or twice a month because I’ve been feeling patches of anxiety recently, mostly connected to the wild pace of my life these days. The fact that I went to see her at 6am when the city is still sleeping says it all. This is when I could find the time.
Years ago, I wouldn’t have told you about seeing a therapist. I would have been sheepish about sharing this detail. But not now. Now, I am proud that I am taking small steps to take care of myself. Self-care is something I’ve been thinking a lot about these days. A theme.
Anyway, she and I talked. I confessed that my life, in its current iteration, is very fast and very full and depending on the day utterly exhausting or exhilarating. She listened and we brainstormed together about all of this. We came to no ready answers, but I did walk away feeling recharged and awake.
I raced home to gather Big Girl and take her to school. On the crosstown bus, we cuddled and looked out the window. We talked about her performance in Annie last night. She lit up when she talked about being onstage; I told her how proud I was of her. She was extra goofy and we ate a few gummy dinosaurs and talked about how Kindergarten is over in two days. I looked at her – at her long, lean body in that white peasant skirt and the top that no longer fits, her thick, dirty blonde braids, her mouth full of missing teeth, and I smiled.
She’s growing up.
I held her hand as we walked the blocks to school. And when we turned the corner, I saw something, something I’m not sure I would have noticed on another day: A dad in a suit and tie stop on the sidewalk with his two daughters. He put his bag down and proceeded to let each of his girls walk up his legs and flip over, somersaulting backward. He let them each go a couple of times and then walked them the rest of the block to school. Indeed a happy thing to see. I pointed this scene out to Big Girl and she smiled and then she too skipped toward school.
In front of school, I crouched down next to her as I do every morning and looked her in the eyes and kissed her and told her to have a good day. And she skipped off through that front door. I stood still and watched her bound away, my little girl who is getting so big, her beleaguered blue backpack bouncing behind her. Through the window of her classroom, she waved to me. And I walked on. I put on my big city sunglasses and sipped my coffee and walked on.
I debated whether to hail a taxi or catch the bus. But then it came to me. I would walk. And that’s what I did. I walked and walked. Taking picture after picture of this June day and this city that sustains me. I walked down Fifth. Past the Metropolitan Museum. At 79th, I entered the park. And I continued to walk. The weather today is downright glorious, breezy and mild. I walked and walked, seeing the trees waving hello, the people and their dogs. I slipped in and out of people’s stories and felt, really felt, like I was living my own.
I thought of Dad. Of his love for nature, of his need to get his toes muddy even in this urban world. He spoke of a deep longing and reverence for the natural world and I felt this reverence and this longing this morning. I kept walking. I stopped at statues. I watched a middle-aged man box with his trainer. I stopped on the edge of Turtle Pond and decided that this might just be my very favorite place in this whole city.
And then, and this was the highlight, I got lost in the Ramble. The Ramble is not just the tangled heart of park full of birds and creatures. It is more than that to me. It is a huge part of the book I’m writing, or trying to write. And, this morning, I got lost there. For a few minutes, I was totally alone, in transit, the sound of birds all there was. It was magical.
And I found my way home. At home, my little girls attacked me with pajama hugs. I scooped them up and spun them around. As I was doing this, I thought of that wonderful dad outside my girl’s school, how he took the time to be silly and there for his kids, for himself. It’s not an image I will soon forget.
Instead of picking up a pastry or skipping breakfast, I cooked. Egg whites, black beans, avocado, roasted tomato and fresh mozzarella. I scrambled it all up. And then I actually sat down to eat it. In my bathrobe. With my sweet babes dancing around me.
And then I sat down here. At my kitchen island. And here I am at 9:53am writing these words, these words that are messy and true and important in some way I cannot yet grasp. I have so many things to do and cross off the list, but they can wait and will wait. For now, I am here in my fluffy robe, in my good and challenging life, breathing, taking care of myself, noticing good things.
It’s been a very good morning. I feel like today is the start of something.
Are you good at noticing good things?
Are you good at taking care of yourself?
What is the pace of your life?
Do you take the time to have silly and real moments with your little ones?
Have you ever seen a therapist?