The other day I think I had what could be called an anxiety attack.
On second thought, rather than an attack, it was more like a wave. Something that had been slowly growing over a few weeks, and finally drowned me like an all-encompassing shroud of doom and gloom. It had me horizontal, on the couch. Just at that moment, when I started falling into the black hole, my husband texted me …
“How’s it going?”
“Okay. I’m a little anxious.”
“Ya? About the party?”
“A lot of things.”
There was a point in my life, maybe it was last summer, where I was in a groove. I exercised every day. I spent a lot of time outdoors, breathing fresh air, taking pictures, inhaling all the natural beauty around me, loving it all, thankful and content. I was able to wake up really early and drive out to a forest preserve, or just walk around the neighborhood while everyone else was still asleep. That hasn’t happened for a while. There’s been no time at all.
I guess it culminated this month – June…typically the time when all the big school events happen, like the choir concert, or the dance concert, finals, etc. Just getting through work, through church meetings, or volunteer commitments, while helping the kids stay above water during those last weeks without totally losing their minds.
This June was a bit more exciting though. My son graduated from middle school (8th grade) and my daughter graduated from high school. Grandparents visited. We went to other graduation parties.
And then there was our party.
That was the one thing my daughter hoped we would have –
not a graduation party – but a real, regular Steinhaus party, just like the ones she remembered as a child. Her earliest memories were of us in the back yard, hanging out with our adult friends, barbecuing, laughing. We all were so much younger then, we had energy. We still had a bit of the crazy animal in us.
Things are different now. We haven’t had a party in many, many years. We’re older. Some of us have to take pills to stay healthy. I can’t function without a pair of reading glasses, and I can’t eat dinner past 7 pm or my stomach gets angry. Many of my friends lost their hair, or what hair they had turned gray. I don’t like staying up too late anymore. We’re like…old!
So naturally, I believed I had lost my touch…or something. I thought people would be bored. I thought I would be a “Debbie Downer.” Honestly, it was an irrational fear. I think I was afraid that I wouldn’t have the energy it took to throw a proper party.
Finally, it occurred to me that I don’t have to have “energy,” or whatever it is I think I should have–at this party. I’ll just be myself.
Make a few good things to eat, and make a point of talking to everyone who arrives. Some of the people we invited we haven’t seen in years. Good parties do happen organically. Provide some food, some drink, some good music, friendly people, and it just goes from there.
Everything this month happened so fast. There were only a few days between the big events, and I was doing all I could to just show up – be there, get the pictures, make sure the grandparents weren’t dying in the heat, or getting lost in the throngs of people…remembering to behold that historic moment when our kids walked the stage.
I put the knitting, dyeing, sewing and the exercise on the backburner for a few. Maybe that’s why I started to panic. Those things I do, have become an integral part of who I am. When I can’t do them, I begin to worry that I’m losing myself.
But like everything else, days come and go, events come and go. And then you’re back to your daily life. This week I found the time to knit a hat and sew some scarves. The party was amazing. Everyone was smiling and laughing again.
One night last week, I walked with my son to his diving class, and glanced up at him, and thought, “How on earth did you get so tall?” I think he grew another inch just in the last month. How did he grow up so fast? Also that night, I thought about my daughter, who was babysitting to earn some extra cash for college. She leaves in only six weeks. Everywhere I look in this house, are reminders of her, and that she’ll be leaving. How can this be? How did we get here so fast? What will life in this house be like without her?
I guess it’s safe to say that a lot is going on right now. That’s okay. Life is like that sometimes. I should take to heart what my husband texted after I told him I was anxious about a lot of things: