Wednesday, July 28, 2010

O Come, All Ye Old Faithful....Friends

    Whew. Whoa. Wow. And Whew again.  Taylor and I just got back from a week in Yellowstone.  Traveling with Taylor is always eye-opening and without fail it calls up in me a whole bunch of my own fears and insecurities. I am so aware of what I have convinced myself is true about life---mine and yours and the universe's.  (Don't you just love it how I just launch right in to real junk?  Well, again, maybe you don't.)  OK, this is brutally honest, but I realize how isolated I keep myself even though I have a gregarious exterior.  This is way too much information and as my ex-husband/friend/it's complicated father-of-my children....says, "Save something for your diary."  The wonderful thing about traveling is that it gives one (us/you/me) time to reflect on who we are and what we want our lives to be about. The bad thing about traveling is that it gives us time to reflect on.......yep.  All of the above.  Reflection. Inquiry.  Worry.  Doubt.  And more what and why and how come questions. 
So, we watched geysers and then found some more geysers to see  and then checked the schedule to see when the oldest and most faithful of the geysers would go off.  Taylor was not impressed.  If he could talk, he might have said, "We came here for this?"  And I watched the throngs of people.  I am always so keenly aware of other handicapped people because I like to see them with their families.  I was  so lucky to be with my sister, a hoard of her friends and with my older son.  As we rode horses and walked the boardwalks, I  guess I was trying to decide if I was  on track or out-of-bounds or on course in my dealings and relationship with my 26 year old Down Syndrome son.  I'm not quite sure from whom I might get my cues when we're out and about in a public and new place.   Can't you see that all of this is just inside of me and not inside of Taylor? He doesn't see the stares and perhaps the looks of sympathy.  As I have to always take Taylor into the "girl's" bathroom with me,  the discomfort of others is palpable.    I can sense it but it makes me up my game and go into "mother of the year" mode.  Help me out here.  Is that sad or necessary or weird or what?
Anyway, what I came away with from this trip is that I want to connect and need to connect with people---with friends---with those around me.  I'm not exactly sure why that's so hard. Well, actually I am but you would need to come sit on my sofa with me for a couple of hours for me to share this part with you.
For those fellow travelers who reached out, made eye contact, initiated conversation, took an interest, allowed us more time and space, I felt so grateful---and connected.  So many kind people opened themselves up to me----to Taylor.
And I was reminded that when I do that---when I open myself up to you----when you open yourself up to others---there is such abundance....of love.
Cheezy. But true. 
I bet you already knew that.
See, I really am the retarded mother. 
I am slow to catch on to these things.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Going Nice

I am fresh out  of "profound thinking"---as if.  As if I ever had any profound thoughts.  But, for those of you who know me, I know I live that ad nauseum sense of making meaning out of ordinary events.  "What does this mean? or What is our lesson here?"  I even make my own self sick with delving deep.  Sometimes clam chowder is just clam chowder.  I can't think of when that might be, but lots of you tell me that it's true.
Which leads me to being polite.....or more directly, "Is it ever ok to be rude?"  When?  I taught in a school system whose motto for years was to be "Firm, Friendly and Fair."  Those guidelines, in tandem, work pretty well.  But rude? Almost never.
Taylor and I just returned from a week in New York City.  We don't do the Central Park carriage rides or have lunch at The Plaza.  We did take in the zoo and scooted along the Hudson River bike path for miles.  Neither  of that challenged our need to be polite/rude.  I had to wrangle with a couple of city bus drivers who wanted to refuse Taylor's scooter on their bus, but I simply said, "It's either this or his wheel chair.  Pick one."  So it was all good after that brief multiple choice option that left them "duh-less."  I mean, what can they say to that??
When the universe did start messing with me again (and my "what are the lessons here?") was when our flight home was cancelled.  Having already been delayed earlier in this crowded airport, tensions were high and true characters rose to the top.  Simply put, I was appalled and stunned at how some fellow travelers approached and treated the airline employees.  OK, it was true that we had no wedding to attend, no graduation to get to, no doctor's appointment to make---so we were not behind that deadline eight-ball.  But still, waiting with Taylor in an airport is not right up there with my favorite things to do in life.  But it gave me another opportunity for a "practice test"---practice what I say I believe---and see if meditation is paying off.
 I watched and wondered, "Do I act like that?  Am I like that?" Gosh, I don't want to be like those people; is there ever a time to emotionally eviscerate an airport agent?
My vote is NO.
As my stomach tightened and my OCD/need for order/planning was turned upside down, I observed Taylor being calm, patient and not having that panic most of us get when we would kill to be at the head of the line.  Our sense(s) of entitlement kick in and we are aggravated that we've been inconvenienced.  Don't we? I am really just having this conversation with myself because it washed over me how attached I am to outcomes and having things work out exactly as I have them planned in my head.  But as Taylor tugged on my sleeve, responding  with, "Go nice" to the angry folks around him, I had to stop and re-think how I behave when a wheel falls off in my life.  I hate wheels to fall off---just so you know.
Taylor does not know the concept "Firm, Friendly, Fair." 
He does know, "Go nice."
He lives Go Nice.
Gosh, we all have so much to learn.
I mean.....I do.