Friday, January 07, 2005

Downtime

'been down with the flu for almost a week now.

it's nothing serious but i guess what takes me longer to get well again is because, even when im sick, i cannot just lock my self up in my room and let the world go hang.

as a single mother, i have to do everything for everybody in my world. so even while feeling really feverish and groggy, i have to wake up at 5am and wake the children, prepare them for school not just physically but psychologically by making waking up fun and with lots of hugs and kisses. the ex picks up the eldest but then i have to take the two younger ones to school. the little boy, because he wants me to bring him to school rather than his dad; the little girl, because her classes start later at 8.

then there are errands to do and household things to procure, even while im feeling nauseaous and dizzy. i try to make my self as comfortable as possible by still dressing up well and looking good with a little lipstick on... : )... and with my ever reliable "White Flower" Chinese menthol oil, which i sniff from time to time to keep me up.

i get home and try to rest in bed for a while. but then, feeling more weak when doing nothing, i get on the pc instead and do some work or chat with online friends, if they message me. by 10:30 a.m., i drive out again to fetch the two little ones from preschool. driving home, we pass by our usual ice cream man for our regular treat, and they tell me about their morning, or i try to keep my cheer and patience up even while they now start arguing in the car, or horseplaying even while im driving.

by noontime, it is more of the morning routine but then again, i have to go back to school by 3:30 to fetch the eldest.

when they're all finally at home at last, despite a raging fever and a killer headache, there's homework to do, and catching up on their day, and bonding time.

then, too, this week hasn't really been very upbeat. papa went for check ups again and his doctor warned us that his heart is barely beating at all, and any little stress or upset could make it totally stop beating altogether. he is only 66 but he looks so old and frail now. his anger and depression doesn't help either, blaming everybody else for his troubles. i try to stay away from the negativity but then also, i know he has little time left with us, so i keep going back to visit, ostensibly to get something from our old house, but actually to sit down with him for a while and just chat.

i'm making progress, though. when before he would launch his angry tirades again, i would either silently rage my self but clam up, or lash back in hurt and anger. now i am just patiently and lovingly tolerant. i learned not too long ago to protect my self from toxicity of all kinds, especially the psychic and emotional ones. i figured most of my depression were not caused by me, but by other people's depressing thoughts and words. being Pisces and all, i spent most of my life learning how NOT to be soo sensitive and impressionable, defining my boundaries assertively yet lovingly, and protecting them as well as i could.

bills pile up, like they always do. but ive learned to just take one due date at a time, and negotiate for the rest, or let time work for me because of other people's inefficiency anyway. : ) "there's more where that comes from, there's always more where that comes from. God (Goddess) will provide." and true enough, help always comes in some form or another. the Universe is a safe and loving place, if you only let yourself receive its gifts with trust and openness, that i've learned.

the first few months of the sep, when funds were really tight depending on my own income alone with the ex being belligerent about child support, and having to pay bills wracked up by the ex in my name, the children and i experienced hunger virtually stalking at our door. one time, i caught my then one-year-old little girl licking an ice cream cone-- on TV!!! she said she missed ice cream but since we couldn't go out to McDonald's or Jollibee anyway, she'll lick the one on TV for a while. that broke my heart. but she was matter of fact and even quite happy about it, that she figured out a way to solve her little problem.

there were days when payday was still 3-5 days away, and i didn't even have coins in my purse for fare to go to work or bring the children to school (we didn't have our own car then, as the ex took the family car). i would use up all my sick leaves, and declare a self-proclaimed holiday for the kids and i by telling their teachers we couldn't afford to go to school for some days, could we just take school work and assignments home and work on them from home? the teachers were very understanding and accommodating, thank God/Goddess for them!

the kids actually enjoyed these holidays. imagine being absent from school for some days every month! : D

but all in all, we learned: our happiness is separate from our having money or not having it. even with nothing in the purse, living a few days virtually in God's graces, just with enough food in the ref (fridge) to tide us till next payday-- we created our own little holidays and made the best of it. i decided early on that if there was anything i'd teach my children, it was that we were NOT poor, even if we didn't have a lot of money for a while. we might have no money right now for all the luxuries we wanted (well, even the needs), but we have what we most needed to survive, and our happiness is ours to create.

because we couldn't even go to the movies, they created their own scripts and sang and acted out for me instead. because i couldn't buy them toys, i allowed them to roam around our village and pick up twigs and whatnots and make their own toys out of these. because we couldn't go to the mall, i bought them cheap paper and crayons and clay instead. until today, when times are thankfully better, they appreciate most gifts of paper and crayons, even amidst other more expensive, mall-bought gifts.

thinking of your self as poor makes you act poor, as if you are less of a person. i didnt want my children to grow up like that.

one time, my eldest daughter, who was 5 years old then and in preschool, got into an argument with a classmate. her classmate was bragging about how they have these many cars and these many houses and about how they have travelled to disneyland so many times. and then she told my daughter, "you don't have what i have because you're poor!"

my daughter defiantly told her off (this is what her teacher told me): "i am not poor! poor is when you have no home and nobody loves you. so i am not poor!"

moments like these, i feel like Queen of the Universe! : D

***

so this brings me back to my downtime again. i tell people i have the flu and they all start acting solicitous around me, as if it's a misfortune.

i actually count this as a blessing.

i can leave work officially for a while, with pay, and just take care of my self and my kids. i can sleep and read and write and eat whatever i want, whenever i want. or i can take my long walks around the village and just reflect and contemplate. or i can chat more often with my good friends. while the world busily zooms by willy and nilly, i am smelling the roses.

of course, i feel not so well physically. so i just rest more, and drink water more. i don't even buy meds for flu anymore, just letting my body heal at its own pace.

but inside, an inner brook sings as it is being renewed. i learn to live through life's vicissitudes with grace, even as i keep stoking my fires. what more can i ask for? : D

nothing can touch my joy now.



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