after alice

7 02 2010

“What a curious feeling!” said Alice. “I must be shutting up like a telescope!”

And so it was indeed: she was now only ten inches high, and her face brightened up at the thought that she was now the right size for going through the little door into that lovely garden. First, however, she waited for a few minutes to see if she was going to shrink any further: she felt a little nervous about this; “for it might end, you know,” said Alice to herself; “in my going out altogether, like a candle. I wonder what I should be like then?” And she tried to fancy what the flame of a candle looks like after the candle is blown out, for she could not remember ever having seen such a thing.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I expected to be able to write last week with staying in one place and all but I couldn’t.  I brought the Mrs. here while the Dr. was getting his passport stamped again and thought that simplifying my duties under one roof with caregiving the beasties and the Bubbe-Mrs. that my brain would function.

It was more like Alice’s tumble down the rabbit hole – falling slowly enough to be aware of everything around me but unable to grab hold.

The week was relatively quiet with hours of Fox news, word search puzzles with the glorious switch over to the Dog Whisperer when I couldn’t take the talking heads one more minute.  There was a simple routine to our days and I kept quiet so as not to make her think that I had better things to do and making her feel that she was just in the way.  Obviously there are always a million things to do but if I’ve learned anything from Cesar it has everything to do with the energy one projects to the beasts they are trying to tame – calm, assertive leadership to achieve balance.

Before we knew it – the time had come to take her back home and it was right.  She was ready to be in her own space – doing things that make her feel productive.  Things that I would never dream of doing if I were bored – like washing and drying a china cabinet full of Candlewick.

Meanwhile another kind of tumble resulted in a broken wrist for the F-I-L which complicated his chauffeur duties for the M-I-L who was just about to embark on her second cataract surgery in 2 weeks time.  So with the Mrs. safely and soundly back in her own space, I took to helping them out with some doctor’s appointments.

This last week helping out aging parents, I am more aware than ever of the frustration inherent in the process.  It’s like we are all merrily strolling through life when suddenly we find ourselves tumbling down a rabbit hole without a clue as to what we will face at the bottom.  The Mrs. says she doesn’t know who took her “seventies”.  Suddenly she’s solidly in her eighties and can’t account for how she got here.  I watched the frustration on M-I-L’s face as the audiologist tinkered with the buttons and knobs on her hearing aids.  It’s annoying to have technology that doesn’t always cut the mustard leaving her with the inability to hear and has all but given up that there is any hope for a smooth transition to an in-between place.

So how can I age gracefully?  How do I embrace the natural aging process surrounded by a world telling me a gazillion ways and a gazillion times a day that younger is better?  I loath certain hair styles on balding men.  I vomit a little in my mouth when I see inappropriately dressed middle-aged women. The adds on my facebook page tell me that 54 year old women just like me are buying pink UGGS and am I sure I don’t want a pair? Really?  Can’t we all just act our age?  (Except that this doesn’t count for the 65 year old members of The Who rockin’ out at the SuperBowl right now.)

At the same time,  the internal wrestling match between my hopes, dreams and unmet desires and the fact that getting out of bed in the morning is accompanied by more aches and pains than when I hit the sheets, is a daily reality.

Can I drink the potion and follow Alice?  Can I change and still be the same?  Can I gracefully tweak my expectations of what I think I’m entitled to?  Can I deal with the disparity between what I expected to be mine in this season and embrace the reality of what IS? Will I just telescope down or go out like a candle?

I’m not saying I don’t do the things I can to help improve my situation – it’s called a fist full of supplements morning and night.  Then there is that exercise thing – that I’d don’t do morning or night.  It really has more to do with finding myself looking at the Mrs. and Shop Girl and remembering that I was where she is and she was where I am.  I used to be Shop Girl – now I’m the Mrs.  I just keep looking at the Mrs.,  MIL and FIL and wondering how Shop Girl and Best Boy will treat me in another few years when life is spinning and they’ve tumbled down the rabbit hole with the rest of us.

No telling how that will go but for now, I’m just going to go through that garden gate – I’ve got that little golden key.  It’s all part of the adventure.  You’ll just have to ask Alice when she’s ten feet tall…

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One response

26 02 2010
jeanine

what a fantastic photo. i am and will eternally be a fan of alice in wonderland. the magic…. THE MAGIC 🙂

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