Canker sores, goodbye boys and getting present to love!
In a few short weeks, my two boys, Jack and Miles will be heading off to Los Angeles. Jack will be coaching hockey for the Junior LA Kings and Miles will be attending the New York Film Academy. CALIFORNIA, I HOPE YOU ARE READY FOR THESE TWO!!!
The story of my goodbye goes like this...I woke up one morning and I had a canker sore. Gross Heather! Why are you telling us about your canker sores? I know, but it's important and you'll find out why. Later that day, I got another one. By the next morning I had two on my tongue, one on my inner lip and two on the inside of my cheek. WOW, this is really too much information! And I thought this was a blog about decorating!! Well, please hang in there, because in just a few short paragraphs you are going to see some lovely decor pictures of what 980 Shady really looks like when it is inhabited by one teenager and one young adult.
Now back to my canker sores. I had never had a canker sore on my tongue before, let alone TWO of them and the pain was REALLY bad. Worse, I couldn’t speak, eat or swallow without severe pain. If you know me at all, you know not eating would become a real challenge, not to mention that I would become a bigger challenge to be around. Really, just no fun for anyone. Especially me!
I spent sixty dollars at Walgreens and bought every canker sore medication they sold. I was desperate for relief. I called all my yoga friends and begged them to sub my classes. I sulked around my house, nearly in tears and tried to explain my discomfort to anyone that would listen. Looking back, I really was a walking, mumbling-disaster! I tried the Walgreens medicine for a few days, but nothing helped. I was thankful for sleep, but by morning, the sores would be irritated again. I was back to square one, which was no relief in site!
Weeks before the canker sores appeared, I found myself being quite crabby towards my boys. They live in this beautiful attic space that was renovated just for them. Here's just a small window into the mess I avoid on a daily basis. Here's picture of what it looks like when Jack and Miles attempt to do their laundry. SCARY! I know! I mean why bother taking out the leather belt in your shorts? Mom will do it anyway!
Needless to say, when I'm not cleaning up everyday messes, I am left to deal with their frequent mini tornadoes. A fun highlight happened a few months ago when I was prepping the house for a party. I decided to take a quick peek at their bathroom before the guests arrived. This is what I found... After my heart attack, I asked the boys about the stickers. They both panicked and said, "Don't take those down! You didn't did you?" That fun little exchange left me speechless, walking away positive that they were clearly NOT my children!
In my already irritated state, I was bothered by everything! Their laundry, their friends, the gross dishes full of old Chinese food that they didn't even bother to rinse out, the chores that were ignored, the dirty socks all over house, the smell that came from their room, the X-box controllers and TV left on and not to mention their beautiful tiled shower that was now covered in skateboarding stickers!
You name it, I was irritated by it! So you get the picture right? I was a cranky mom and at the time, I really didn't know why. On top of my frustrations-I noticed that anytime my husband and I talked about the boys leaving, I would feel an irritating lump form in the back of my throat and would quickly deflect the conversation to something else. Looking back, I see that CLEARLY I was avoiding feeling what was really present. And yes, this is leading up to why I had so many canker sores!
My sister, Holly called me and I painstakingly tried to tell her about my canker sores. Remember, it is literally quite hard to speak. First, she was laughing, because I sounded like I had been to the dentist and my face was numb. I told her that I couldn’t speak and she quickly had compassion as she knew how painful they could be.
She asked, “Is there something you need to say to someone?” I said, “What do you mean?” She replied, “well, I believe that canker sores are a sign of not saying what needs to be said.” I said, “Ummm, listen crazy lady, I don’t think so, I believe they are a virus of some kind.” We continued the conversation and I told her I was going to make a doctor appointment. Lucky for me, the doctor could see me that day. I was thrilled! Finally, I was going to get some relief.
As I sat with the doctor, I was sure she would prescribe something to make the pesky little buggers disappear. I quickly listed off everything I had tried, how much pain I was experiencing, how I couldn’t eat and I eagerly waited for her to start typing up a prescription. Instead, she stopped typing, looked at me and asked a very simple question.
“Heather, is there an area in your life that has caused you stress?” I paused, a bit irritated that she hadn't already prescribed something. I looked at her and mumbled, "you know, my boys are moving in a few weeks and I think I’m sad." Ahhh! There it was! The truth! All of a sudden, I was present to my love for my boys and the tears started to flow!
And just so we are clear on how present...You know that scene in "Raising Arizona" where Holly Hunt is hysterically crying about loving someone? Well, that's kinda how I felt! Click the play button to see how my own hysterics were played out. [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GIyTFl4Cb4[/embed] Thankfully my doctor is patient and kind and just let me "feel."
My doctor is a mother of a young boy and I said what every adult said to me…"Enjoy every minute, because it goes by too fast." I made a promise to myself that I would share what I was feeling with my boys.
“Boys, I have been cranky and irritable and I have a mouth full of canker sores and I realized today that there is something I have been needing to say to you both. I’m going to miss you both so much! And just getting and being present to that feeling makes me cry, but they are tears of gratitude because I have been given a great love for you both. I thank God for the presence of His love in my life and the gifts He has given me in the two of you. My beautiful boys, how lucky I am to love so big.”
With in minutes, the replies where “ I love you mom.” And they even added little emoji hearts!
I felt such freedom in sharing my love that I almost failed to notice that my mouth wasn’t hurting anymore. I swallowed and it was effortless. My first thought was, get this lady some food!! No, but really I couldn't believe that my sister was right! I was holding onto love when it desperately wanted to be given away. My body was trying to tell me something and now I was finally listening. When I got home, I couldn't help but smile at all the silly nuances of living with teenage boys. I found the details of their daily living quite charming. I thought, who has time for a "perfect" home anyways? Joyfully, I knew the answer was not me!
I was so blown away by the concept of body and emotion, that I themed a whole yoga class on it. I always say in my classes, “fully present, fully alive!” Funny how for weeks, I ignored my own advice. I shared my experience with my students at Core Power Yoga and I encouraged them to create a clearing by sharing and saying what needs to be said to the people in their own lives.
“I don’t know what it is or who it is. Maybe it’s a simple thank you, maybe it’s an I’m sorry or I forgive you. Maybe it’s I love you or have I told you lately how special you are in my life. Or maybe it’s as simple as mine was, I’m just going to miss you so much.”
As I ended with that declaration, I felt the tears well up and that familiar lump in my throat and instead of running from the present moment, I just sat there with my students and it was lovely and beautiful, because it was true.