Motherhood. I guess that's what you call it. A kind of constant alert in my system, a low-grade alarm waiting to go off.
My daughter is in the Dominican Republic doing research for the week. So yesterday I'm driving around doing my errands, and I hear on NPR that there's been a huge earthquake in Haiti, that the quake was felt in the DR and beyond. And there's a tsunami watch in effect for the Dominican Republic and . . .
Maybe you'd think I'd start praying or doing what my friend, Ann, calls--sending good thoughts. Instead my mind goes into one long list of swear words and doesn't stop for the next few hours. Not when I'm standing in line at the Giant Eagle, waiting for a script to be filled, not when I'm smiling and talking to the librarian, not when I'm picking up the dry cleaning. I have this awful feeling that I need to puke . . . the feeling I get when fear sits right at the bottom of the gut and rises.
I think about those CDs I listened to once by Pema Chodron who said--when you are afraid-- to think of all the people who are in the same place you are. So I think of all those mothers out there fearing and worrying for their daughters or sons. Pema said: think how they feel just as you do.
I think of them. I think of them feeling like they want to puke.
And I remember how my sister and I once "translated" that Emily D. poem about I'm nobody. We had a version that went something like. I think I wanna puke. Do you?/ Then there's two of us/ But we don't want to bother you nice folks here./ We don't want to disturb you lunch./ Don't mind us. We'll just go out back and throw up.
Oh yeah. Kid humor, I guess you call it. A little too true sometimes.
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