I am super excited to introduce to you my friend, PB Rippey. She’s an amazing mom to one of Kai’s best friends, she is a great friend to me, loves cocktails, and above all: she’s an AWESOME writer and blogger. Go check out her blog at PB Writes. So, imagine my excitement when she said “yes” to my question if she wanted to write a guest post for me some time. To get this piece together she battled heat, a cold in the middle of a heat wave, lack of time, and overcoming a desperate need for some relaxation.
Thank you PB, for contributing and for being the Awesomeness that you are.
When my dear friend Marieke asked me to write a guest post for the Body & Soul section of her fabulously creative and informative M For Mommy blog, I had no idea how stressful writing about relaxing was going to be. Mainly because I’m not sure when I do relax—even when I’m sleeping, part of me is alert to the opening of a certain four-year-old’s bedroom door, calls for aid in the dead of night, my catlike (snoozing cat) reflexes attuned to repeated taps on my forehead by little fingers, and then there are the cats themselves running over our bodies at 4 a.m., when the wet kitty food cravings kick in.
So—how do I relax?
My son is in summer camp five days a week for four hours a day. You’d think I’d find some minutes in those luscious, private blocks of time to chill. But I’m a writer. And, unlike Steven King, I can’t write with the family running around my laptop playing Batman And Dinosaurs. So I use the away-at-summer-camp hours for not relaxing, but writing and—other inevitable bits. Usually in this order:
- Check email and Facebook
- Check email and Facebook
- Say “Om” while gazing at my laptop’s wallpaper showing remote beach in Kauai…
- Disconnect computer from Webbiness and dive into revising novel
Aha! Wait a minute, PB! Yoga is relaxing (one might point out)! In theory, yes. In reality, yoga, for me, means exhales with groans tucked inside them, a yoga mat puddled in sweat, a burst blood vessel in my right eye (it happened!) and noodly limbs for the rest of the day.
“Babe,” my husband advises me. “Use the pool while he’s at camp.” Aha! A pool! Pools are for relaxing, PB (one might also point out)! In theory, yes. In reality, ours is the silly, slightly listing, above ground variety of pool that after the first week turned green despite my following strict instructions on how to PH/chlorinate/alkawhateverseltzer the water. Still—I have taken my novel with me into the silly green pool, ungracefully entered the inflatable boat, and revised while bobbing peacefully from rim to rim—but the greener the pool gets the less inclined I am to enter the water.
What if algae doesn’t rinse off completely and is transferable to growing boys? What if it’s flesh-eating algae? What if, in the dead of night, someone sticks a maneating shark in the pool and it bursts through the bottom of the inflatable boat and rips my head off? No? Would you believe—piranha? A school of piranha attacking my thighs as I wade from boat to pool ladder. It could happen! Then who would pick the boy up from summer camp? I worry, I worry…
“For the love of all that is holy, just meditate,” my mother urges me. “Meditation IS relaxation.” In theory, yeah, yeah, yah. In reality? Trying to corral my thoughts into being mindful of anything but the first chapter of my novel, what I’m making the boy for dinner, where on earth my hairclip disappeared to, whatever happened to Molly Ringwold, what a chocolate martini would taste like, how that one ex-boyfriend did that one hurtful thing that was sooooo stupid that one time way back when, whether or not it’s a good idea to wear any boots I own with any short dresses I own, where in the world wide web I’m going to find interesting pins for my Pinterest account, etc.—focusing on nothing is BLOODY HARD WORK. Especially when I’m a post-yoga noodle with a novel to revise and a high-energy son to retrieve from summer camp, not to mention having to make a spinach smoothie disguised as a blueberry smoothie for said son first.
I do read books some evenings before going to bed. This, I admit, is relaxing—so relaxing I nod off after the first few sentences.
I have attended moms-only weekends—but I’m so excited to be in the company of other mothers and to share and receive information that I don’t stop talking, eating, drinking, sharing, receiving for 48 hours and return home exhausted and sleep-deprived.
I don’t do massages because anyone kneading my knots makes me giggle and my limbs flail dangerously. Ask my husband. He insisted on giving me a foot massage once. Only once.
I do nap when my son does—like a dolphin, with one (metaphorical) eye open, so that’s not really napping, is it? It’s like what I go through ‘sleeping’ each night.
I love being a guinea pig for Marieke’s M For Mommy homemade masks (not only do they feel and smell heavenly, they taste good, too)—but I’m too scared to try the store-bought masks I have at home because of that freaky tightening sensation. What if the mask tightens me into Joan River’s face, or, worse, Edvard Munch’s The Scream? My son would never recover from seeing his mother as The Scream. I couldn’t possibly do that to him.
So—have I ever relaxed?
Yes. On that beach serving as my laptop’s wallpaper, the remote beach bracing a tranquil Hawaiian jungle and frequented by sea turtles and ruffled by the tradewinds.
Photo by: PB Rippey
I relaxed there. Seven years ago. When my husband and I were fledging fiancés planning a wedding, buying a house in the burbs and discussing having a child. We lay on that beach, side by side on our hibiscus printed towels, holding hands as we chatted, relaxing, changing our lives forever.
Each time I gaze at my laptop’s wallpaper, I get a little infusion of that feeling of relaxation. I anticipate (sometimes hourly) returning to that beach with my son and husband and relaxing for real (when not protecting the boy from moray eels in coral holes, tiger sharks in shallows and giant sandcrabs). Ah…My wallpaper…(cue sounds of gentle surf, ukuleles and the soft footfall of a kind stranger bringing me a chocolate martini—Island Special)…
So there you have it. My food for the soul is: a photo, available to me post-yoga, post-writing and even in the dead of night. Quick! Run find your photo. It just might help…Om…