August 13, 2008

One Day, Two Falls, and a Wake Up

"The real troubles are apt to be the ones that never cross your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m.on some idle Tuesday."

Baz Lurhmann


Some people believe there is no such thing as coincidence; similar events or conversations are signs meant to point us in one direction or another. Sometimes it's difficult to figure out which direction that is.


I've been thinking about coincidence because I've fallen on my arse twice this week, and while I am a clumsy person, I'm usually not quite that clumsy, so what could it mean?


The first time was by the lake. Buckaroo had absconded with the neighbor's beach ball, and before I could field it, he had thrown it into the water with the full force of his bitty arms . I stood there in my sweat pants and long sleeves watching it float away.


It was rafting near the same neighbor's dock, so I left Buckaroo standing alone on the beach, a risky decision in itself, and dashed down the dock before he had time to fling himself in the water or the ball could float out of my reach. It had been raining, of course. I was half way down the dock when, just like that, my feet were flying out in front of me, and I was on my tush.


That one didn't hurt, and I still managed to get the beach ball while Buckaroo stayed safely ashore.


This morning I was standing in the bath tub after I finished my shower. Buckaroo was in his usual spot outside the tub chatting with me. I'm not even sure what I was doing, but I may have been checking that I'd shaved all my underarm hair properly, and then bam: I was on my bum again.


The worst part was that my right leg became sort of rubbery, flew up out of the tub and hit Buckaroo in the back, pinning him against the tub and making him scream.


I said a few choice swear words under my breath, climbed out and calmed the blubbering Buckaroo while inspecting my own damage. I'm a bit banged up from that one.


Usually when I fall, I can feel myself going in the wrong direction, and I have time to try to catch myself or at least soften the blow, but these falls were the same: I was right-side up, and then I wasn't.


Meanwhile, I've been thinking about my dad lately. Re-creating the accident in my head, which I have been told specifically not to do, but I can't always control my brain. Whenever I think about that day I remember those Lurhmann lyrics because my dad died at 4 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon. Weird coincidence. R and I were hoping to jostle and soothe Buckaroo so we could watch Pursuit of Happyness on DVD-- a nothing day.


Then today Buckaroo and I had a beautiful day at the lake, and while he dug in the sand, another mom and I were talking about protecting our children and how sometimes we have to stop worrying and let them explore. She said, "They're going to have accidents, and the cause of it will be the thing you never saw coming anyway." Just what I was thinking.


So where does all of this lead me? Home. My new home, I mean-- even though it's still a challenge to think of this place as home. Before I left California my friend Peter the Reporter said, "You're just moving away. It's not like death. You can pick up the phone and call anyone in California any time."
It's true: Moving is not dying. I don't miss anyone in the same way I miss my dad.


So I think those falls are the universe's way of telling me to get over my sorry self. What do I have to worry about besides whether or not to empty the mosquito-infested flowerpots? There's no point in biting my fingernails about a few (or several thousand) snowflakes or this crazy summer rain.


I'm supposed to save my energy for the real challenges ahead-- the unforeseen, unpredicted. Please, whatever it is, may it be in the faraway future.
In the interim I should be happy that I have access, technologically, to all the people I love. They won't forget me-- I don't think. Plus, rain boots are so cute these days.
Maybe I should wear them in the shower.

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