There is A Sunset in the Back Yard Every Day
June 25, 2021
Yesterday was one of those days. I doubted myself. But what I realized is that if you reach out, friends and mentors make it better. It’s good to get different opinions and then you kind of take and discard, and reformulate one’s own truth. That’s what I did yesterday. Those conversations are still in my mind, comments and impressions sorting themselves out. Life will all work out. Career will all work out. And what would have been an evening that could have ended up with a headache, ended up being one of those perfect evenings. Work stresses could have stolen yesterday’s prefect moments. But I have learned through my senses to center myself and what I remember from last evening was not the stresses, and spinning worries and thoughts that can destroy one’s true presence in the now – but I remember the moments.
I remember yesterday’s bananas, and they were so overly ripe and years ago I would have thrown out. But now I know the riper and browner the old banana, the better the banana bread will turn out. I remember how overly sweet the overripe bananas’ aroma was, and the skin peels coming off so easily. I remember throwing them into the composter yesterday morning, and then going into my car and fishing out the one banana I had left overnight that I needed to make up the six. I remember the moment I decided to double the batch and the Bud Light can I decided to use, because it wasn’t just banana bread it was Beer Banana Bread! I made 1 big loaf that was almost all eaten in clinic, and it was such a delicious breakfast for myself. It was still a bit undone in the center, but I ate the center and I like it that way. And last night, the small four loaves were for my own family. Mr. Plastic Picker ate my banana bread and I told him he loved it so much because the most overripe bananas make the best banana bread. The dark brown of the 1/2 teaspoon of allspice, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 cup of brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of salt, 4 teaspoons of baking powder that I sifted, 2 teaspoons of baking soda, 4 cups of flour – when I stirred in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, the stirring yeterday morning at 620AM was the most satisfying. The thunk of my wooden spoon on the side of my favorite fiery red mixing bowl I bought at GoodWill years ago was satisfying. I was Dr. Plastic Picker now able to whip up Beer Banana Bread like a working mommy pro!
I remember my nap yesterday on my sister’s couch, the one she couldn’t take with her since she lives in Virginia. It’s such a comfortable couch and I think of her everytime I take a nap on it. I remember falling asleep exhausted from a half day of clinic but a lifetime of professional ambitions and worries, and the blur of my son’s new not quite green but not quite blue shirt as he walked past me at some point. Where was my daughter? Where was my baby? I remember thinking while drifting into sleep. I knew her grandfather was driving her to Volleyball and he was caring for her, just like he used to carry her around in the Kelty backpack when I was a research fellow and she was not yet one years of age. I was working and finishing my reserach payback at NIH, and he was taking care of our baby. The children have always been ours, Mr. Plastic Picker, mine and their paternal grandparents. My mother-in-law and father-in-law love the children so much. They love the puppy. The children and puppy love them. And I love them for themselves and because of that. It has been a lifetime of learning to love. It hasn’t always been easy.
I remember waking up from my nap, and talking to Mr. Plastic Picker annoyed and angry about the work stresses of the day. He gave me advice. But I talk to him everyday and even if his advice is wise, it doesn’t seem that way because I see him everyday. I said to him because we are equal partners, “I’m not telling you to ask your permission. I will do what I want.” And he told me when he came home that he loved me more for my spirit, but he was kind of annoyed at me.
And I remember talking to mentors and friends and standing on the roofdeck under the night sky. I remember closing my eyes and feeling the cool nightbreeze and thinking about friends. The roofdeck is so wonderful at night, and Mr. Plastic Picker said he should come up there more often. I told him that he should go up there when he takes work calls, and “just close your eyes under the nightsky when you talk and feel the breeze.” When I did that, I was truly able to concentrate on the words friends were saying and understand the subcontext – that is what English majors call it. Subcontext. Everything is about subcontext.
But the most important moment, I remember playing ping pong with my daughter. She’s half me and half Mr. Plastic Picker, and I remember thinking, “You are so beautiful.” And I played ping-pong with my beautiful daughter, who is safe and a teenager. I kept her safe. I am keeping her safe and in her bubble that expands from our backyard to our Oregon Farm. And I will keep all my patients safe and expand my bubble and all the children who want to stay safe can come into the bubble. And all the adults who want to keep expanding the bubble, you are welcome to keep growing it as well. And that includes the entire planet and protecting it against climate change.
And that is what I remember about yesterday.