Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oh, baby!


By JOELLEN COLLINS

I am in Los Angeles before I head to San Francisco, visiting good friends I haven't seen for a while and enjoying some big-city pleasures. Even though I adore them, I want to get on a very quick flight north to join my family there and welcome our latest addition, my granddaughter, born just a few hours ago.

I had another topic chosen for my column this week, one I had even researched a bit, but my fingers just won't enter the letters. My mind is too full of the image sent by text at 1 a.m. this morning of this sweet and (as all grandmothers might say) adorable and blessed baby. I promise that I won't spend the rest of my 750 words extolling the potential of this latest gift to the world.

Instead, I prefer to talk about the emotion I experienced this past week. I awakened at 6:30 a.m. and noted that my first thought was that I was truly happy, even though I don't believe we have to be "happy" all the time. How else would we appreciate those special moments if we had not been sad at times? I had been through several weeks of "poor me" as my predominate attitude, and then in January something happened to get me out of this negativity. I have chosen, in the past three years, to fill up spare moments when I could be quiet or meditating or even (horrors!) practicing simple yoga by taking on too many projects, signing up for too many volunteer activities (though I told myself I was, indeed, getting out and meeting people), worrying about financial realities and feeling guilty about staying rather reclusive. I simply enjoyed most of my time alone cuddling my dogs. I also adopted a second puppy, this one from the animal shelter, forgetting what it might be like to housebreak an adorable fluff of white at hours like 6:30 a.m. with sub-freezing temperatures and no yard, necessitating throwing on some woollies and walking down my condo stairs to the street area where I would slip and slide on the ice picking up the waste from my two dog's morning rituals. So, I got too stressed and, instead of taking time to analyze my loneliness during the holidays, just became more of a hermit.

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Luckily, someone who loves me confronted me and pulled me out of this self-imposed hibernation. Now that I have been dealing with not being perfect, I am reattaching myself to the support system that has always been there for me. I have a tendency to apologize for my existence, in part, because I was told that when my parents came to the orphanage to adopt a child, they saw a tiny hand waving from a bassinet in the back of the room and thus found me. They never made me feel this way, but somehow I have always tried to be the kind of person who would be worthy of their love, make them proud and never be sent back. A friend recently told me that at my advanced age, I had it all wrong—that my hand went up because I was meant to be with those very special people, that they needed the perfect fit to become a loving family. What a refreshing thought! I was blessed with such a family that I have nothing to blame for my missing virtues. I am human and I make mistakes, but I am still the essential child who waved to just the right people to love, and metaphorically I have still surrounded myself with wonderful friends and family by my little hand waves.

The friend with whom I am staying has had a history of terrible and painful illness, but somehow she never gives in to the kind of self-pity in which I recently found myself wallowing. She is an inspiration to me in every way and reminder of the term "carpe diem"—my philosophy but one I have been putting low on my list.

I have, you may be dismayed to know, become once again my Pollyannaish self. How can I not have a sunny disposition when I get to hold my California family in my arms in a day or two and cuddle my sweetest new little girl? Yesterday I read a satirical comparison of a great song's lyrics to those of Justin Bieber's "Oh Baby, Baby, Baby." Oddly, that is just how I feel.




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