Monday, October 19, 2009

There's No Place Like...the 70s!

I wondered if there was some sort of validity to the self-titled phenomenon of retro'ing. So I did what any self-proclaimed, highly intelligent, scientific minded insomniac would do...I threw some keywords into a Google search and found that:

the brain is involuntarily searching out and activating pleasant, positive information from the memory banks in order to help the brain cope with an incomprehensible threat.

My mind chooses to retro to the mid to late 70s, back to my elementary school days. Can you blame me? I'm the only child of highly protective parents who formed their lives

Dad worked all the time to provide for Mom and I. When he was home, he devoted all of his attention to moi. He was a highly decorated 'Nam vet, but is one of those guys who never talks about it. I remember how safe I always felt under their roof. Dad could do this super cool thing where he'd be asleep but, like, he wasn't? People have home security systems, but those couldn't hold a candle to Dad. To this day, you can not sneak anywhere near him if he is asleep on his back. Consider yourself jacked up in 3...2...1...

Mom stayed home with me. I was a careful observer in the 2.2 seconds I spent inside the house, enjoying a Twinkie. She ironed, she cooked, she cleaned...she was a whirlwind! I previously shared her protective measures, like "mom arm" in the car. Didn't matter if I was in the front or back, she could catch me with that bionic right hand! Accounts of which are in the Bible, "I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand". That right hand that God blessed Mom with upheld me from flying through the windshield of a 72 Buick quite a few times!

Mom and Dad made me tough. Mom helped me learn to face my fears via winding up that stupid cymbal clapping monkey and laughing at me as I had panic attacks. And Dad? He made me tough by yelling, "WALK IT OFF!" when I'd hurt myself. Run into a tree branch and cut my cornea? Walk it off! Fall off a bike and break my wrist? You got it...walk it off!

I was an insomniac even as a child. I can remember calling out to Mom several times a night. She was also awake. I'd need a drink of water, which she'd bring me in a tiny, 70s maize colored tupperware cup. Many nights, I'd lay awake, staring at my ceiling. I would barely have to whisper and Mom would hear me. She'd always come, no matter when I called out.

I had a plastic elephant toy box. I used to climb inside of it and cover myself with the lid. Everything was better in that elephant. Twinkies included.

Those are the memories I retro to, as well as all the way cool 70s things like avocado colored kitchen cabinets, shag carpet, white denim leisure suits, plaid pants, and the best songs ever.

Sometimes, present day gets pretty scary. Now I'm the mom who's awake. I've got kids who are depending on me just as I depended on my parents. When my son has his insomniac moments, I'm the one laying in the room next door, just waiting to hear from him. I understand Mom a lot better now and often compare myself to her. I don't cook much, don't own a working iron, and become exhausted at the mere thought of cleaning. I want to be able to walk it off when I feel like crap, but walking sometimes makes it worse or creates new problems I didn't have at the get go. Sometimes, I want to climb into a toy box and forget about the holes I have in my head, neck, and spine. I'd also like to forget about how the economy has slammed our household. Problem is, I'm no longer 3'11"...though I've shrunk 3" since graduating high school. Maybe someday I'll get back down to 3'11"! I've even got the toy's in the garage...

Though it's been about 30 years, Mom is still there when I call. And Dad is still protecting me, but not from potential intruders. Now, it's from worry and stress. He tells me it's okay to ask for help. I'm learning that the toughest guy I ever knew is tough because he's smart enough to know when he's weak. Maybe I need to stop trying to fool myself into thinking I've got it all together every minute of the day if it's a time when I really don't. I mean sure, I usually do! But there are other, very scary times. And I set myself up for disappointment, which sets off the spiral of worry, depression, and desire to call my Mom at 2am.

What's a girl to do if she can no longer hop into the elephant or call out for a drink of tepid tap water? Well, I can jump into the Word. In fact, when I start to feel really, really consumed in worry, like TODAY, I recall that I've not been in the Word for a few nights or more. I'm a little slow at times. I seem to need that "slam on the brakes and fly toward the windshield" experience before I realize that God's righteous hand never stops protecting me from crashing through.

If you ever get to worrying like I do, and if songs are a little easier to work with than reading, may I suggest "Great Light of The World"? Or like, you can just click it.

The light of His grace can fill up your heart, just as my Mom filled up my tiny, maize colored, tupperware cup:-) May you be blessed!

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