Somewhere in the 13th hour of the workday, I hit a wall. Words were swimming on the screen. “Why can’t I ever get done?”
Defeated, I got up from my desk and headed to the shower, armed with the new lemon-sage body wash and shower gloves that Amazon had just left at my front door, the only thing I’d had to look forward to in days.
No time for anything else.
I don’t (entirely) blame my job. I’ve always struggled with boundaries. Perfectionism and anxiety and a touch of obsessive compulsion. Toss in a pandemic. Sprinkle liberally with racial unrest. Place in the pressure cooker that is public school education. Set timer to “uncertainty”, and voila!
n. the feeling that no matter what, [what] you do is always somehow wrong—as if there’s some obvious way forward that everybody else can see but you, each of them leaning back in their chair and calling out helpfully, “colder, colder, colder…”The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
Perhaps I could shower it off. Lemon-sage the negative energy away.
But it was when I emerged from the bathroom that I knew, all at once, that I already had all I needed.
My freshly-turned-6-year-old had set up a spa for me.
Classical music playing.
Pine-scented candles burning.
A glass of ice water garnished with cucumber.
She bowed at the waist, something she’d seen on tv, and directed me to the smoothed/over bed for my massage.
She clambered up behind me and proceeded to push and pat at my back. Gently, her tiny fingers tapped out a message just for me.
I held back tears. Just barely.
“How’d you like your massage, Mommy?”