I felt my heart squeeze. It always does when I am being reminded of social difficulties Alex encounters as a child with autism - while he can solve an advance math equation, he may need help to learn basic things like this.
"How about if I come by during your lunch break and we hang out at monkey bars together?" I asked. So the hang-out date was set.
The next day I woke up with a very unpleasant feeling - sore throat. Ah, really?
Luckily, I could work from home that day - I only had to review a few projects, have a phone conference with El Centro court, and hang-out with Alex for a half an hour during lunch. Late in evening I had to fly to Tucson, AZ, for a quick work trip, so I hoped to get rid of the sore throat by taking it easy and drinking lots of tea.
At around 9AM, though, I got a phone call from El Centro. Expecting to hear that my phone conference was confirmed, I was told the opposite - I had to show up to El Centro court in person. So you know, El Centro is 3.5 hour drive each way.
My promise to Alex was going to go down the drain, and that made me very sad. I know I said before that being a working mom is absolutely doable. And it is. But I never said that it is physically and emotionally easy.
So I left my tea unfinished, dressed up and got in the car. I did notice that there is less than a half a tank of gas in it, but I took a calculated risk and drove off - I was going to fill up once I get to El Centro.
The drive was long. Being bored at first, I started making work related calls and, before I knew, I was on the phone for hours. My head started warming up, and congestion started creeping in. I felt pretty miserable... until the car dash board lit the low-gas light. Then I panicked. I was in the middle of the desert, with GPS showing a nearest gas station being 19 miles away.
Oh, getting stuck in the middle of nowhere was not an option for me. While I know that turning air conditioner off does not really save much gas, I could not waste a drop. I turned the air-conditioner off and rolled down the window. The hot wind, 102 degrees to be exact, hit my face with a 70MPH speed. My body was hot inside and outside. My soul was tired, sad, frustrated and terrified - all at once.
While I knew that my car was not capable of hearing me, I started begging it to take me to the gas station safely.
The rest of my day and night passed by like a dream. Not sure if it was fever or if it was my sinuses that filled my head with fog. But I got the job done, drove back home, had dinner with my boys, drove to LAX, flew to Tucson, stayed in a hotel overnight, got the job done again, and headed back.
As I got to the airport, I had about two hours till my flight. I was glad to find at the terminal the Samuel Adams restaurant where I could order the curing meal - philly cheese steak sandwich with fries and beer. Heavy.
I started thinking back, trying to understand what do I do and why. I guess this is a question that all men and women ask themselves at some point in life. Who am I and what do I want?
Interestingly, when I am on the top of my game, feeling strong and capable, I don't question why I do what I do - I enjoy my life. I am a person who is incapable of living a routine life - I like being challenged, being a mom, working on beautiful creative projects, making impact in human lives by helping them in their legal battles for survival. My friends tell me that I am a superwoman and that they would love to live my life...
But once things get difficult, I forget the highs - I feel so... low. I feel tired and sad. I feel that my childhood dreams of living a fairy-tale life never came true. So what do I do? Am I doing too much? Or maybe my understanding of what life is all about is somehow screwed up?
I was thinking and thinking and thinking, but could not come up with answers. I was stuck.
I don't know if I do too much. I don't know if my view on reality is screwed up. But I do know that after I ate my philly cheese steak sandwich and drank my beer, I felt... better, and started looking forward to going home, seeing my boys, getting a good night's sleep in my own bed, and start a new day tomorrow.
Hmm. Whether I like it or not, life cannot be always zBeautiful. But thanks to these kinds of days, I can appreciate it and be happy when life is zBeautiful...
With love always,
xo, Zuma A.
P.S. My dear readers, I would so love to hear from you. Am I alone? Do you feel this way sometimes?
Please talk to me. I need you.