Just Keep Floating


Written between June and August 2019

Okay, That is an odd sounding name for a blog post, but you will get it… really.. I promise.  

My brain overfloweth of late and it hath been stopped up with many a thing. 

Let me take this in sections: 

  1. I am working  for the first time since 2011. Yep. I gots a job. It is very easy going and I am doing fine.  I am only here at work a mere 15 hours a week just now so, if anything, it is something I look forward to.  I am part of a vanguard of tutors who have been hired to begin a new online tutoring program for Austin Community College.  It would be understandable to imagine that I am doing this from home. But that is not the case. Part of the job of this “elite” unit is showing up to a fancy computer lab at the fancy and fairly  new Round Rock campus. I am older than most of the tutors, and the boss, by at least a century. But, I am having to learn new things about software (YIKES!) and I am getting paid to not work very hard, so I cannot complain.  It tires me out when added to my other duties at home so it is about perfect.
  2. I have had, cross my fingers and knock on wood and anything else  you can possibly think of, no hospitalizations since January. I have only had two ER visits during the last seven months.  Some of this is due to the fact that I would rather die than go to a hospital and be poked and prodded and humiliated and de-humanized.  However, whatever the motivation, I have enjoyed better health over all. If I try to think about this very hard it makes me panic, so I am not going to say anything else about it just now. 
  3. Duties at home: Yes.  There are many at this point. I have an endless supply of duties pertaining to home and hearth at the moment.  I can go crazy there very, very quickly. At the moment we have SIX dogs, one cat and one bird in the house.. And a partridge in a pear tree….  As well as any number of young persons who are in various stages of getting ready to move to their respective colleges and universities in about a months’ time.   Such young persons are working at fairly manual jobs (most of them) and are HUNGRY and so consume mass quantities. I have witnessed food consumption I would rather not speak of… it is simply too graphic to think of  or relive. Let’s just say that back in the day when Sea World had the Shamu Show and the trainers would pour buckets of fish into the killer whales’ mouths, (yes.. that) that is what it feels like. I feel like my young persons slide into home base in the kitchen and open their mouths and I throw in buckets of chum.  They take off again and when they return, I need to have more chum ready for them. I have to add here, the kids are not the only eaters of the chum. My husband, the distance runner, is also one of the chum eaters. Goodness bless him, he eats pretty healthy but he EATS and EATS….. Of course, this is all in comparison to me.  I have a stomach that has been surgically replumbed. It is really, really small and I cannot eat much and I cannot tolerate much so my menu choices are totally boring and completely yuck. Food is not the only thing I need supply the young’uns. I am trying to listen to their plans, offer advice when asked, get things ready for the moves and do whatever I can to keep our home going while it is basically under attack from so many animals.  I cannot even begin to count the number of poops and pees we clean up off the rug each week. When everything is said and done, my husband and I are pretty sure the ‘new’ (we had it done a few years ago)’ carpet will have to go bye bye.
  4. It is hard to find peace.  It is hard to find my center.  It is hard to imagine what the future will be like. I feel like I am treading water as fast as I can and sometimes my arms just wear out and my chin dips under.  I wonder at those moments if it is worth it to keep paddling. I mean, floating face down for a bit might be sort of peaceful—Except for the whole drowning thing- I think it would quiet and lovely.  It is just that I don’t want to drown: I really don’t. I need to remember what my father taught me about swimming, (Daddy was a lifeguard and an Eagle Scout (the first one ever in Bexar county Texas)  who excelled at swimming and taught me to swim from a very early age). He always told me that when you get tired swimming, roll over onto your back and float. Let the water keep you up. He would tell me to lie back in the water and he would hold his arms out, (old swimming teacher trick) and tell me I was fine, and then he would slowly remove his arms and then tell me, “you are floating on your own.”   This isn’t a bad metaphor for what I am experiencing right now. I have been getting just so, so tired that I don’t feel like I can’t keep swimming. I don’t have anything left for anyone else, let alone myself( or G-d. ) Maybe I should just lean back and float and trust that I will keep floating without trying to. I am ok without the constant pitter patter my brain makes when it is constantly talking in my ear about every little thing I cannot control, “money… there isn’t enough, wrinkles…. you have too many, marriage… it isn’t going well because your spouse is always telling you that you have hurt his feelings by not checking in or not discussing something or not explaining yourself clearly or something, when all you know up in your head is you are tired and you cannot think in a linear fashion.  What do you do when you start to have performance anxiety in every fucking corner of your life? You want to turn over and float upside down! No! I choose to roll onto my back and let the water do the work!
  5. I will miss the chaos.  I know I will. I will cry when they leave.  I will cry for joy and cry for the loss. I love my babies so, so much.  But, I am also ready to move on to the next phase of my life and theirs. What will it all look like?  I don’t know. But I am eager to keep letting the stream carry me along so I can find out. And, to be honest, that is all we can do anyway.  


I am happy that I remembered  Daddy’s teaching method from so long ago.  What I wouldn’t give to have him here again! 

But, I guess the lesson is still crystal clear.  I can trust that the water will keep me afloat. The Creator is not going to simply let me drown. However, I have to push past my own boundaries if I want to stay afloat.  I can’t give in and float upside down just to see what it is like to let myself go into the void: no matter how tempting. 


Just like my daddy letting me know he was there and that I could trust what was around me when he let go… I have to trust somewhat in the notion that we all just keep floating in the vast sea of life.  



I never posted this essay and now it is late August.  The kids have all moved to their respective new homes to attend their new schools.  My daughter is settled in San Antonio and starting graduate school. I think she will be very happy with her new life. 

My son is starting his higher ed experience for the first time.  I think he will do well. There has been so much change. The kids and their animals have left the house and the last couple of weeks it has just been me, my husband and four furry sons; three dogs and one angry kitty. We will soon be joined by our niece but things will stay pretty quiet.  

This is the start of a new era.  

I don’t know what to think.

I don’t know what to write. 

I don’t know how to process. 

Who am I without my children around? 

Am I a professional? 

Am I a worker?

Am I a writer? 

Am I still a musician? 

Am I a lover? 

A I a friend? 

Am I a comforter? minister/ rabbi/ counselor? 

Am I a teacher? 

Am I still a mom? 


Am I a professional sick person? 


Good Grief, I hope  not…. I guess I just keep floating: like before. 

Oddly enough, after a two week hiatus from my job, I have found myself really, really stressed coming back to it this week.  There is a lot of half assery going on. It is not anyone’s fault. I mean it is the fault of the administration, not anyone who I am working with.  It can be very frustrating. I just want to do my job well and go home.  

That just isn’t the way the ball bounces:) 

It bounces kinda sideways… and crooked like. 

I have to let go of my drive to make things.. and myself the best of the bestest.  

It makes me sick.  

It invades my subconscious and I lose sleep. 

Going back to my dad, he told me that if I continued in this kind of thinking, I would get sick like he did.  His life was cut short by this very same thing. He realized that his drive to succeed had compromised his physical health.  Now that I have done some research I think I understand why so many of us in my family have weird diseases or die young: we are genetic mutants:(  It is the Ashkenazi Jew thing. We come from European (mostly eastern) Jews and our gene pool became a lot smaller compliments of a certain freak with a tiny moustache and stupid looking boots.  


I have tried to do differently and prioritize my health  and yet I am still not totally achieving success. It would seem that it is out of my hands and that would lead me to believe that I need to be forgiving of my own weaknesses, even though I always chastise myself for not “doing better” and somehow fixing myself. 


I cannot fix my genetic combination.  I also cannot alter what has happened (is and will happen) to my health.  


All I can do is keep floating and know that even when I think I can swim no farther and I want to give up, all I have to do is roll onto my back and let the stream of life do the work.