Bodies

After a long day at work yesterday–scheduling itineraries for visiting job candidates, meeting with students, teaching classes, trouble-shooting intern problems, tracking down photos for an article I’m writing, grabbing a book from the library for my own book project, and fielding phone calls and texts from Edwina (most inquiring about where I am and what I’m doing)–I dragged my tired body to the car to drive home in time to tuck in the girls and eat a bowl of pasta before crashing for the night.  This morning, a loud, annoying alarm rang in my dreams–or so I thought before giving in, rolling over, and hitting the snooze button. Friday.

Bodies are peculiar things. We count on them to sustain us, to take us where we need to go and to hold us up as we get on with the business of doing. There are days when I forget to nourish my body as I should, drink one too many glasses of red wine, skip a run in favor of a bit more sleep. As appointment time rolls around–a visit to my oncologist or cancer surgeon–I recall these moments vividly, promising my body not to neglect it so much in the future.  I’m not sure my body cares that I slip up occasionally or pays attention to the inner dialogue I’m sending its way. After all, being there for us, protecting our souls from the elements, is what bodies are supposed to do.

My mom’s body gave out on her unexpectedly last week. While walking into her bedroom, she heard a sudden snap and fell to the floor. A broken femur. Surgery. Rehab. A long journey lies ahead for my mom and her body.

She told me that she tries hard not to get discouraged, but the exercises are difficult and the pain is constant. She longs to be with her friends, many of whom she’s known since grade school, for the morning water aerobics class at the YMCA. She needs to be at home to cook for my dad. She wants to sit in the front pew at church.

It’s going to be all right, I tell her. Her leg will grow stronger. It will take her where she needs to go and hold her up as she gets on with the business of doing. This moment is best spent hitting the snooze button and letting her body call the shots for a while.

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