Everything changes too fast.

Everything changes too fast. By Nancy Schatz Alton

A friend asks me, ‘What’s it like to paddle board in the fog?’

She doesn’t know that my husband and I put the paddle board away in its winter home last night, atop the fishing boat. He might take the boat out again before spring. I might hoist my paddle board off his boat and find my way through this fog to the lake. But probably not.

Probably not. The fog is thick today. The fake caller calls 4 times in a row, the recorded voice saying hello. The first three digits look like it’s a call from my 7th grader’s school. I block each phone number, will myself not to answer the next time I hear ringing.

Everything changes too fast, my shoes wet from the grass, my head holding in one million tears.

No one calls anymore. Raising teens fills my head with one million tears. My shoes are wet from the grass because I took the compost and the recycling out while I made my breakfast.

I am losing ground and tasks as the days go by. Yesterday my 16-year-old and I agreed that I’d no longer make her breakfast. I’d stop expecting her to eat the food I prepped; she’d continue to snack on her lunch as her morning unfolds.

The only people who call me are my mother and my husband. And the callers who prank me with offers of more credit and a free trip.

Everyone texts now. I only call my best friend if I cut my finger with a bread knife while prepping lunches. Because then she needs to drive me to urgent care on her day off. She knows no one calls her anymore but her husband and her mother. If I call, she picks up. She knows it’s an emergency.

What’s it like to paddle board in the fog? I don’t know, but I would guess it’s easier than standing still after I break the bowl filled with teriyaki sauce. After the bowl ricochets off the cupboard and the sauce lands on my 16-year-old’s jeans and socks. Still I stood still as she ran off to change. There’s nothing to say. The one million tears are too dry to unspool across my face.

How was your day?  What was your favorite part?

My day was long. My favorite part was when I stood still after the bowl broke and the sauce dirtied my daughter’s jeans and socks. I was thankful my tears stayed in my head.

I’ve practiced standing still after things break. I’m paddle-boarding through the fog. My shoes are wet. The air smells like teriyaki sauce.



2 thoughts on “Everything changes too fast.

  1. Paddleboarding through the fog – what a great metaphor. Standing still, being the eye of the storm. Is it easier as they get older? The storms my 15 year old bring, almost always unpredictably, often need that eye. All too often it is only in hindsight that I realize this.

    1. Some days it is easier. Some days it is not. I do know deciding to celebrate every time I broke a glass has helped. Or years of meditation and writing about mindfulness. But some days I am too tired to stand still. Or too triggered. Or shook, as the cool kids say. It does feel like we are riding out a storm, and it’s such a beautiful storm, one I would not want to miss. Even though I am drenched and cold, tried and sad. I’m also elated to get to ride this storm. What a lucky life, all of it.

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