Zen and the Art of Azera Maintenance

It’s hard to find a solid block of “me time” now that I have two little ones (as well as two kitties) constantly vying for my attention. Take right now, for instance. It’s just past 11 p.m. on Thursday night and I’m finally getting around to writing this week’s reflection. (It’s a good thing that I learned the fine of art of writing under pressure while in graduate school!) I was supposed to pay homage to three great dads in my life by the end of last weekend and here I sit more than just a handful of days later having skipped last week’s assignment and quickly using up the remainder of today’s brain power to construct this week’s thoughtful prose. I’m going to save my very belated Dad’s Day post until later on this weekend, as I want to take some additional time to put it together. Tonight, I feel compelled to write about a collection of thoughts that found their way into my overcharged mind earlier this evening.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, I find it very difficult carving out any time that’s all my own. I knew that when I became a mom I would have to sacrifice my free time, but I didn’t realize just how much of it would really disappear. Sometimes I’m able to catch a free moment or two in the shower or on the treadmill — and that’s only if I’m lucky in synchronizing Clara’s and Elyse’s afternoon naps (this is a skill that I’m slowly perfecting). An ideal afternoon consists of Clara and Elyse both snoozing peacefully by 4 p.m. so that I can get in a nice long run followed by a hot shower. If it’s a really good day, I am sometimes able to get dinner going before one or both girls wakes up. Unfortunately, these types of afternoons are few and far between. Instead, I’ve learned that I have to make my own free time — even if this means getting up at 7 a.m. (ugh, I am not a morning person at all!) to get in a workout before the girls wake up for the day. Believe me, even though I absolutely dread getting up early, it’s much easier dragging myself out of bed than trying to complete a workout without tripping over an infant or toddler.

Tonight I was able to catch some “me time,” as I made my way to and from South Boston to pay my respects to a dear, dear friend whose mother passed away earlier this week. Taylor stayed behind to watch the girls so that I could drive up to the wake, so this left me with just over two hours of driving time. Just me, the open road and Taylor’s new Hyundai Azera made for the perfect mini get-away. As I drove up to South Boston, the sun was shining, the temperature was still holding steady in the upper eighties after another day of 90-plus degree weather and I was left with nothing to do but drive and think. As Mickey Avalon’s clever lyrics and catchy beats emanated from the car’s stereo system, I wove my way through the remnants of the evening’s rush hour traffic and allowed my mind to slightly wander. Since I was on my way to a wake, I couldn’t help but think about my friend and her mother’s passing. Again, my mind questioned why kind and caring people like my dear friend are forced to endure such difficult and painful times? Of course, there is no clear-cut rhyme or reason as to why certain circumstances occur, but I still couldn’t help but ponder the debate between random occurrences and the acts of a higher power.

After fighting the traffic and racing against the clock, I finally made it to South Boston with enough time to see my friend and pay my respects to her mother. Although I have been to my fair share of wakes, this particular one really got to me, as it was difficult seeing my otherwise cheerful and happy friend so sad. When the wake was over, we hugged goodbye, said our “I love yous” and parted ways. As I walked back to the car, I felt so proud of my friend for facing a difficult time with such poise and confidence. Although she wasn’t wearing her usual smile on her face, it was still present in her eyes.

Before I hopped on to 93 and starting my journey back home, I stopped off at Dunkin Donuts for a vanilla chai. I know, I know, you’re probably scratching your virtual heads wondering why I was craving a hot beverage after today’s scorcher? Well, hot chai relaxes me and I couldn’t think of a better way to enjoy the last hour or so of my “me time” than zipping down the highway in Taylor’s sleek new car with the stereo blasting and that hot, cinnamony tea in my hand. With chai in hand, the tunes turned up, and my mind full of heartfelt thoughts for my friend and her family, I made my way back to my husband and daughters. Witnessing my friend’s composure reassured me that her strength, as well as the support system of loving friends and family members that surround her, would get her through this trying time. It’s true that you really don’t know who your true friends are until you are faced with a difficult situation; a lesson that is oftentimes learned at the very worst of times. Although I’ve faced my own share of hard times, I’ve never had to deal with the loss of a parent and my heart goes out to my friend on this sad night.

I hugged my girls a little tighter before tucking them into bed tonight. I don’t know why it is that it takes the passing of another to make you appreciate the life that you’re living a little more, but it does. Tonight I ask you to send thoughts of positivity and healing to my friend, a caring soul with a  passion and exuberance for life and all of those who surround her. May the coming days be a little easier for her knowing she’s loved by so many.

I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to take another mini get-away in Taylor’s car. But at least I know that if all else fails, I can always grab a cup of tea, sneak out to the garage and turn up the stereo for just a few minutes of zen in the Azera.

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