Wisdom from a duck

Mother’s Day was this past weekend and memories on Facebook reminded me that seven years ago I was making eggplant “meatballs” with my then-2 year old daughter. Facebook does not show the memories that came later that evening when six first-responders showed up in my home and I was taken to the hospital due to a bad reaction between alcohol and my anti-depressant medication. I did not drink alcohol for three months after that incident.

My husband jokes with me that eggplant “meatballs” were the biggest offender that evening. We as a couple have moved on from that incident but what happened that night and the fall out still lingers as part of who I am. Everything is fine and dandy until something comes up that triggers past experiences for me. No dollar amount spent on therapy or a certain amount of kilometers hiked will make past experiences fade completely. What I do have is skills that I have learned (and still learning) so that I can deal when something comes creeping in.

I was all about health and fitness when that picture was taken. I had created a goal to run a marathon and I was actually working towards it. I had never run a race before but I wanted to. The chance to participate in a race never came before that incident made everything go to hell in a hand basket. I have participated in a lot of 5 to 6 KM walks and 20 KM bike rides for charity so I still did something.

My family and I walked in the 5 KM portion of Shoppers Drug Mart Love You Run / Walk in support of Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba on Mother’s Day. The truth is that they ran and I walked. My daughter is a runner and races with the Manitoba Runners Association. As much as I wanted a nice family walk in support of an organization that has helped me, my daughter was itching to speed up and run. I love watching her run and seeing joy flow out of her. With my encouragement, they ran off and waited for me at the finish line.

Without giving it any thought, I blurted out, “next year we will all run the 5 KM together.”

Wait…what….back up! I basically promised my kid who has an insane memory for small details that I will run 5 KM with her. SHE WILL NOT LET ME FORGET THIS!

This week has been hard. I keep thinking about that picture of me making those stupid eggplant “meatballs” that fell apart and were mushy. I cannot help but to feel a strong sense of sadness this week, almost a loss, as if I am grieving something.

I went for a half an hour walk at lunch twice this week. On Monday, my feet hurt from the 5 km walk. I need to get better supporting insoles in my shoes but that is a whole other topic. The route I took is along a busy roadway where large semi-trucks fly by, garbage is littered in the ditch full of stagnate water, and a rusty, old street light lays on the ground that is being overtaken by weeds.

On each walk, I saw the same duck that was swimming and diving for food in the filth that humans have left for him. I am a Disney Princess in jeans and always talk to animals. We had a good conversation about finding the silver lining in our environments. If he wasn’t getting what he needed in that ditch, he would just leave. There is a residential pond with a sprinkler not far from this ditch that I am sure he has seen while flying. Something in this ditch, beyond the surface makes him stay.

Looking beyond the surface is a skill that I too have learned. The duck and I are kindred spirits, meant to meet this week. Facebook has shown me that Mother’s Day picture six other times but this year I was affected by it differently. I’m tempted to say that this is the way the universe is telling me that I should run in a race and make peace with myself from that time.

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