For those of you who are first born children, or perhaps even second born children, the concept of consciously putting on your big girl panties (or big boy panties) may seem foreign to you. From what I understand you are raised with a natural sense of responsibility and an ease of leadership. I distinctly remember referring to my oldest sister as, “boss of the world” in a less than respectful tone ever since she reached babysitting capable age.
However, for those of us who are blessed as the youngest child, or at least on the lower end of the sibling chronology, the idea of being responsible for you is something that must be learned, and for me, I learned it with much distrust. Believe me it is far easier to have someone else take care of the details while you go play.
My most recent lesson in this has been exceedingly recent, ie, last month.
I took a vacation for three weeks. I left my job in Sydney as a Children’s Entertainer (where I travelled Australia performing poetry and puppetry shows in schools) and flew to the USA where I would pick up belongings I’d left there some two years ago, and visit both friends and more importantly, my sons.
Due to severe health and personal issues I was forced to leave both Cedar Rapids, Iowa and then the USA entirely and return home to my roots in Australia. After two years of ocean, family, and “Hillsong” therapy, I found myself healthy enough to return to see my three sons.
I spent one full week at a waterpark hotel just outside of the city of Cedar Rapids with my three boys where we played in the water all day and cuddled in our room all evening. There is no greater source of healing than the eyes of a young boy looking at his mom saying, “I love you.”
I knew the whole trip was going to be difficult. I am an emotional creature and the idea of three weeks’ worth of hellos and goodbyes to many who have been nearest and dearest in my life seemed rather gruelling. So I put my big girl panties on and took charge.
In having to pay out a surprise extra $1000 to pick up and drop off my rental car at separate locations and having a dear friend help with the driving as we travelled from Orlando, Florida to Manassas, Virginia and then on alone to Cedar Rapids, Iowa; I knew that at every step I had to make the decisions. I have no husband to rest in and say, “You decide.” My father was a whole sunrise away and everyone I met with looked to me to see what I wanted to do. Thus, I put on those big girl panties even after I had to change them a couple of times. . .
I followed my plan and had a fantastic time being blessed over and over again by all the wonderful people in my life. I have spent many years pouring myself into the lives of those around me and this trip became the most beautiful episode of so many who loved me pouring back into me. It has been the greatest time of my life.
On Monday July 9th 2012, I drove out of Cedar Rapids toward Chicago International Airport under much duress. I had said my goodbyes and imparted my maternal advise and was headed back to Australia to finish two more performance tours (to South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory) and continue working on getting my newly published novel to a selling place that would enable me to return again to my sons.
As I drove through Iowa City there was much construction on the roads and my mind was not in a solid place of concentration. I knew where I was going, and it was an easy route, but for the detours. By the time I realized I was on the wrong road and calculated the return to route timing I realized it was likely I could miss my plane. Crap! There goes another pair of clean panties.
I know it is a simple thing to just get the next flight, but I was suddenly faced with the question, “What was I willing to do to get on that plane?” As I drove and talked with my sister on the phone deliberating what to do, more than once I pulled off the road to throw up what little food was in my stomach as my entire body rejected the idea of leaving.
My sister and I agreed that there was no wrong decision and either choice would be a good one with its own set of consequences. My decision was only in which consequences I wanted to deal with.
I turned off the road I was traveling and drove back to Cedar Rapids.
Gregga J. Johnn (my nom de plume) is best quoted as believing that, “Life, Love & Liberty are what you make of them, so continue, continue, continue . . . .” I have decided to remake my family.
Thus, here I am, sitting in the spare room of a generous friend, waiting to hear back from employers to whom I’ve sent resume’s, hoping to find an inexpensive vehicle and a more permanent residence. Today, my sons have returned from their family vacation and I will tell them that I was unable to leave them again, and that I am staying.
I am fully equipped with a fresh handful of clean panties and much experience in washing the soiled ones, so here goes . . .