My Visit with Mae

Meeting Mae awakened something deep inside me. Staring into her eyes I found a deeper determination to live in joy and inspiration, to love even more than I did before feeling her soft, sweet breath on my shoulder. Yesterday we returned from our visit to Pennsylvania where we met our newest granddaughter Donna Mae. I awoke early this morning full of positive energy and a calm that I haven’t felt on a Sunday morning in years.
Being in the presence of a sweet bundle of joy, a true miracle of life, to me is one of the most inspiring of moments. Holding Mae, I felt overwhelmingly content with the warmth of joy wrapping me from head to toe. But my beautiful Donna Mae wasn’t the only factor that allowed me to shed this once stifling layer of doubt. It was the collective conversations and occurrences, mixed together with a cup of unexpected self-discovery that moved me past my worst enemy, relentless worry.
A few years past I began a mission to restore balance in all areas of my life. While I have made meaningful progress, I continued to struggle with an out-of-control, cascading avalanche of worry. Worry is self-sabotaging. It steals joy and complicates the smallest ability to act. Through prayer and meditation, those internal conversations, I have worked to lessen the grip of worry from my life but have had no measured progress.
It wasn’t until I was at my daughter Danielle’s house holding my new granddaughter, Donna Mae, for the first time, staring at this miracle that I remembered this internal conversation. As I held Mae, Danielle said “I’m worried about her eye, it is red and has a little discharge.” Just then baby Mae spit up, began to hiccup and then cry. At that moment I made a conscious effort to not worry. Mae is a newborn baby, between my kids and many grandchildren I have seen this before. Danielle is smart, sensible and a great mother and has it under control. I said to myself “Robin, do not over react, relax and love just love baby Mae.” Of course, my heart strings tugged when baby Mae cried, but for the first time I can remember, my mind did not go down that familiar scary path that ended in me underneath an avalanche of worry. At this moment and many others during my visit, I consciously watched my “worry” and recognized this pattern in my life. I silently reflected how harmful worry is, not only on my health, but in relationships, career goals and dreams.
The last day of our visit, my son-in-law Mick, Danielle, Dan, Neala, Mae and their two dogs Max and Bandit went hiking in this hunting area near Ligonier, PA. There was snow on the ground, the trees were bare, and the sun was warm enough to take the sting out of the occasional whipping chill of the wind. After an hour’s hike, baby Mae became hungry and Danielle, Max and Bandit walked with purpose back toward the car and Mick, Dan and Neala soon disappeared as they ventured to explore further into the woods. I stood there for a moment thinking about what I should do. The air was cool and silent other than the wind in the trees. Danielle’s voice suddenly carried through the silence for Mick to call their hunting dog, Bandit. From a distance I hear Mick call for Bandit, who ignores him and stays with Danielle. I become cautious and begin walking towards Danielle, calling to her that Bandit is not listening. Holding my fears and worries at bay, Danielle then says in and exhaust voice talking loud enough for me to hear, as I am trailing behind her about a football field in length, that “it’s probably best, she wants to keep us and the baby safe.” Safe? This is not safe? In seconds I realize that Mick has is armed, they are safer if there were, say, a bear in the woods. This is the point where normally my worry would have started to create havoc, “a bear is going to get me, or Danielle, or no the dog’s will protect us from the bear… really, dogs, this is it, I am going to die in the cold bare forest……” But my internal voice let me know that, “everything is fine, enjoy this snowy trail and sun on your face and catch up to your daughter.” And I did. Danielle nursed Mae and I sat on the back of their car and listened to the baby nurse and the far-off sounds of Mick and Dan talking and laughing. I had no worry trenching deeply in my shoulders, I had faith and enjoyed each moment as a blessing.
My visit to PA to meet my granddaughter Mae opened my eyes in ways I never would imagine. My continued efforts to evolve toward love and out of fear where becoming noticeable in my life. Every conversation and occurrence gave me an opportunity to simply be happy, to not worry. At the start of the trip I even lost my wallet; driver license, cash, lottery tickets, credit and debit cards. But I didn’t worry or panic. I prayed for a positive outcome then cancelled my cards to be safe. I resolved not to let the worry over this event take away from the joy of being with family. I also recognized during this trip how worry and fear have such a negative impact on my relationships with everyone, even myself. Though I have been working to restore balance in my life, was I truly loving me if I worried constantly about what I said, how I looked and doubting my abilities to do what I dreamt? If I am not treating myself with love, what message does that send to others?
Meeting Mae did truly awaken something deep inside me. She starred at me the moment I first held her, almost as if sizing me up, before she began her uneasy routine of spit up, hiccup, then finally a burp, before her eyes closed and she breathed ever so sweetly on my shoulder as I rocked her to sleep. In that moment she stared at me and we had a silent conversation. Mae said “Nona, I know you are a softy, but I have this infant thing happening where I spit up, hiccup and cry, and I don’t need a worrying, over-thinker, I need to be loved, burped, changed and handed back to my mom for more food. You got this?” and I said, “got it!” and then I cherished every moment doing it.

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