Surprise. Not a word I like to hear, especially when associated with smell, but one that I am learning to appreciate. I used to equate “Surprise” with “Caught you off guard”, with not being prepared, and with situations that were wrapped in negative consequences. A surprise was that one little thing I didn’t consider; leaving me to wonder how/why I didn’t see that coming. I like to know the next step, I plan, and after I plan, I mentally review all possible scenarios that may occur, eliminate the absurd ones, mostly, and on an average day there aren’t too many things that “surprise” me. I may act surprised when A. hits H. on her back, right in front of me, with enough force to leave a mark, then gets up and spits like she’s playing first base, all because H. took the pink piece of chalk (there are three pieces of pink chalk), but I am not, it’s all apart of the theatre we create as parents to teach lessons. We are mostly prepared for our kids hiccups and fits. Although, the spitting thing threw me for a moment – her theatre to learn lessons?

Obviously, I have been sideswiped by life’s events, we all have, and there are many situations that we simply can’t predict. It doesn’t matter how much we think we understand that things (people, feelings, etc.) are created, destroyed, and transferred, we are still surprised by the way those realities feel.

Well, I was surprised this morning. Why? Because, I didn’t wake up angry at the world, I didn’t want to grab my pillow and strangle it until my negative energy was sapped, and I wasn’t dreading the day. I actually woke up feeling rested, full of energy, singing to, um, ediebrickell, and dancing with the kids. Why did this surprise me? I am typically a pretty up-beat person.

A couple of nights ago I was talking to someone on the phone, they shared that they had recently went to the doctor (regular check-up type thing), and after the check-up they decided that they were going to: train for a 10k, reduce/eliminate coffee, and change other things around in their routine. ‘A trip to the doctor can get you thinking’ they said (The doctor visit was not the sole reason for their change in activities, but it helped.), and this got me thinking, because I need a push to do the things I know I should, I am going to quit smoking, but I didn’t stop there, if I’m making changes they’re happening all at once, so, goodbye coffee (for a week). Now, before anyone gets excited, I have tried this before. Don’t get me wrong, I hope to make it life-long this time, but I can’t think that way. I will definitely drink coffee again, I love it, but “flushing” my system for a week can’t hurt. Plus, I am looking forward to a good caffeine buzz again, and when I have my first cup I can look at it as a reward for eliminating nicotine – and then deep clean the house with a clenched jaw.

But, I am still left wondering: Why did I wake up feeling so good? Why wasn’t my body missing its nightly fill of nicotine? How was Yerba Mate filling the “coffee void”? I knew that day one might be easy, but day two? I won’t get ahead of myself. I’m actually starting to feel a little angry at this post, but the morning is when I am a little, well, less patient than the rest of the day, the three o’clock hour kills me too, and it is a good day – so far.

I was hoping the Easter bunny was going to be creepy, for a funny photo, but she's actually pretty normal looking.

I have a theory:

Since moving to Alabama, we haven’t opened our windows and left them that way through the night. We typically have them closed: to keep the smell of cigarettes out, because it has either been too hot/cold, and we have gotten used to conditioned air. Last night was beautiful and there was no danger of smoke getting in the house, so, we opened-up.

I believe that the smell of fresh air entering my body, as I lay sleeping, is the culprit, the “thing” that created my elevated mood. Seriously, breathing in crisp, cool, spring evening air, filled my lungs with something they have been missing, and perhaps the rest of my body and mind have been missing too, something I have been reluctant to give them, air and surroundings that I wasn’t in control of. For eight hours, yes, I am lucky to sleep well – even when R. wakes up thinking she’s covered in bugs – I don’t take that for granted, but for eight hours I was not controlling what entered me. This lack of control, even though it was occurring when I was in dream world, gave me something that I would not have chosen to give myself, something I needed. What? I will never know, I was sleeping.

My Papa Sense tells me:

Every now and again it helps to allow the world to “enter us” as it wants to, to allow the environment to join our bodies in it’s own way. It’s also beneficial to allow people to “enter us” the way they are, children to approach us as they are, and be open to what our environment (people,nature, situations, work, etc.) is trying to teach us, and remember that we may not always know what is best for us. I guess that comes down to trust. I will try to be more awake (aware) when these events occur, but am grateful for whatever smells, energies, or anything else made its way through the screens last night. Perhaps the neighbors took up the habit and second-hand smoke is getting me through.