One Day at a Time

 Its the simple things. Take care of those and the big things work out. Stay in the moment and live one day at a time. That’s what I’m trying to do: take pleasure and satisfaction from attention to detail and be mindful of exactly what I’m doing and what I’m trying to achieve.  To help yourself, help other people. A win-win situation, and that’s what you’ve got to do.

 In 1996 my 16 year old nephew was dumped in my lap. I got a call at 1 AM to drive out in the middle of nowhere and pick him up because the family he was living with was throwing him out. I remember driving along a country road, full of muddy potholes, that was quickly narrowing to a goat path. I picked him up and took him back to my place. He was a mess: taking lots of drugs and about to drop out of high school. I had no choice really, but I wasn’t mad at my brother for leaving me with his child. He did what he did and taking up the slack was something that had to be done. To cut to the chase my nephew stayed in school, eventually got his PhD and is now drug free and a professor at a major university making pretty good money. But I can see in him mistakes I made that I don’t want to make again.

 Now I have another child to help: my 8 year old grandniece. Her parents are too busy swilling beer and watching reality TV to really pay attention to her. They ignore her and the fact children just want to know that someone cares about them. All humans do. A lot of parents don’t realize how much effect they have on young minds. So I’ve taken the job of being her answer man, and this job is very important. I’ve learned to just stick to the basics: give her a solid framework to build on. Universal truths and not opinions. The circle of life and how things run in cycles. And have fun fishing salamanders and crayfish out of creeks, looking at how they work, and returning them. Making sure she knows to avoid the claws. I’ve set up an aquarium and stocked it with several types of fish and snails. She can see the snail eggs appear, the tiny embryos develop, the babies hatch out, start their lives and grow into adult snails. And the inevitable empty shell at the bottom of the tank that slowly dissolves to provide calcium for the living snails to build their shells.I also have a place where I pile up all the grass clippings and it is filled with earth worms. I thought she’d think worms were gross, but she loves them. So we go out and dig up worms.  We are also doing some experiments like making rock candy. She can see the crystals grow, and at the end they’ll make a tasty treat. And regular trips to the park so that she can play with other children, get some exercise, and perhaps make some new friends along the way. Mind and body-another universal truth.

 That’s what’s going on with me. Just trying to get better, do better and feel better. Its working one day at a time.

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