Archive | January, 2012

That Little Voice Inside Your Head

30 Jan

Last week I was watching the Today Show and they featured a well-spoken young woman who made a terrible decision. Anna Beninati, a college student, decided to hop a train. According to the interview, it was something she and her friends had done many times before. But this night as she was running, a little voice went off in her head. Anna said, “I had one last fleeting thought of I shouldn’t be doing this. But it was like by then it was too late. I was running so fast, reaching for the train. So I just went.”

So Anna jumped and the consequences were tragic. “I remember looking down at my leg dragging on the ground, looking at the wheel and how fast they were going. I remember looking down there and thinking, oh, my God, what have I done?”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this remarkable woman since I saw the interview. The accident–which happened in September–left her a double amputee, yet she seems to be moving forward with optimism and a tremendous energy. I wish her well.

I’ve been thinking about her message. Near the end of the interview, she told Ann Curry:

I had a clear feeling for several minutes before I even ran for the train just thinking, you know, something tells me I’m not going to get on that train. Something tells me this is going to go badly. This is not a good idea. I don’t feel right about it. I figured, I’m a teenager. I’m just being stupid. I can do this. I went for it anyway. I’m paying for it…

…Follow your gut. If you get that feeling something’s not right no matter what the situation is, you’re walking home by yourself at night, you’re about to text and drive, get behind the wheel of a car and you have had alcohol, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

I’ve been thinking about that little voice inside my head. Oh, I know I have one. Actually, it rarely shuts up. By nature I’m a worrier so I tend to over think most thinks. One particular incident comes to mind. It wasn’t exactly a warning, but perhaps a premonition of sorts. Isn’t that what Anna felt? A premonition that this wasn’t going to go well. One night when I was newly married, I was out with my husband and I had a really bad feeling something was going to happen to my family and I wondered how my parents would be able to deal with it. Maybe the thought entered my mind because the roads were icy that night. I don’t know. But the next morning, I received a phone call from my mom that my sister had fallen ill. That was the first day of a very long journey through cancer.

My other sister is very big on dreams. Are they another subconscious voice in our head? She called me once and said she had a dream that I was pregnant and expecting a girl. Later that day, I took a pregnancy test. Yep, I was pregnant with my third child (and my first daughter). I suppose you could dismiss the dream. I was just starting my family so it wasn’t a big leap for my sister to have a dream about me being pregnant. Or is there something more at work here?

What about the young Australian woman who bungee jumped from the bridge in Africa only to have the cord snap and drop her into the Zambezi River ? Did a little voice whisper in her head, “This isn’t such a good idea.” Did another voice argue, “But you’ve come this far. If you back out now…”

The idea of this fascinates me. Is this little voice a survival mechanism? Or are they just obvious last minute thoughts of someone about to do something very dangerous? Do cautious people listen to it more?

Do you  have a little voice in your head? Have you ever changed a course of action because of that voice or a bad feeling? I’d love to hear about it.

I hope my kids pay attention to that little voice, it may serve them well. If not, I hope they hear mine: “Do you really think that’s such a good idea?”

Sweet Sixteen

15 Jan

Today my “little man” turns sixteen. It’s really hard to imagine. I remember turning sixteen. I still have the Sweet Sixteen charm my parents gave me, but I think I’ll save it for one of my daughters. Sixteen is one of those birthday milestones. Soon, he’ll be asking for the keys to my car. And in a blink of an eye, he’ll be headed off to college.

When I first brought my little man home, I thought I’d never sleep again.And I love sleep. I thought the days of watching him–and later his siblings–play in the yard would fill my days forever. One by one, they got older, headed off to school, and no longer needed me to supervisor their play. Soon time became my own again. Time I now use to write.

Sometimes I look back at the photos of my lovable little son and wonder if I took enough time to simply enjoy the moment. It’s very easy to get swept up in the day-to-day activities of being a mom. But overall, yes, I do believe I cherished many of the moments ~ as fleeting as they were. I can recall many of them with clarity. Others I recorded in a journal. Kids say the darndest things, right? Every so often I pull out the journal and read entries to my kids. The day–the exact moment–they said something, comes floating back. I can see him in his feet PJs asking me if I meant to give him WARM medicine for his cough. (Certainly I wouldn’t intend to give him COLD medicine.)  I can see my little man sitting at Olive Garden, olives tipping each of his fingers before he popped them into his mouth.

Sometimes I just look at my sixteen year old and wonder where the time went. When did he get taller than me? When did he start to shave? I am so grateful that we are all happy and healthy and here to celebrate another birthday. Happy Sweet Sixteen. May you have many, many more.

I love this photo of my little man ~ back when he let me dress him.