Riding Through the Jumanji Year

The Year 2020, or The Jumanji Year, as I like to refer to it, has been full of unrelenting surprises & difficult conflictions. The Jumanji Year is the year of ridiculous twists & turns of suspense & unbelievable life situations. I think you all understand what I’m trying to say about 2020. Now I know we all have been sharing the memes & laughing through some challenging situations this year. It can be a good coping mechanism for some to make light of more serious things in this manner. Personally, I laugh things off this way when I’m nervous or uncertain. Comedy can be a way for me to avoid awkwardness by inserting intentional awkwardness. But the best way I cope with troublesome situations or challenges that blow across my path, is with positive power & forceful good energy. Okay, a good metaphor or analogy go a long way too! This year has tested my ability to do this in some ways I haven’t been challenged in a while. Major losses, recurrent losses, & major trauma seem to be like riding a bike for me; I get back up after falling & I remember how to keep riding, even through the pain & doubt the initial fall brings. It’s the little twists of the steering wheel or curbs I accidently jump, that I seem to have a more difficult time navigating. I’m clumsy by nature, but naturally riding a bike isn’t just a walk in the park.

What in the world are you talking about, Farra? I’m talking about despite all the challenges of this year, I have many things to celebrate & I am truly blessed. Even though the year should have been devastating in some ways for me, it has truly progressed on with grace & prosperity. I have stumbled & I have wobbled on my bike. I have even fallen off a couple times, but my bike still works & I’m currently soaring across a beautiful, tree lined hill top. That hill top is located in Blue Springs, Missouri. It’s just on the other side of Kansas, just a hop skip & a jump from my parents’ home where my daughter & I have spent the entirety of her life (approximately the past 16 months). The place where I gained a 3rd Forever family unexpectedly at JC’s BBQ & Grill. It’s never easy embracing change & the uncertainties of a new chapter beginning. However, it can also be exciting & motivating. I have chosen to focus on the potential rather than the doubts & fears. I keep riding because I like the views despite the rain storms & bumps in the path along way.

So, let’s back track a little & get to the updates. May 2019, my daughter, ZeQara was born. Just before, my parents graciously took us into their home during an uncertain time. We were so blessed they opened their arms to allow us a safe place to be while we figured out our next chapter, our next path. I wasn’t sure how long I’d be out after my C-section & having left my job at Buffalo due to being uncomfortable working for & with the people they were bringing in & up. My lease was up at my apartment & moving around my due date didn’t seem smart. It worked out wonderfully & I was able to give my daughter the best possible start in life as well as allow myself the healthy, loving, & supporting space to start learning how to be her mother. They gave us helmets, elbow pads, & reflective tape for our wheels. What began as an uncertain thought & an unsure future, became a solid plan & it produced a glorious outcome. We took a beautiful path through an enchanted forest filled with loving faces riding with us each & every day. When I went back to work, I was again finding myself in uncertain territory. I knew yet another new path was needed & a new chapter was set to begin, but I had no idea what that was going to look like. In fact, I was certain that we would be riding in circles on the same path for a while before finding the next right path; certain there would be some bumped elbows & bruised knees along the way. Talk about being afraid to get back up on the bike & try riding again. I hadn’t felt that feeling in a LONG time! But, I put on my helmet & my elbow pads in preparation to fall off many times before remembering how to ride well. Instead, I was met by a kind spirit who was willing to help me hop back on my bike right away. I didn’t even have to fall off once. I didn’t fall off once because she was there like training wheels to start me out before I had the ability to ride alone again. She built me up, coached me when I wobbled, encouraged me when I succeeded, & most importantly she had faith in me from the start. She gave me the opportunity as a new mother & a new me to start the next chapter in my life. She presented me with a clear path to ride. That chapter, for those of you wondering, was with Team JC’s. And when the colossal uncertainty that was COVID-19 hit, I was given a path that my bike could pass through yet again. I continued to ride, even through the clumsiness that is my nature. The sun hid behind clouds at times, but we pressed on. And that brings us up to speed for the update in this crazy journey.

Just as the sun began to rise & spread vibrant ripples of colored lights across my path, I felt the chill breeze of uncertainty flutter through my hair. It wisped around my ears like a haunting spirit chasing me down a forbidden pathway I had accidentally stumbled upon. I shook my head & pressed on, wiping the thoughts of doubt out of my mind. I waited with an anxious heart until the spirits returned like a gale force wind, catching my rear tire in one fell swoop & nearly knocking me on my ass, but instead knocking me toward a new path; a new chapter. I wouldn’t be able to ride my bike fast enough to get away from it nor could I turn around & go back to path which I’d just come from. I wouldn’t be able to press pause & just ride in circles on the same path I was on either. But the new path calling my name wasn’t necessarily dark or scary or lacking of sunshine & rainbows. I just wasn’t sure I wanted to change my scenery just yet. The new path was the path I had always wanted to stumble upon & take, I just didn’t expect it to come around so quickly. The new path would mean less of the faces I had come to love seeing every day riding next to me & more uncertainties. It also meant more potential & more opportunity; those were the things I would turn my focus to.

So, we packed up our bike riding supplies & we bought a new bike seat, preparing for an entirely new country side to ride through. ZeQara got a shiny new bike too! And she’s officially riding her own new paths these days. That new path is daycare/school. She’s spent the first 16 months of her life in Gramma Daycare when I work & now she is interacting with other tiny humans, learning new things from new teachers, & getting into a routine. It’s only been a few days but she seems to be doing very well & enjoying it. I would bet big money she will be an excellent little bike rider! Then there is my new bike & path. I’ve already had a few struggles; learning to “adult” again, finding a different confidence as a mom without my own mom just literally a room away, & truly balancing my emotions & thoughts between the hard worker I am & being ZeQara’s mother to name a couple.

ZeQara got her first cold this weekend. I have to miss 2 days of work & I have only worked 2 days at this new job. I found myself in a never ending, uncertain cycle of guilt for a day & a half! First, I was nervous about missing work but then I was feeling horrible for even seemingly putting work before my daughter. I found myself also wondering if something I did or didn’t do encouraged her illness to take hold. I went back & forth for hours with 100 thoughts crossing my mind. She was in fairly good spirits through it all & thankfully she is feeling much better today. I eventually got over my own head & spiraling, irrational thoughts but it wasn’t easy. Wobbly bike ride with many twists & turns to navigate. I’m super thankful for technology in situations like us moving away from Gramma though! It’s nice to be able to text her & to also be able to reach out to family & friends or good ole Google for answers to certain things. It’s odd to think about how we did things only 10-15 years ago without the easy access to internet in the palm of our hands. Moving to the “city,” I’m especially grateful for things like Google Maps.

Here we are on our own & overall things are going well. There are still a few uncertainties lingering in the wind, but I am confident they will do less than blow a few leaves around & tousle our hair for a brief moment. I’m truly loving this new bike seat & the path has enormous potential! It’s truly beautiful looking forward at the horizon & the glistening colors of light spilling over it onto our pathways. There are some rather large ominous shadows blocking some of that beautiful light ahead, the upcoming Presidential Election, Flu season around the corner, COVID-19 still lingering, A COVID Holiday season fast approaching, and so forth, but I am confident that we will press on through those shadows & find some light even within them.

So, here is to riding our bikes even when we don’t want to. Here is embracing all our paths we travel & learning to find the beauty in each one. Here is to clumsy stumbles, shaky turns, & unexpected falls. Whether we choose to get right back up & ride again or we sit & cry & ponder ever riding again at all, may we always have the option to do either. Here is to learning to ride at our own pace. Here is to riding our bikes blind folded through a Jumanji year together. Know that we are all navigating this chapter one day, even one hour at a time. Keep riding though my lovelies. The journey ends with the most magnificent of views!

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