Parenting with TILT (Toxicant Induced Loss of Tolerance) is a constant struggle to balance what you want to do for your family and what your body will allow you to do. As I’ve written before, it does indeed leave me feeling TILTed most of the time. I have lived with chemical sensitivities for 18 years now. Nobody can be off-balance for that long and call it living, so I have developed some counter balancing methods to keep my equilibrium. I make sure that I am balanced by joy and centered by moments of grace. While these counterbalances may not be as useful to my fellow TILT patients as they are for me, I still feel that I should occasionally share them. For if they balance me, maybe they will balance my blog too.
I have a group of mom friends that I met largely through my children. This means that my children are good judges of character – if my kids likes their kid, I generally like the parent. We have done group playmates, mom’s night out, and book clubs. But a select, few of us have evolved into WOW – Women on the Water (with Wine my friend B. would add!) We try to get together once a week, adjusting for work schedules and school sessions, to commune on the ocean. We have hybrid Nalus that let us kayak the choppy water of open ocean and paddle board the calmer waters of the island canals. We do still discuss books as we paddle; but we also cover husbands, children, work, and community. We laugh a lot and give voice to inappropriate thoughts. As much joy as I find in communing with my friends, it is exponentially increased by the grace I always find on the water.
I live on small barrier island south of Tampa, FL, small enough that nobody moves here for a job. You move to the island and then figure out how to make a living. Our residents have that in common; that first of all, we wanted to live here. I have this and more in common with my WOW friends – we live here because we wanted to be outside year round (without extra layers). We believe in the power of salt water. We think dolphins are our friends and my friend R. thinks crabs are her power animal. We move our bodies for a few hours while we appreciate the beauty of our chosen home and remind each other that we are awesome women. Afterwards, we eat a huge lunch, sometimes at my house and sometimes at a restaurant if I am having good week. Occasionally, I even indulge in a weekly half glass of wine or beer with them, for which I am refered to as Cheap Date.
So my WOW balances my TILT. Possibly I have too many acronyms in my life, but it’s working, so I’ll stick with it.