I’ve been in kind of a dark place this past week. I don’t know if I can say exactly why. All of the things that are wrong have been wrong for a long time, with the exception of the dead washing machine and some extra-stressful stuff at work. And they will continue to be wrong (though I hope I can figure out how to get the washing machine issue resolved; I am grateful to be able to use my mom’s but I really miss mine, like way more even than I thought I would). And I’m mostly slogging along, not always joyfully, but capably. This week, though, just pulled me under. Thursday night, a friend very kindly asked me how I was doing, and I sort of … melted. Which, as his wife said, is really an answer, even if I didn’t get any words out. By noon on Friday, I texted a different friend that I felt like I might need bail money by evening. (I didn’t. Just for the record.)
I was really not sure when I was going to surface.
This morning, I slept until 8:15 (Paul pulled off this minor miracle by actually removing the children from the house), and I woke up feeling almost normal, instead of already defeated. I had scheduled a kettlebell class (total honesty – if it hadn’t already been paid for, I probably wouldn’t have dragged myself out) and I worked myself nearly to exhaustion. Which felt great. (I still don’t get how that works, but I don’t have to understand it to enjoy it, I guess.) It was so warm and sunny on the way home that I rolled both windows down and played the music alarmingly loud and felt almost like a teenager again, without the angst of wondering if he likes me likes me. (Spoiler alert: He does.) All of the wrong things are still wrong, and I’m still way behind on way too many of the other things, but I feel like I might make in fact make it.
I don’t really believe that we’re given hard things specifically to shape us. To me, it seems to take the prosperity gospel’s sky fairy and turn him into a sky bully who likes to pile it on just to see how much we can stand. What I do believe is that we get to decide what to do with hard things when they come. We can get angry, we can get bitter, we can survive it, we can learn something, we can choose hope. Maybe all of those things at different times.
What I hope I am learning right now – what I am trying to learn – is that even a landscape that looks bleak isn’t completely barren. Hard weeks (and months and years) have good days in them. Murderously hard days have bright shining moments buried in the middle sometimes.
My mother doesn’t know what a Sharpie is anymore, but she still knows that the mangled knock-knock jokes of a five-year old boy are hilarious on more than one level. The four of us laughing in the car as we drove home from lunch on Thursday was the best moment of that day.
I think this slow, painful loss of the mother-child relationship on one side of my life is making me that much more careful of the mother-child relationship I still have. There is little that makes me happier than one of the boys’ arms around my neck, and I’m learning to hang on to those moments as long as I can.
It has been a long winter, but the trees are beginning to show buds. I’ve been thinking all week of one of my favorite poems. I tried to pick a line or two, but I couldn’t decide. It’s been giving me little moments all week. Hope you can get one from it, too.
i thank you god for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of eyes are opened)
~ e.e. cummings