So much of life flies under the radar and goes unnoticed. By me. Sometimes I notice a new hair cut, I comment on a Facebook announcement of a new job or I ask about an increased spring in a step, but so many times I miss much of the lives around me. I don’t know whether to attribute it to self-involvement, a teenager who needs attention or a general character flaw.
Living without another grownup in the house, there is no built in daily recognition of my ‘important or not so important things’. A few friends and Cheshire see changes when we visit but most of the time it is a texting question, ‘How is your day? Anything new?’ Or it is my announcement, in a text or during a visit, of what I want to be acknowledged, praised or sympathized with. I have shifted from someone who prefers to be quietly unnoticed by most people because I had another’s undivided attention to someone who asks and tells, someone who needs to share, someone who needs attention. During Quest, we were told to ask for what you want. Of course, this is old advice. Of course, I never heeded the advice, preferring that someone just intuit my need for attention. As those who once intuited and noticed fall away, I had the choice of either living unnoticed (and getting progressively sadder and grumpier) or announcing and sharing. I am aware of how much I have chosen the second, not indiscriminately, at least I don’t think so, but often. My gratitude to those who ask the the broad questions and listen to the specific answers, who listen attentively to my updates and announcements, and who notice grows daily. And I am learning by their example.
Some less than important things they have taken up my time and energy over the past week are: last Friday, my car need some care. Besides the oil change, new front brake pads that I waited a little too long to ask for and new tires were in order. It got me to wondering whether a summer road trip should be on the horizon especially if I continue feeling uneasy about traveling abroad in the current political climate.
On Monday, I did a very quick research and shopping for a new toilet. About two years ago a plumber told me my toilet had very little life left. I forgot about that until two weekends of unplungeability. After an illuminating discussion with a knowledgeable plumbing supply guy and the advice of my handyman, I am now the proud owner of a new Toto toilet. And it’s great.
Yesterday, my cast was taken off after two weeks, more x-rays were done and a splint was made for my wrist. The healing is not quite what the PA wants and surgery is still not out of the question; however, he wants to get my fingers moving and will keep a close eye on the settling bones. Splint time is the long haul—6 to 8 weeks with weekly visits to the hand clinic for therapy and adjustment. In truth, that’s about four weeks longer than I expected but I have become a student of the wisdom of the wrist. I am hoping to be functional by the time bulbs begin flowering. Slowly I am being forced to move from patching up the holes in the family and household organization to long-term strategic planning. I resist, I accept, I acknowledge and then I make plans. I still depend on my community for meals and cleaning. I am both grateful and guilty. I was not trained to be gracious, I was trained to be independent at all costs. And that right now is utterly foolish.
If there is anything I notice, it is, of course, Julia. Julia still plays her cello in first position. One of the pieces in the Spring Festival at school has a note in third position. I don’t think Julia could find that note at school and when she played the piece during her cello lesson, her teacher showed her where her pinky finger belonged and marked the place on the neck in pencil. Julia was jubilant. “Let me try it,” she said and reached for her cello. It took her a few to reach tries to hit that note consistently in the piece. She persisted. The jury is out on whether she will do it tomorrow at school but she gets so many points in my book for her persistence and work ethic.
These days in math, Julia’s teacher is pushing the frontier of time telling. The new problems our about picking time between two stated times. The amount of abstract awareness that goes into figuring this sort of problem out makes it hard for me to offer help at home. Julia chips away at it little by little. There is nothing at all concrete about time. It is catching the wave upon the sand.