It is spring! Tulip are on parade. I’ve changed to capris and flip-flops. Around town the Redbud trees are in bloom. They are my favorite spring trees. I “saw” them for the first time as I drove from Bloomington to Indianapolis for my first post-law school job which (as a classmates reminds me on Facebook today) was 26 years ago. I planted a Redbud in my Indianapolis garden and though there is no room to plant one now, I eagerly await their blooming every year. Continue reading
Has no one else noticed? There are very few daffodils blooming. This unnerving phenomenon is particularly apparent in my garden. I have planted shit loads of daffs and narcissus over the years and I anticipate enough blooms to cut several dozen inside. “A host of golden daffodils.” This year’s crop, front and back garden is a handful, maybe 7. No, not even 7. My next neighbor usually has a drift on the side of her house facing my side door. It is a micro climate that blooms in full glory at least a week before mine. This year, she has less than a dozen. Continue reading
It seems like a long time ago now that we, make that I, reclaimed Christmas. I don’t expect that the winter holidays will always be perfectly smooth but our last Christmas and then New Years cruise seemed to reset my holiday clock better than anything else. Distinct differences and concrete plans worked miracles. Prior to last year, I was not only missing our pre-death holiday ‘routine’ but also missing the friends with whom we shared many thanksgivings and a few Christmases—people and plans I thought would never change. Then there was change. Ah, embracing those Noble Truths.
Last Friday, another holiday clock ‘got’ reset— Passover. David and I enjoyed hosting seders since before we were living together. How many years ago was that? (Only Jan knows.) Our seders evolved and sometimes disappeared while we were in school or traveling. When we lived on Washington Boulevard in Indy, we had room for big parties and we indulged. I don’t remember when David started writing our Haggadahs or when we began expecting Cheshire to play or write something for the celebration. We cooked, many times for days. I think it was the only time I’d take a day off work to get ready. Continue reading
The cleaners were here this morning. When they come to clean, I retreat to a coffee shop, indulge in breakfast and latte, and plan a day. Then, I library-ed, paying a fine before taking out paper books and books on CD. Two travel books on Australia, another Percy Jackson for Julia, an Annie Lamont and some memoir for me. Then, home again for my regular round.
The near-daily round was instituted to get me writing daily—Italian practice, fiction and spiritual reading, meditation, gratitude journal. I give myself credit for house work and Julia related email. All in warm up for some pretty awful first draft fiction. <Gulp> I accept the awfulness and keep going. Day after day. Every so often I look back and find a word, a phrase, once a sentence that could be included in a second draft. Oh, I have so much ability to produce dreck. Continue reading
Saturday: My second basketball game in as many days. No, I haven’t gone over to the dark side (excuse me, my basketball-loving Hoosier friends). Julia is cheering. Not perfectly by any means although pompoms hide many a sin, cheerleaders stand to one side of the basket and cheer from the side, and most folks are here for the basketball players. She is very happy. Tonight she doesn’t even have ear plugs in. The gym’s echo is quite pronounced and the buzzer is incredibly loud and annoying. No complaints from the girl.
I realize that it is me that wants and expects perfection before performance. Julia and her cheer coach do not. Julia is out in front of the crowd on her own terms. Sometimes she perseverates on how she holds her pompoms and she does not stand as still as the other girls. And people do notice. As we left on Saturday, various people told Julia that she did a great job. Some of the compliments were accompanied by a knowing look to me. She is being congratulated for her chutzpah, her sheer and absolute nerve to insist on being herself even in a line up of girls all the rest doing the exact same thing. If there is pity, I refuse to see it. This is a hard lesson for me—a lesson in letting her go and letting her be herself. I would prefer that she show her independence by cutting up her food and sleeping in her own bed every night. I would prefer to let go of reminding her to go to the bathroom and listen and respond to people talking to her. Instead, she insists on my letting her go in front of crowds with pompoms. Continue reading
I’ve spent the entire morning and part of the afternoon taking care of business—overdue thank you notes to friends and the cheer coach (I had to tell her about Julia’s wall climbing which the biweekly cheer workouts are responsible for (Eek! Ending with a preposition!)), emails to find providers for our current respite needs and to teachers to figure out how to best support Julia as she works on her first English research paper, queries about two new projects I’ve been promising myself for a long time and also about an idea to help Julia with independence, paying a few bills, ordering what I think is the perfect birthday present for Julia, and phone calls to change doc appointments and set up another round of house repairs.
Whoa, I am clear today! And very grateful for the clarity. I have been kinda’, sorta’ muddled and overwhelmed recently. No good reason. Holidays? Travel? The cold (not a cold but the weather)? Since we’ve gotten home, I’ve had a slow ‘recovery,’ not from illness but from malaise, some not-quite sadness. My usual trust that I would get back to a busy daily round eventually was beginning to wane. Perhaps the muddle was here to stay this time. Continue reading
A reminder pops up on my laptop from Calendar: Christmas Eve. Obviously, Apple’s Calendar is not able to look around this house. Yet. Something to be grateful for in a small way.
Facebook reminds me of all those past Christmas Eve postings—parts of cards, pictures in NYC with Cheshire and Julia, silly pictures of Cheshire’s friends here to support her through rough times, pictures of Julia in full Hogwarts regalia in Florida at the Wizarding World during our Christmas with the Mahoney’s (without our favorite Mahoney’s), trees and stockings and kind Santas who listened to Julia’s sometimes incoherent rambling wish lists. One post from December 24, 2010, offers the beginning of what has been seven years of strained celebrations:
Julia and I are bedded down in Brooklyn. We are remaking Christmas. In a few years it will be ours again. Peace and love to my facebook comrades. Hug your partners and parents and friends and kids while they are close.
Feeling like a super mom today. Exhausted but endowed with power and magic. Today is never easy. 7 years. Another anniversary of the beginning of my unexpected life.
I have long entertained the idea that the cells of the body are recycled bit by bit every 7 years. Where did I hear that? I have no idea, but if it were so, there is no cell in my body left that actually knew David. Could that be? Even if it was the general rule, I imagine my cells clever enough to bypass such ignorance. They might have whispered and conspired, perhaps saving one very, very old seven or eight or nine year old cell and sitting at her “feet” to listen to stories of when I was not lonely. And really, there was that time when I knew joy without effort. And maybe in the stories of that old cell is the seed of a coming time of such joy. Just maybe. Continue reading
We drove up to Ashland, WI, during the weekend, a short trip to go to a memorial service. I’ve not been that far north and although the weather was wet, damp, then rainy and rather cold, there were trees to drive through and lake beaches to walk on. I fell into writing about where Julia is this summer which I’ll post separately.
I loved getting out of Madison! Apart from a very few quick trips to the Chicago burbs, its been months since we’ve left. I love Madison but I crave travel. Driving up north was unexpectedly satisfying. Quiet, gray, rolling hills, lots of evergreen trees and water. The lake looking so vast that a casual observer might mistake it for a sea. And the lupines! I have not driven through a landscape of wild lupines. Like in Barbara Cooney’s story of Alice Rumphius, a kid’s book I haven’t thought about in years. The lupines were beautiful. Someone at the memorial said they were invasive. It may be wrong but I wish to be invaded by lupines. I stopped by the side of the road more than once trying unsuccessfully to capture what I saw.
The lupines were worth the drive. Continue reading