Greetings from The Other Side

You know I like lists. But I can’t bear to inflict on you the list of shit that has been going badly in the past X weeks so I will just say, I have not been handling it well. I have been managing. I have been hanging on like the kitten in the kitten poster. At the end of your rope? Make a knot and HANG ON! But I have not been handling things well. Every step I took to try and make my life feel better around me, more like a fuzzy bathrobe, less like a 100% polyester long-sleeved maxi dress with sequins around the neckline and that annoying habit of sticking to your legs with static, well I’d take that one step and then get blown back about three blocks. And every time I got blown back three blocks I would stagger around for a bit, being mean and surly, then sad and tired, then gird my loins for another step forward.

It doesn’t make for great blog fodder. There is a difference between mean, surly, FUNNY! and mean, surly, no I mean it. The latter better saved for one’s significant other and / or one’s private journal, the paper kind with the little padlock that you hide under the bed.

If you would like to know what I have been doing for the past 3 weeks, imagine Bill the Cat.

But there have been wonderful moments.

– I finished a short story and shared it with my writers’ group. They were just the right mix of appreciative and critical and honest.

– Trombone exited a rather hellish phase that seemed to last forever but really was probably 6 months, aren’t they always? and turned back into the sweet, loving, easy-going, even-tempered kid he was before.

– Fresco is a textbook two-year-old (his birthday is coming up on Tuesday!) but has weathered back-to-back colds, a stomach virus and teething with more aplomb than I did as his mother.

– The sun. Is back.

– Today, after preschool, we played near the school grounds. There is a playground bordered by a big green field of grass, trees and wildflowers. Trombone and Fresco ran into the field and gathered dandelions for me. They would pluck one and run back, pluck another, run back. I had forgotten the smell of dandelion milk. When was the last time I picked a dandelion?

– On Sunday morning, after we had endured two days of rather intense simultaneous stomach viruses (the kids barfed, SA and I just felt like a combination of first and third trimester pregnancy)(meaning: queasy, achy, exhausted and deeply, madly in love with the shower) I was sitting in the park, the Close Park, where there is no shade so you can only go there in Spring and Fall, and the sun was perfect, just warm enough, and I was sipping water from a travel mug, feeling very content to feel better than I had felt the day before, watching Trombone dangle from the monkey bars, which is not something he did the last time we were at this park and it all hit me at once.

The tumult, the gnashing of teeth, the endless repetitions, the tears, the tears, the tears; all so that our children can break that cocoon around them a little bit more, get a fist through, feel the air on The Other Side caress their skin. Slowly, surely, in seconds, by quarters of centimetres, they grow.

And every time they grow, so do I. Away from that tense, coiled ball of frustration and anger in the pit of my stomach. Toward outstretched arms, a chest lifted to the sky, my heart expanding to contain it all.

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