Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Pretty Things

December 6
Reminded that life can change in an instant, I feel particularly keen to take pictures of what I see and love, and enjoy, and it helps me, now, to look at pictures (before and after)... to remember, to appreciate anew, to let go, but quietly, with a thankful heart. So, I look at Maria in her Witch Thursday hat, the one her friend painted for her for her birthday, and though it is bittersweet, because I love every happy memory of Jet Puff, our family car, and I am sad it's gone, I am glad I have this photograph, this normal, happy moment.

And after the hospital, and the tests, and all of the scary and surreal events of the night, I finally did go upstairs to my dear, familiar bed, and Cairo came and did what a sweet pet will... he stayed close beside me, warm, and comforting, and I felt at home, which meant the beginning of healing.

All of these pictures are moments in December when I saw something beautiful, wanted to hold on to scenes when I felt something joyful. I was a quiet observer, or was aware of what I could not do, or how much of what was happening was an altered, or interrupted event... I don't know how to explain it, but even the good in these moments makes me recall what was also difficult, or disappointing, painful, or muddled. Still, I am glad that we took as much of our time and intentions as we could, and made the very best of it we could. (I am not convinced that was a good sentence, but...)

December 9

The first Monday morning when Maria would go into school, and Max, too. When the day should have been routine, and I might have baked treats for her to share with classmates, or helped her choose a fun holiday outfit. I walked into her quiet room and sat on her bed, and felt the most profound relief and thankfulness... just to be there, to see her sleeping, to wake her, and do all I could to give her a nice start to her day. I really am so lucky, I thought. I really do love to be here, to be a mother, to have this home, and family, and to have a community to support me, us. I wanted to keep her home, to slip into family time and all of the happiness of the holidays, but I was thankful, too, that she would have her school and friends, the classes she loves, and all that she needs in her own abilities, and confidence to get through her day.

I think this is one of the prettiest Christmas trees we have ever had. The first week we left it alone, and just adored its plain, piney boughs. Then William and Alex put lights on it... white lights, this year, because I wanted their calm, and soft glow. And that's as far as we got. Just the lights, then an ornament from Kim, then tiny gifts, but we never brought out our ornaments, or an angel or star. And while it wasn't a disappointment, I was aware that we were just a bit overwhelmed, and simple suited us better.

December 10

These pictures... this was the first really happy laughing, I had. And so silly. Cairo was after my tiny tree I put on that cupboard, and he was biting it and knocking it over. So! I sprayed it with an essential oil mosquito repellent, because I read "mint" on the bottle and he hates mint. Well, after I sprayed, he was worse! He tore the tree down, and went for the things on the wall, and then! Then he started chewing the carpeting! I was aghast. Alex, asked about the spray and I told him, and he laughed, reminding me that the natural repellent, so effective at discouraging mosquitos, was mostly catmint! Poor Cairo was high as kite! Muddled, muddled me.

This was such a beautiful sunrise, and I was happily awake, having had my first night of sleep since the accident. It was a visit from friend and therapist, Mahshid, that relieved some of my pain, emotional and physical. Her wisdom is still serving me well.

December 11

December 12

My Mom came all the way from Oregon, the very next day after the thing. And Hans, my brother, drove her from the airport. By the end of her first week, we had a bit of a routine, that I miss. We would take Maria to school, then walk. Walking was not much more than making an errand, the market, or pharmacy, or a shop, and we would stop for soup, or tea, to take pictures. Our outings perked me up, and tired me, in a good way. I felt quiet and slow, and she kept pace with me. At home she was wrestling with laundry, and getting hot meals on the table, matching socks, answering Chango's requests. She bought me a heating pad, one of Mahshid's brilliant prescriptions.

Everyone should have a heating pad.

Cairo is a heating pad, too. And I appreciated his warm company.

Finally, I had to give up on the little tree, but chamomile came back at Trader Joe's and I could have cried from happiness!

And Jennifer sent gifts, which she suggested I open early... a brilliant suggestion!

December 14

Every year I am full of best intentions and plans for Christmas, for gifts, cards, gestures, thanks, decorating, and playing. I never quite achieve the height of perfection I imagine and hope for... this year was nearly a bust, on my part. Thankfully, I had the sense to let mail order and shipping help me, and I relied heavily on assurances that 'no one expected me to do everything, or anything, this year,' which was kind. But I missed feeling capable of doing better. I was sad not to have a chance to do a better version of my best. I know I sent someone a heating pad, because everyone should have a heating pad.

Sometimes I took pictures of... of maybe kind of odd scenes, but they seemed so precious to me, so poignant. It's difficult not to find beauty in odd places when you are lucky to be alive, or simply concussed.

December 16

They never complained. It doesn't surprise me. They are happy, easy, content with simple pleasures. But still. They missed a lot. We had plans. And besides the very special things we missed, our regular routines and peace of home were derailed, and disrupted, and I wouldn't have blamed them or thought any less of them if they made a little protest, or whine. But they were all comfort and joy, gratitude, and resilience. I am not boasting or wearing rose-tinted glasses. I sometimes feel I say too little about what a joy our children are, and in this instance I want to really acknowledge how much easier they made things for me, how thankful I am for them.

December 17

December 18

December 19

When this box of homemade cookies from Laura and Gary came in the post, it was a moment that felt like Now, it's really Christmas! Their cookies, so prettily decorated, so delicious, too, are a welcome tradition. Last year, we wished we could have been in Wisconsin. We wished for a last Christmas in the house on Park Street, with Grandma Nancy. And this year... this year we simply missed everything and everyone we love in Wisconsin.

December 20

When I was showing signs of rallying, when the government was about to shut down... my Mom had to make a choice about getting home. I wish we had taken more pictures. Yeah, see... this seems like a lot of pictures, for some, I suppose. But I was keenly aware that I was not taking as many as I usually do, that I didn't have the mental vigor to organize family pictures, or more... what are those called? Natural? Spontaneous? Darn word... Anyway, suddenly my Mom was flying home, which was good, because she was going to be with Dad, and could hopefully recover. And I just wish I had more pictures.

What is that word?



Is this concussion, or just being 52 years old? Let's call it concussion. Because I am not in the mood to imagine that I am mentally doddering, yet.

I had to analyze many things that were on the calendar or planned for, and consider what I was up for, capable of managing, or consider how we could make them manageable. Like school. My last day of school was the very next morning after the thing, and missing my final was way sadder to me, more unbearable, than I could stand, so with Alex's company and assistance I went to school. I was slow and felt strange and... no matter, I felt empowered, and triumphant and glad to have made it. But then shock wore off and pain crept up and up, and things made me very tired, or simply run out of anything like energy or sense... and we started crossing things off the to-do list. Crossing off, as in cancelling.

Of all the big and fun happy holiday events, my favorite tradition is probably celebrating Solstice. I always feel as though it's our gift to our friends, our thank you to them, and such fun to gather and observe the fortune of friends, light, merriment. But I wasn't sure it was such a good idea this year, which was too depressing to accept. Finally, William, Alex, Maria and Max, looked me in the eye, assuredly and calmly, and said, Don't worry. We will get everything ready, and it will be an easy and happy party, that you will love, and will not want to miss. And it was. They rallied. They cleaned, cooked, prepped, and hosted. Ruth came early, to bring apple crisp, and yellow roses. I had made the theme about our heritage, everyone's heritages, the recipes and traditions we have from our immigrant or Native ancestors, and it was a potluck. Everyone shared food, recipes, snacks, anything that comes from family, from love. I loved the stories. I loved the whole night.

Maria and Amira... last day of school, first night of winter break!

Kay and Max~

With Swedish snacks, like Wasa crackers and herring!

Avram, Sanjana, Coram, and Cathan, with Indian spicy snacks!

Spencer and Ido... Leslie, Simon, and Bex, too. They brought Turkish delight, and Hummus!

And robots!

December 21

I wish I had taken more pictures. It was a full house, and spread out into the front yard, too. I went to bed late, and happily tired.

December 22

Next time I will blog about Christmas Eve and Day, and a birthday... and more memories, more moments that make me smile, thankful, heartened. I know I mixed in mention of that event, the accident, but that's how it's been. It's part of the story, sadly, but I mean to deal with it by speaking of it, and acknowledging that it happened and it caused things. It helps me feel some power over what happened... I've noticed that other hard things that I've kept to myself, or tried to cope with by hiding, suppressing or minimizing don't go away, or get better, but just kind of linger, ache, resurface in unexpected or mixed up ways. So... new approach is to talk, speak, voice, express, write, cry, laugh, deal with it. And then look at all of the good, and celebrate, and triumph! And heating pads. Everyone should have a heating pad.


Adaliza said...

What a lovely post - thank you for sharing. I had a flu-type virus before Christmas which completely knocked me sideways - usually I just sniffle for a day or so but this one really got me. Belle, the younger of my 2 border collies, didn't leave my side. At night, she came up on the bed and just lay along my back - she's a big dog and a superb heat pad! She was a heavy, solid, comforting presence who was worried when I coughed and was there, with her head on a cushion next to my pillow when I awoke. Animals are such intuitive creatures and give such comfort. Good Cairo for giving you heat and care - you're sounding much better. Take it easy! Ax

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Oh, good Belle. I’m glad you had that warmth and comfort. I’ve heard many reports of brutal viruses, and even pneumonia, among family and friends. We all need to take it easy, and I hope everyone has sweet companions, like you and I have.