Yesterday I got up, washed and dried my hair, made a glorious smelling pot of coffee and played Bocelli and sat on the middle of my workmat and painted chairs… various pleasing and loud and fun shades of yellow and purple and coral and pear. I was awaiting a plumber, who came and fixed a fairly major disaster, and I sat humming and painting. For hours. And hours. It was a good day.
I didn’t turn on a radio or a television or a computer or a news app or hear about the children in Connecticut until early evening. Mike sent a text, simply asking how the boys were.
It was a highly unusual text. I looked for context and couldn’t find any. I tried to think of what the motive might be. Finally, I realized he must be making that inquiry because Caden-8yr had just told me he’d been sick the night before, sleeping with a trashcan next to his bed in case of recurrence, and maybe Mike was feeling bad about not having told me. Maybe he was wondering if Caden-8yr made it through the school day without going home early with an upset stomach.
I didn’t recognize that Mike just wanted to be assured that his kids were safe. That parents everywhere yesterday were wanting the same thing, and some would sadly not get that assurance.
My dad and stepmom had come to town and turned my world upside down. My dad replaced all the awful electrical outlets, planed the back door so it doesn’t stick, hauled furniture, fixed stuff I’d broken, tore up carpet, took out countless bags of trash, and chased the cat back in the house. My stepmom brought food, cooked more food, and WORE ME OUT with her tireless chipper attitude toward organizing EVERYTHING and she re-did the kitchen and then we took every single thing out of the garage and organized that and put it back and she chased the cat back in the house a few times and never, ever, stopped. She’s overwhelming. She’s a tornado. A miraculous tornado of cleaning and organizing and fixing and cat chasing.
The house looked, smelled, and felt completely different after two days of those two visiting. (By visiting, I mean “GET UP AND WORK AND STINK AND GET SORE AND DO NOT STOP UNTIL YOU COLLAPSE AT MIDNIGHT THEN GET UP AND REPEAT.” That is what I mean by ‘visiting.’ And boy did this house need that.)
They left me food, money, and bought me an airline ticket so I can spend a few days with them after Christmas.
So yesterday was my first morning in my house alone since it had been whipped into shape. And I was so blessed to just sit there and paint, unaware of the horrors unfolding in an elementary school in Connecticut.
The cat was blessed just to sit. He was sore.
The day before on Garage Makeover Day, he had forgotten he is a 13yr old fluffy large indoor cat who does not often run. He kept getting confused and thinking he was an outdoor cat who must chase the neighborhood cats – lithe, young, athletic creatures who know how to run AND how to jump fences. Poor Charlo looked like a fat lamb loping after small zippy cheetahs.
I haven’t watched the news. I’ve read the stories. Seen the pictures. But I haven’t watched what must be extensive news coverage. And maybe I should. I’m pretty focused on my own little world right now. I have… stuff. Stuff to figure out, or wait out. And my mind and prayers are often on my own small and petty problems, I admit it, even right now.
I feel like the out of shape animal trying in vain to keep pace with someone far too fast who knows all the shortcuts. It’s an exhausting and ill conceived match up. And i quit. I’m not playing. I know my lines well, but I will not say them.
I’d rather remain silent, no matter what, than petition and beg for what is legally owed. I cannot be broken like that. It simply can’t happen. I refuse to give anyone that much power over me. I’d rather cheerfully say “that’s just not in the budget” forever about everything than fight this particular unfair fight. I’d rather make all new (free) Christmas traditions and gifts and memories than try to create a false illusion of intact small scale materialism. I’m just not like that. Maybe I used to be. More than I thought. Maybe I used to be someone who would pretend it was all fine, at my expense, and just let everyone else enjoy the pretty illusion.
What an idiot I was. That whole martyr crap is so lame and overdone.
Now I’m beyond broke, but there won’t be any place for pretense in this house. I like it better. Feels so much more honest and real. It’s worth it. We are worth it.
These three sweet boys are fine, thank GOD, and I am so blessed to be here watching them grow up. I don’t want to waste any of these precious days on stupid dramas and roles I no longer choose.
I was never meant for that anyway.