Margot had a nightmare a few days ago. That she was playing with a friend and an aggressive dog came at her, tried to bite her. She explained.
It was Alice. But I didn’t know her. I mean, she wasn’t our pet. I had never seen her before. But it was her. And she tried to bite me.
I wasn’t asleep when Margot pressed her body in between Andy and me in the middle of the night, telling us about her dream. I have had trouble sleeping since we got the news about Alice one week ago. She has chronic kidney disease.
My heart actually aches and tears come at really inconvenient times. I do not talk myself out of feeling sad but I sometimes wish I could pull it together. I’ve had long nights where, no matter how hard I try, I cannot turn off the painful and detailed imagining of life without Alice. I am very aware of the privilege we have in a diagnosis. And the privilege we have in not knowing much beyond right now, where she is happy and able. Oh and the privilege of so much information and easy access to it.
Andy went fishing with friends last weekend and I cancelled all plans. We stayed home, my daughters and me.
:: Watched the leaves change color and fall, the sky tumble from bluebird to graphite and back again. Changed from tank tops to puffy coats and back again.
:: Listened to the wind and rain, read books, watched Girls Just Want to Have Fun (twice), sold our couch on Criagslist and made a fort of the living room.
:: Argued. The girls either played together like the river’s current or like sparring elk. I either parented with a swan’s grace or that of a badger. We lacked middle ground and sat right in the real, messy feelings. We hiked many times, twice at Margot’s suggestion when things felt tight and hot, like we needed space. It worked. We spread out, took turns running, came back together.
:: Gardened. Piled weeds in the field and food on the kitchen floor. Canned roasted corn salsa, salsa verde and plum jam. Still so much to do.
Thinking about the seasons. In life, in a year. The bounty and generosity; the disappointment and unpredictability. I know it is popular to speak of ‘living in the moment’ and I know some roll eyeballs at the impracticality, inconvenience. But we must do it. We must pick tomatoes when they are ripe, walk up hills when our kids want to and kiss our dog’s fuzzy gray cheeks. And we must be gentle with ourselves and trust in the importance of when we have to ‘live in the moment’ of dishwasher unloading and bill paying and saying just one minute to our kids. Being present doesn’t equate joy or ease. Being present equates whatever it is we are.
I took the kids to the university homecoming parade last weekend. We stood a block from my dad’s childhood home and I remembered being my daughters’ ages, there. I noticed Ruby was holding her breath. I asked her about it.
Oh mama, when I hear drums and horns BANG BANG in real life I feel like it happens in my heart. And I can’t breathe. It’s so awesome.
I’m so sorry about Alice. I hear you about being present which doesn’t always mean feeling joy. Just being whatever we are. When my gran died last year I felt so sad but I remember finding comfort in not fighting that feeling. I remember thinking we hurt because we love. And that is a good thing. Love to you guys xxx