I have never felt a need to respond to comments on a post in the next one before, but I was taken aback at what people took away from yesterday’s post. I started this blog as a journal for myself stored someplace where a guy who is awful with paper couldn’t lose it. I still sometimes write more for myself than the audience. Apparently yesterday fell in that vein.
I have made a tremendous amount of progress over the last few months. When I talk abut living with bearable pain, it’s because I have learned how to deal with it. I can carry this now.
Childhood was not kind to her. It left her with a closet full of monsters. Her monsters probably had closets of their own. One thing I learned from her was that sometimes, in fact most of the time, the best thing to do with those monsters was to shove them back in the closet and tell them you have better things to do than deal with them today. With a little practice you can get quite good at it.
This is the one year anniversary of the worst week of my life. But it’s also the thirty year anniversary of one of the best, the week we welcomed our oldest child into the world. I would much rather remember the twenty-two hour ordeal that brought us a daughter than the one a year ago. Last year that daughter spent her birthday in the hospital with the rest of us. This year she deserves to celebrate and be celebrated.
She was in a hurry to get here. She broke us in easy to parenting a newborn, and hard into parenting a teenager. She was in a hurry to have kids of her own. Her relationship with her mother was often strained, for a lot of reasons, but partly simply because you can never keep two women that strong-willed under the same roof. She is definitely her mother’s daughter.
She gave us two grandchildren when both she and we were rather young for those roles. Because of her, Barbara got to fulfill her dream of rug time with her grandkids. I often wondered why the universe seemed to be in such a hurry to get her here. I don’t anymore.
From my very first meeting with Barbara I was blown away by how grounded and focused she was. She knew what she wanted in life. She wanted the things that had been denied her mother, and she wanted her kids to have the childhood she was denied. She was a driven woman on a simple agenda. I bought her dream, every bit. We built it, we lived it. We got to happily ever after, largely because both we and that daughter were in such a hurry. I have already had more joy in my lifetime than many people ever get.
But in the real world, happily ever after isn’t the same thing as forever.
I am not a young man any more, but I’m not an old one either. I have time and energy left in me. I have learned to carry my load, learned that I have plenty of support. I have chased the negatives back. I can’t completely banish grief from my life, but I can decide whether it takes the foreground or the background. That level of control I have. I have gotten past simply wanting the pain to stop.
So the question I find myself faced with this week, as somebody else blows out the candles on their birthday cake, is this:
I have a nearly clean sheet of paper in front of me. I have time yet, and I don’t intend to waste it. What do I want to do with it?
This is not such a bad problem to have. This is probably not the week to answer it, but soon. Life is going on, and I want to rejoin it. Once I set some goals, I can get to work on fixing whatever broken bits are keeping me from getting there. But first, I need a goal.
That’s what Amy meant when she told Robert to ‘Want something’.