“I need to talk to you,” my husband’s voice informed me in voicemail yesterday.
I immediately feared for one or both of our sons. Anthony’s were terrified words, not excited ones.
But the next statement floored me. Absolutely floored me. The news wasn’t bad at all. In fact, it was just about as far from terrible as could be.
Just five weeks ago, I wrote about how I believed it wasn’t yet time for my husband to shut the door on his dream of eventually directing.
Yesterday, the door got held wide open for him. And those words I wrote five shorts weeks ago?
Who could ever have guessed how soon my unlawyerly faith would be shown so well placed?
There are still lots of steps ahead, but his feet are now pointed exactly the right direction.
“So what you’re saying is, ‘Don’t give up, I believe in you, you can do this’?”
I laugh. “Yes, that’s Hollywood for what I just said.”
“Lawyer,” he accuses me with a smile.
Life was a cakewalk before I had kids. I had to work, eat, sleep, pay bills, and spend a minimal amount of time caring for my dog.
Priorities? Who needed those? Everything would get done with hours left to lounge around eating ice cream and drinking beer while fishing in Warcraft’s beautiful Mulgore.
Now, free time and free energy are extremely rare luxuries. I prioritize each because I must.
Do I ignore the dog because I want to? Heck, no.
I ignore the dog because I have nothing left to give him.
Most days, I don’t even have energy for my husband.
He’s fourth on my list.
There’s a list.
After patting down my almost four-month-old son, I let him air dry for a few moments.
He used those moments to dance. He’s learned many new moves in the two months since I first posted about his love of movement, so it was a joy to witness everything he’s since learned he can do with his body.
“Life is good, huh?” I asked him. He beamed and cooed at me, his version of “yes,” before flailing some more for emphasis.
“You’ve got a bed to lay on, a pillow to rest your head on, a cozy outfit, and Mommy and Daddy hanging out here with you. What’s not to love?” Flailflailflail.
Saying it out loud, I was struck by how simple his list was. His exuberance wasn’t inspired by anything costly or novel, but by the presence of loved ones and simple day-to-day artifacts of human life. In that moment he had–in all moments he has–everything he needs.
I want to live like that. I want to be so involved in the beauty of this moment that I forget any other moment has ever existed or will exist.
Not every moment will be full of typically “wonderful” things, but every moment can indeed be full of wonder.
“Can I play on your phone, Daddy?” asked my four-year-old son a moment ago.
“Nope,” replied Daddy.
“We’re going to play Let’s Talk to Our Family,” I chipped in.
“The game where you talk to your family and see how everyone’s doing.”
“I don’t want to play that game.”
“Well, it’s either that or the Quietly Enjoy the Ride one. I guess there’s also the Mope Sullenly game,” I offered.
“How’s that go?”
“You’re too young for that one!” chimed Daddy.
“Yeah, let’s give that one another fifteen years or so.”
People throw away computers, TVs, stereos, music, movies, instruments, art, furniture, unworn clothing and all manner of valuable things. My mom, understanding their value, collected them and sold them at frequent garage sales. Her finds paid our bills.
It became more difficult for her to get around as her mental illness progressed. She could only move and sell items small enough to carry on her bike. Gone were the big-ticket items that used to draw customers.
One of the last times I saw her before she died of cancer, I climbed out of a rental car and saw her new sale sign pinned to a tree in her front yard:
I immediately hated the word “jumbo.” In the context of her meager sale, it accentuated the stark divide between all the possibility present in the once-was and the grimness of my mom’s new reality. Powerless to ease my mom’s suffering, Read more…
“It’s just a dog.”
“It’s just a cat.”
“It’s not like it’s a person.”
I’ve heard these statements about the passing of a pet many times in my life, and they’ve always upset me. I’ve never known quite what to say, but have instead thought, “It seems only right you’ll never know the unconditional love of a pet. You don’t deserve it.”
Words like that seldom improve anything. But words like those written by my best friend in “The Memory of Joy in Present Grief“? They show so beautifully, so achingly, why there’s no “just” about it.
I only met Trudeau the once, when my son and I visited Mackenzie in Colorado. I was initially too entranced by the images of my best friend and son together to pay the dog much mind, but my son was captivated.
And now, I’m glad he was, because I carry a little Trudeau with me now that his own paws can no longer carry him here.