I love Fall, the break in the DC humidity, the abundance of golds, browns and that warm orange sun; the warm soups, afternoons of green tea with my girls and the settling down with this beautiful family. I love my beauties as they enjoy All Hallows Eve, and the huge table of loved ones at Thanksgiving. Fall seems to allow me to nurture; I get more creative, it is the most fulfilling time of the year for me. I delight in the season change.
But all change comes at a cost for my family.
Fall brings on a manicness that sometimes scares Jeff. He never knows who he will come home to, and what hair-brained project I will have taken on. We have an agreement in our marriage that I will not use a pick-ax or power saws. It’s just to keep him happy. I have no doubt that I can manage them just fine, but we all sacrifice. Some girls have to promise not to hit the high end department stores. I have to promise not to hit the thrift store with a credit card. I always can find a great project that will make me so happy. Jeffie not so much. I can upholster, sand, paint and pretty up just about anything. I love the broken and a little battered.
Last Friday was no exception, he came home to find me unable to move on the couch with six sanded desk draws ready for primer. I had adopted a beauty, a little writing desk, destined to sit in our living room and be the home of all my future writing.
I have serious issues, Jeffrey would say too many to count. But, I have a tiny, tiny little issue with thinking that my body is still in decent shape. My projects are where my brokenness shines. I can feel the adrenaline pump, my happiness grow as I’m in the process of transformation. Unfortunately, while my work may be transformative for the desk, it is not for my body.
And that’s why Jeff found me, gasping for breath, covered in non-pulmonary approved dust, sweaty and in rough shape. Jeff walks in and takes one look at me and doesn’t get mad, just smiles, that are you flipping kidding me smile and he says, “you done?”
Fall brings a drop in temperature that brings on my panic mode. Knowing that soon I will be trapped inside for weeks at a time, with a list of projects that never get finished. When I’m in the cold months mode, I don’t get depressed which is a gift. I’m beautifully resigned to this part of my life. But as with most of my anxieties; it’s the lead up that’s painful for anyone that loves me.
I don’t get up in the night to do projects, I don’t get up early, I just focus my days on things that are imperative. Like a farmer who only has a short time for planting. I can only paint in certain conditions, I always paint furniture outside, with my mostly VOC paints, mask and alike. I find painting furniture a most relaxing and happy pursuit. It frees my mind and spirit. I also am proud to say I’m good at it. The painting may be my therapy, but my dogged determination that this time I won’t succumb, never changes. My friend M and I joke that on my headstone it will say, “wife, mother, friend and lover of all spray paint.” My friends are always happier when they see me outside with my spray paint working on a project.
Norah also loves it! “Mom you are always so happy when you are being crafty!”
I’m Sisyphus rolling that damn rock up the hill. It never changes, I never learn, I never just accept the challenges. I just plow through. It’s no surprise that the paint color I picked for my desk with Norah is named Pollyanna. The gods they are funny, no? I mean that is the honest truth.
Now this determination is vintage my Mom, I have on more than one occasion found her with a scotch in one hand and a heating pad in the other from a similar brilliant albeit simple minded decision. We just get a hair-brained, flat out stupid idea, and we go for it. Most of the time we don’t get caught, but when we do it’s the stuff of legends. Mom just doesn't get caught much anymore, she
have a husband and young kids to answer to. There is a great family story about her on the first day home from the hospital after, and I’m not joking, BRAIN SURGERY, and a cab ride without my step-father’s consent about her hair. But because I love you, I will keep that one quiet. Just know at anytime, I can out you! By the way Mom your hair looks great, just saying.
Friday’s activity led to both Saturday and Sunday on the couch. And my irritation grows as my desk sits in two separate rooms unfinished. Staring, mocking me. “You will never finish, you are weak, you are sick.”
And while my inanimate desk continues to speak to me...
Norah gets sick, for the first time this year and she went down, 103-104 degrees; for three days, hard. And that isn’t good. I see it, her brokenness. She hates to be told, NO SCHOOL, NO TENNIS, NO GIRL SCOUTS, and it terrifies me. She was so angry at one point; she was taking her temp and when it beeped and turned red, she rocket launched it across the room. She has a good tennis serve for a reason. Thank goodness we ditched mercury thermometers, that would have been a toxic mess!
I know as a parent I should have
her for losing her “stuff”. But, that is not how I run my rodeo, you see, it is crystal clear: I thought good for you, honey. You know that flipping beeping device is your enemy. I get it, it is telling you that you are going to miss your life for a week. A week that your life is on hold, from the things that matter. I get her at the core on every level. Will the female Taylor line of broken genes continue its run?
this be the time that she gets really, really sick? Like 104 isn’t!?!?!
And I ask myself, when I do wake at 3:30am to hear her calling out, fever raging. How am I going to ease this, how do I support this? How do I teach her balance, when I clearly have none. How do I counsel my sweet girl, who is flipping smart and looks at me and says, “I don’t want to be sick like you.” And I hold her in my arms and say; I don’t want this for you either.
My God, I don’t want this for my worst enemy. But, here we sit.
I know this is where faith comes in, that NIH already has more info for me than I have ever had. That they will know more about my disease in the next few years than they have in the last 1500 years. That Norah my future doctor may be the girl who fixes all our brokenness.
But, that is the future, that does nothing to ease the pains of a beautiful 7 year old or of her mother who is holding her.
It’s late and the fever has finally broken, she will return to school.
Tomorrow, I will drop off the kids and head to the grocery store for some much needed food in the morning.
I will also pick-up more sandpaper...
Because, that desk will not get the best of me.
May the divine in me, bow to the divine in you.