September 6, 2012
Kansas City is in a severe drought. My lawn is a crackly, crispy brown and many of the trees have dropped their leaves, folded their cards and walked from the table. I have kept most of my potted plants alive, but just barely. We will not know until spring whether those brown, droopy bushes in the back simply went dormant or are dead.
Additionally, our foundation is certainly settling. . I cannot see any horrible cracks in the foundation itself, but some walls in our kitchen tell another story. I tell myself it will be okay. That for the past 8 years, this foundation has gone up and down and up again as the rains come and go. That my great-grandpa Floyd used to say that you couldn't ever keep a good house foundation in Kansas anyway with our soil and extreme variations in climate.
On Sunday, we invited a few folks over for an impromptu jackfruit feed (Cue Foreshadowing of this Friday's Intestinal Fortitude). As everyone was in the kitchen chatting away, my neighbor Ken looked at me seriously and said "Everything okay?" I was shocked because I did not realize up until that very moment how incredibly unsettled I was feeling. Because Ken took me by surprise, I yammered out some quick reasons -- my grandma, Arun's recent illness, my own illness and two loved ones encountering cancer scares. I did not go into great detail. About how much I miss my grandma, how I hate to see her life so radically altered that we cannot even grab a simple lunch together now. About how Arun's eyes grew frantic 2 weeks ago as he asked me if he was going to die because he couldn't breathe. How seeing those desperate eyes of his touched me in a place that can never be untouched again. How much I hate the cancer that always seems to be waiting in the wings to strike. Always.
I also realized that it was the little things. Not seeing Arun for the entire day. Having Anjali gone every morning. Worrying about the house.... the car.....our dog's interminable skin allergies which have flared in the last few weeks.... our oldest cat who is losing her spark.
Yes, the glaring, puerile metaphor in displaced footings is there. Fortunately, it is easier to to set to rights my personal foundation. Getting my exercise routine back into gear now that I am not sick. Digging into delicious books. Writing in my journals. Playing the piano. Spending an evening snuggled with my husband watching silly movies while our kids are safely tucked away at my mom's house. Knitting a mindless scarf with one of my favorite yarns and not even bothering with the purl stitch.
On days when the kids are having a hard time and we are all grousing at each other, I will stop and declare "Let's turn this day around! It's not too late." Then, we do a group hug and try our best to emotionally reboot and move on. Usually it works. Most importantly, I want to teach my children that there will be bad days and good days, but the bad days never have to take root. It is far too easy to let a bad day turn into another bad day, then another and then another......
It can happen seemingly overnight, all those Bad Days turning into a Bad Life.
My favorite mornings are the ones in which Lucy and I go for a walk. As I put my shoes on, Lucy excitedly nips at me as if to tell me to hurry up. We leave the house before anyone else has woken, even the neighborhood is still stretching as it slowly comes alive. As Lucy and I walk the trail around our nearby park and the sun rises, the air feels pure and untouched.........full of potential.
As it should.