rich beyond words

A dear reader replied to one of my latest posts, senseless things. This is what she wrote:

I hesitate to say this because it is clear you are in such pain, Christy, and I don't want to add to it. We can feel it. But I wish you could find something to bring into your life to see, or hear, or feel, that would add a different element--even for just a little part of each day. After reading your blog for years, I worry about you because you deal with such overwhelming burdens all the time. Everyone needs some break from such a load. We are all, after all, only human. Do give yourself a try at it, please....

Here is my heartfelt reply:

Dear Carol,

I imagine it's no mystery or surprise to my readers and friends that, though I love my little bugger as much as any mother loves her child, raising Calvin has been a great hardship and burden. Some days are more difficult than others, like when he is in the throws of withdrawal, in some sort of pain which I can't discern, amping up to a seizure, having a seizure, in the hospital, or when I am without the help of a nurse, like I find myself now. And, the recent loss of my mother seems to add to the weight of my transient frustration and despair.

For much of my adult life I've felt far younger than I thought being my age should feel. However, for the first time ever I am almost beginning to feel the strain of my fifty-two years, for real. The wear and tear my body and mind have been facing lately, especially as Calvin grows, is taking its toll. My elbow tendons and lower back often ache from lifting him and repositioning him at night, I am in constant need of catching up on missed sleep, and his behavior of late can be difficult to endure.

But you mustn’t think that I don't have a rich and wonderful life or that I am somehow depressed or unhappy. It’s not the case. I've got an amazing and loving husband who is a great father, cook, provider, forgiver, and a comic diffuser of my sour moods. I live in a cozy home with lots of natural light in a college town in a most beautiful place called Maine. At arm's length I've got all of our creature comforts like cooking with gas, hot water, a reliable, comfortable car, a bottomless bottle of bourbon for special nights, a wood-burning stove, dimmers on all of the lights, non-stop Frank Zappa (if I want), an industrial-strength johnny-jump-up and a SleepSafe bed for Calvin, a handmade screened-in porch to survive the summer bugs at night, a grass and clover lawn, a motorless mower, flowers galore in spring and summer, and some astoundingly beautiful beaches not too far.

Sure, I am missing a lot of the things I loved most in San Francisco, Seattle too—my friends, the hills, the city streets and lights and views, the mild air, the eateries and bars, the shows, the architecture, the crowds, the young folks, the diversity, the parks, life before children—but I've finally carved out a pretty special place here after a period of feeling a bit like a tourist, followed by a year or two of touch-and-go before we could really feel rooted. Thankfully, I am buttressed by a most amazing community of friends who love us and understand our situation as best they can. They take me out, bring me flowers, make me cocktails when Michael is out of town. They drop by homemade goodies and fresh farm eggs and have me to their houses for lunch and/or to pick apples. They walk the dog with me and for me and drop in for a drink before heading home. They do my grocery shopping if I’m in a terrible pinch and they come help me with Calvin when I need it most. I have my evolving garden, which is a kind of art, and the space and time to do my writing, which I've come to love more than any drawing or photographing or designing I've ever done. I have most days to myself to indulge in these things. Our dog nellie is a great companion, too, lifting my spirits if ever I'm feeling blue. Evenings, after Calvin is kissed and tucked into bed, I spend with Michael listening to music, talking, reading or watching films and eating the most delicious meals in the world, which he creates nearly every night for me.

Having said that, your message has encouraged me to get out more with friends. I fancy taking a trip again somewhere, sometime, or perhaps attend a writing retreat, though, because of Calvin, travel is difficult to do. I did start running but have seemed to develop pain in one foot, which is so unlike my strong body. While I concede that I am a little older than I was yesterday, I do expect, like every other pain or injury I've endured, it will at some point disappear. In the meantime, perhaps I should jump back into the pool.

Suffice to say, I have a rich life, Carol, perhaps in some ways beyond all these words. And I am happy, contrary to what readers might think after scanning particular posts. Maybe I should consider shifting my focus slightly. I do appreciate your concern. Just know that through writing, I validate my own downs which, though they might seem many, I cherish, because I find them to be transformative, and they are, after all, my own.

Sending you much love,

My family

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful letter. You obviously have a full life. I'm glad.