I could just curse the . . . what? Who? I have no idea. But I hate falling asleep when I put Julia to bed, missing a late night talking with Cheshire and Linde, and then waking up after 2 and not being able to get back to sleep quickly. Such a schedule just means that it will be repeated tomorrow! Drat! I would rather be burning the candle at both ends but that has never worked well for me. Certainly, late middle age is not the time to embrace candle burning.
Having Cheshire home is always such a joy, and it is now. Rushing about, taking on much too much this week, pausing to be together doing something silly, and squeezing in another shopping trip or cooking time. Cheshire went to Milwaukee to pick up Linde who will also be with us until Christmas. The house, the home expands. We have not all been together under this roof since David died. I miss Lisa’s presence. I so look forward to some time with Mary and Robert. Amy will come by tomorrow to take pictures -- holiday cards will be for Chinese New Years. Breath in, breath out.
I am rambling. I will do more.
Last night, the first night of Hanukkah, we sat down to latkes, and with no intention to offend, pork chops and apples. We lit the candles, explained the candles we lit to Julia. We said the blessing and ate and talked and rushed Julia off to bed late.
I am feeling a bit too rushed once again taking a bigger bite than is comfortable to chew. Needing to let go of expectations of my perceived perfection and just experience the perfection that is in front of me. Whoa, yes, the old hippie talking -- but . . . I thought to do a “little” baking this week with Cheshire. She expressed a desire to bake some of what I’ve always done for Christmas, and then she wanted to bring some back to New York for Chris’ family, and then I wanted to bake a “little” for teacher and therapist gifts. This is the baking I usually do two weeks before Christmas and could not do this year because of the kitchen work. And then, suddenly, quite out of my control, the “little” baking turned into a big deal that has deadlines. And tonight, at 3:50 in the morning, I am worried about it. This is when the old hippie perspective needs to kick in. And it has not yet.
I don’t want to feel rushed. Of course, I don’t want to be bored with nothing to do either. I have a list inside my head of what needs to be accomplished this week, before the weekend, and without forgetting the round of appointments, therapists, and docs. Why is moderation such a challenge? Always!
Another project -- Cheshire and I have been searching for a kitten. We’ve visited two of the Human Society sites and yesterday, we went to a woman’s house to see her kitten. None so far seem right. Cheshire wanted us to find one this week for her to play with while she is home. I can’t blame her and I wanted to make it happen. There is one more kitten to see but that owner has been slow getting back to make final arrangements to see the kitten and they are 45 minute away from us. I don’t know if it is going to happen. DidiChi was so easy to find. Strange, how easy that way, and how difficult it feels like it is now. Still, I have to find the patience to find the right animal for our household. No pleasing, no rushing. Again, that middle path.
Julia is happy to have Cheshire home. She babbles on, interrupting everyone at the dinner table, saying that she is happy to be talking to her mother and her sister and. . . and she pauses, trying to define her relationship with Linde. I said, friend, when she was looking for a word, but really needed to say family. Mother, sister, cousin, aunt -- these are all so easy to say. Such easy definitions of relationships. Such easy expressions of emotions. Friend doesn’t sound as close, as intimate. But it is. I wonder about teaching her, giving her the language to describe the important people in our lives. Do we spend Thanksgiving with friends or family? Will we gather for Christmas with family? Where is the line? The lovely blur of crossing over to be someone who will always be important.
And we still have a Christmas tree to buy and decorate and wrapping and a Christmas brunch to plan. This is why I am awake. And I can laugh at myself.
Between and amidst all the running and taking big bites out of life, we talk. Cheshire is so excited about starting social work school in January. It is good to hear her excitement. It will be challenging doing a full time expedited program and scrambling for a bit of work to keep the expenses from getting overwhelming. As I worked in restaurants to support my NYC days, as David word processed, Cheshire will be babysitting. Something that she has always done so well. Something that done well is in demand. Who knew how well that safe sitter class in middle school would pay off?
We’ve talked a little bit about our sadness. David comes up often when we talk, not always sad, but both of us have a regret that David has missed something good that has come since his death. I feel, as I’ve written before, that I am becoming a somewhat better person -- more responsible, more aggressively taking on forward movement in my life. Cheshire feels that she is happier now, has found some direction, is taking her life seriously. I know that someone might say that David is present and knows what we are doing, looking down from his heavenly perch or living in our hearts. Blah, blah, blah. Sure maybe true, maybe not. But he is not here to enjoy, to experience our “improvements,” our better than we were times. Maybe everyone who has lost a dear one feels this way, says these things. Maybe it is only novel when it is personal.
In my ramblings with Cheshire, I touch upon all of my own issues and find that I have no conclusions. I did not plan to have conclusions midways through this fallow year -- of course, early conclusions would be welcomed and one of my goals is to not demand conclusions or jump to them during the process. But still, this road in front of me is still pretty much mired in fog and mist. I don’t know what the work that I will do is. I know that in the next month I will begin in earnest to take up a writing project. I know that writing, even if I could make some paying work from it, is not enough, not sufficient to please my yearning for soul’s work. I want to travel again, taking a long time, a month at least to be somewhere but don’t know whether this summer is the time for that. And then, where? Italy or England for fun and adventure and visiting. I would love that. I know that I cannot take Julia back to China yet, but the idea of Bolivia to do some orphanage work for a month really stirs my heart. But what of a week at Chatauqua with Lisa, what of our China reunion? I have no idea. And the final question, or at least it seems to be what is on my mind over and over -- whether to expand my family in some way. Ask China again for another daughter? Look into foster care, foster to adopt domestically? Cheshire asks, can Julia share you? And I don’t know. Sometimes, I glimpse a future with two children at home. Sometimes, I don’t see that. As we talk, I check the pulse of my feelings -- what is feeling correct? What is feeling like a right path? Still so much pondering and I lose patience with myself only to catch myself up once again remembering that this is what this year is supposed to be. Trusting in some process is also very hard.