24 December 2011

Something is wrong with my notebook. Ach! It has been strangely slow for a few days. Weeks? Possibly. For the past two days, it has been fading to white at times. This morning it took a very long time to get into working mode. Not good. And not convenient. No chance of going to the apple store today.

Christmas Eve list with comments (possibly, if the computer holds out):

decorate tree -- Yes, we’ve waited a long time. Longer than ever before. We bought the tree two nights ago. Finding a parking lot with a long Latino man in a temporary shelter on Thursday night after Julia’s last therapy session for four days. We -- she and I -- are alone, alone with Cheshire and Linde and tomorrow Mary and Robert. I appreciate our team of teachers and therapists. They are how Julia and I have grown and learned to be a family, but I am feeling like a bird let out of a cage. I covet the freedom, especially at home, of some exclusive family time. And the tree, we found easily. The right size and shape. A decent price although I could have bargained with the seller. I could have paid less, but, in a less than truly capitalistic move, I just paid what he asked. I mean, he was standing there in the cold. There was no one else shopping for the few dozen trees he had left, and I bet, that most folks shopping for a tree so late, bargain down the price. I would be in tears if people did that to me on such a cold night. I did not have the heart for it. Let the few extra dollars buy his Christmas gifts.

wrap presents -- I’ve always wrapped all the presents. David used to complain, jokingly, at least I think so, that I could not wrap my own. I do such a nice job. But this year, I feel the aloneness of it. I don’t want to cloister myself in my room with paper and ribbon and tape.

family service at church -- The first of four Christmas services. I would love to go the more musical service, but that will have to be for another year. The last time, I was to the family services was in 2009. That year, David’s last, Julia was more willing to sit through the service. She did have crayons and coloring books. It was notable only for the fact that when I noticed there were not enough volunteers giving out cookies, I jumped in to help without a thought that I should ask someone first. A taking on of community that makes me smile now.

make lentil stew -- for supper tonight. Our chosen dish. Comfort food, I think. With crusty french bread

make oatmeal apples for tomorrow -- Our Christmas brunch menu: Lox and bagels, grapefruit salad, oatmeal apples, and a platter of our baked goods.

wrap poppy seed rolls for travel -- The baking started with Cheshire wanting to bring some of our traditional baking to Chris’ family when she returns on Christmas day. It is interesting to me that usually I bake for days and days and then feel a bit of remorse letting go everything. David always wanted to keep some of my outtput for ourselves. Freezing cookies and poppyseed cake. This year, I feel so differently. I have very little attachment to any of the work I did with the girls. If by tomorrow evening, there was a few biscotti and a single piece of poppyseed cake left in the house, it would be fine. It was/ is so much the process, the work that we did together that was the real joy. And I almost don’t believe that I said that. Okay, it is not about all of my life, just about a few days of baking, but maybe I am learning from this time.

puzzle -- Cheshire wanted to buy a puzzle yesterday for us to work on during the day. And so, we will. What sweet time.

Other things to write about:

A snuggly Julia. We are back to sleeping on less than half the bed. Julia used to sleep like this when there were three of us in this big king sized bed. Sometimes with me, sometimes David, The person she was crowding slept on less than a third of the bed. Way less. It was always uncomfortable but the last few days it has been like the return of some kind of normal. Funny how normal can be uncomfortable and yet very comforting.

She is brighter. She is more aware. Yes, her attention is harder to catch when she is involved in something, but teasing that thread from the one that marks her presentness with me and I see a difference.

Please, please, I have missed this part of this child. Only on the return of her brightness do I realize how different she has been. The rashes on her body do seem like only the physical manifestation of what is inside.

Yesterday, one of Julia’s aids was telling me how Julia worked so hard to pronounce a word she was having difficulty with -- prairie. When Julia is interested, she is very persistent, especially about words. She was like that from her earliest days with me, and that interest and perseverance continues. Shannon said, “She is such a bright little girl.” People used to say that -- well, not people, Julia’s Kindergarten teacher, Christy, used to say that. She saw something before most others did. Hearing Shannon say it, I realized how few people have said it. Is this the brightness that I see returning? I don’t mean to say that I am in mourning that Julia is not smart or school-able, but rather that . . . . well, maybe . . . there is so much healing, so much growing, so much understanding that this child has had to take on. I am moved to write, so much darkness. When I realized the changes that I’ve been through since she has been home -- so many deaths -- and she has lived through them too. She has lived through me living through my changes. Add that to her own experiences and it would not be surprising to find her bright light buried beneath a dark basket. How could she believe that it could be safe for a little bright soul to sing out in her world?

And Julia is singing in school. She skips more often.

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