12 February 2012

It was a challenging day. I was fragile. I was on the brink of tears, of out right crying all day. I was resilient, not quite of this world but moving about my day as if I was perfectly fit to it. I was a mess at church, and the fact that we had a lovely soprano singing Hebrew folk songs just didn’t help at all.

There were gifts of the day and my gratefulness is deep. My amazing community that seems almost miraculously drawn to response when I am in most need. What seemed like minutes after I wrote the post about my dream, Marcia called -- to check in, to chat, to proposed an interesting get together. And after talking to her, I check back on the blog to see that Traci had commented -- loving and kind. I loudly proclaim my disbelief in a micro-managing god or in a force so powerful that it can be specifically and pointedly driven, but I have no need for belief when those who care about me come rushing out to catch me. Jump and the angels will catch you. The more that I jump, that I embrace the jump, the more angels that I find.

I wanted to sit down and write all day. I could have. I could have written the day away. But the day was filled with tasks. Cooking in the morning while Julia had therapy. Cooking for the church pot luck after evening service. Then on to the school carnival. Loud kids, face painting, and cotton candy. Yes, I got my own cotton candy because I like it too and Julia just refuses to share this once a year confection. Funny, I used to limit Cheshire to once as year too. It was usually at the Indiana State Fair when Cheshire had hers. For Julia, it is the school carnival. After waiting on line for about 40 minutes.

As much as I fear, almost daily, for Julia’s social development, I watched her at the Carnival and saw progress. She still does not listen and pay attention when someone speaks to her, but she is willing, on her own terms, to try conversation with anyone. When her attempts are ignored by the subject of her attempt, she is undaunted. Whether undaunted is because she has no understanding of the rejection, and perhaps rejection is too strong a word, or from some great resiliency, I have no idea, but watching her work on her social skills is inspiring. Julia knows kids by names now. This has not been a strong point with her in the past and certainly she did not greet other kids and adults by name last year. She calls out to kids in her class, she goes over and says something to them. To be sure, many of her statements, not necessarily greetings to others, are not particularly appropriate and usually, almost always, center on herself. Some, especially the boys and a few cool girls, are embarrassed by her attention. Her attention takes energy to respond to, too much energy and attention for kids who are focused on themselves. Again, that does not stop her, whether it be strength or her inability to recognize their embarrassment.

Before a performance of hip hop dancing, the mother of a classmate tells her to so and sit with that child. Julia actually looks for the child and when she can’t find her in the crowded cafeteria, she looks back at us and calls out, “where is Lucy?” And when she finds Lucy, the two sit side by side and watch the performance. And Julia watches, does not do more than really normal drifting from what is going on. This is the same little girl who was Julia’s secret friend, for whom Julia drew the picture of the parakeet, made the box, and wrapped the picture. I heard from her teacher, that when Lucy was told that the gifts from Julia were hers, Julia jumped up, happy and excited, and shouted that she made them. This is not the child who was oblivious to others a few years ago, or who addressed groups of kids with, “hey, boys” or “hey, kids” only a few months ago. Now, if she can only learn to turn her attention to a person speaking to her and be interested in her talking partner’s interests and thoughts. If she can only ask me what I did with my day without a prompt. I want it so much, and if she knew what it meant and the world of friendship that this skill would open, I know she would want that skill as well.

We stopped at home, picked up our dinner offering and headed off to church. Good service but too much talk about love tonight. The good Samaritan, loving neighbors as ourselves, the eternal, unconditional mother love, and feeling always loved. Feeling always loved -- didn’t feel that until I was grown. I hope Cheshire didn’t have to wait so long. I hope Julia has some inkling. Then dinner and home and walking the dog and then the evening ritual of shower, medication, and stories. And there I was, back in bed tapping on keys again.

That dream, incredible as it was, cost me today. It disturbed every fiber of my being. I was not in my right head all day. I felt apart from where I was, I could have been watching myself go through the motions of this everyday time. Feet were not on the ground. I was the observer, not the observed. I wonder if that is how physics feel after an intense reading? Is that how saints feel after a devine appearance? I don’t mean to be profane. I only imagine it so. Maybe it is as close as I get.

Between batches of sweet potato quesadillas on the stove, I went through one of the boxes of sheet music that will sooner be leaving the house. I came across the stash of Italian music that I sang after we came home from Italy. Senza Fine. An old song, recorded by everyone, including Dean Martin, but the version that I fell in love with was by Ornella Varoni. A singer that we “discovered” when in Italy. She sang at the San Remo Music Festival in 1984 that we watched on a rented tv.

The Festival della canzone italiana di Sanremo was a pre-cursor of shows like American Idol, but it was the songs that were featured, a competition among songs. I think they were previously unrecorded songs sung by new singers with more established singers filling out the bill and pulling in the crowds. At least, that is what I remember.

Ornella Varoni was an old favorite by 1984. She was a big deal in the ’60’s and ’70’s. A voice that was a smoother Piaf, but like Piaf, layered, deep, smokey, and rich. A voice that belonged to a woman who lived full out, maybe a bit crazy, but full out and present. I listened to her and Paolo Conti for the morning -- Conti who David loved to listen to while he was washing dishes after supper. I could not get away from connections today, could not get away from David today. I have that music on my ipod only because David had it on his and I downloaded his collection before Cheshire took the ipod for herself.

It was like a hangover. A sort of spiritual hangover. I suffered it rather gladly for the sake of that dream. And it exhausted me. Still, I do not sleep long for the night and my fixes and determination wear off before dawn and afford me time to write before today’s busyness begins.

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