Yesterday, in the middle of the day, I wrote a whinny, complaining entry that I will post below this. I could chalk it up to backsliding or rekindled grief but it was really fear. Tomorrow is LEND orientation. It marks the end of my fallow year and the beginning of the activities that follow from the applications and decisions of the last few months. And I am terrified.
What if I can’t do what is asked of me? What if Julia needs me while she is in school? What if the respite plans that I’ve made fail? What if I don’t find what comes afterwards? What if this is a bad path? A dead end? What if I fail? What if I can’t figure out a future?
And then I breathe.
Julia is with her therapist Morgan and I am at Panara. I needed to get out of the house and away from her. It is not Julia but me -- she cannot do things fast enough and in exactly the way I want them done -- ooo, shades of my mother’s style. It is just me that is like a untethered sail in a gust of wind.
I had thought to do some house work this morning or garden or put some food in the house, but I am going to indulge myself with coffee and a muffin and then on to shop for a blazer for an hour -- does anyone find clothes in an hour?
So many doorways. I see myself in my mind’s eye walking through doorways. Leaving comfortable, well-appointed rooms and striding into new damp, blank spaces that don’t even have a chair to drape a coat on. David’s death was such a door. Julia’s adoption was another door. Some possibilities were closed off, some were opened. On the eve of entering this new room -- once again at Waisman to toil among the experts and at the Quest retreat later in September -- I pause at the door way in utter terror. I have no idea where I am going. Hyperbole to be sure. I have some idea, just not a ticket and seat assignment for a hub city.
There is no rational way to calm myself, to assure myself that all will work out. Just a whiff of such pandering and I am defensively screaming that “all” has not worked out. Instead, I need faith. Leap and wait for the angels. Work and keep my sights on today, and just know that tomorrow will be taken care of. Be a lilly. Faith, trust, knowing, wisdom. Absolutely none of this is easy for me as I wrestle my demons of ambiguity. Living the questions. How the hell do you live the questions?
“…I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903 in Letters to a Young Poet.
I have admired that quote for so many years. Thought of it often and told other people of it. And here it is again and I am have so much trouble really living it. Can I force the learning? Will I get it this time through?
Yesterday’s entry: Today is our Gotcha Day -- 6 years as a family. Any remembrance and/or celebration is my responsibility and I am very ambivalent today. It feels like a chore today to be so responsible. I have to talk about it, remember it, encourage Julia that this is a notable day. And it all takes energy, much more than I have today. Julia is not the child jumping up and down, wanting the party, the remembrance, the story of our first meeting over and over. It was easier when there was three of us to be celebrating. If I asked Julia what she would like to do to celebrate gotcha day, she would ask to play with her dinosaurs or the new game on her iPad. Probably alone. Not really appropriate requests for celebration and so I can’t ask.
And yet, I do not want every special day to go by just because it is me remembering. I have been enthusiastic in the past because I believed that one day, Julia would be part of the anticipation and the celebrating. Maybe that is happening, and I am just too grumpy today to see it. With the first fall decorations in the stores, she is ready to talk about Halloween. She does love to sing Christmas songs.
I need to breathe. This is not all about today.
Wednesday is LEND orientation and I am doing a small powerpoint presentation.
This is Julia’s last week of summer vacation. Today, it is beautiful outside and I have the intense feeling that I should be gardening or doing something fantastic with Julia. Instead, we have meeting, therapy and inside chores. This morning, Julia and I went to a conference to sit and talk with her teachers. Julia was able to answer some of the questions they asked about what she enjoyed doing and what she wanted to do this year. Her anxiety was lower than it was last week, but she was far from focused. She will settle down a bit when school is in full swing, but her special ed teacher’s work is cut out for her. What will Julia learn this year?
Julia had therapy all day today and she is having a hard time listening to my directions. I let her work/play with her iPad when she is free and in the car while I drive, but she does not turn it off when I ask. That is driving me nuts! There is a combination here of age appropriate behavior and her behavior age-level that is compounding the annoyance. I am also having a hard time giving up her summer academic curriculum, but it is time to let the school take over.
And I am not focused. I have a list of shoulds’s and coulda’s and feeling very stressed and unprepared for the week. I have child care for most of the time that I need for orientation but I will be coming on the late side and leaving early each day.
And I have a headache.
Oh, I don’t mean to sound so ungrateful for this beautiful child and her strange, but magical journey. Today’s anniversary is encumbered. I cannot see it -- at least right now -- with that joyful time of family building. I see losses that have diminished our family. I see changes that stole the last whiff of naiveté from my expectations.
And I didn’t know that today was going to be hard.
We had a nice evening. We picked up Chinese take-out from our new favorite place after therapy. I gave Julia a tea set that I bought in China six years ago and she had a wonderful time serving us tiny cups of tea during supper. We watched a bit of a movie and then we got ready for bed. Harry Potter I is just about over, but Julia has two books that she wants to start -- she is interested in these chunky chapter books that are mostly too hard for her to read. She is interested in the stories.
And when Julia’s light was turned out, I went downstairs and organized my desk, paid bills, and got ready for my week.
I am breathing again.