Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Garage Sales, Growing Up, and Letting Go

I shouldn't be doing this. This. This writing thing. What should I be doing right now?

Three loads of laundry are calling "fold me"...
The hallway floor and rug--heck, all the floors scream silently "vacuum me, already!" They say nothing but give me dirty, dust-bunny glares...
The dishes sigh in the sink, waiting patiently. They are calmer than the rest, knowing through experience that they will be washed before dinnertime...
Bits of life, various and sundry,  all stretch out their imaginary arms like little children, calling "pick me up, put me away"...
Compost waiting on the counter longs to go out and play with the other decomposing cousins in their communal bin, the celery trimmings and colorful Swiss chard stems and long skinny carrot peelings, sweet apple cores...

And that's just the stuff on the inside. That's not even touching the garage sale coming up in two weeks and the big toy clean-out that's happening. 

Waking up this morning, the pile of work indoors which needs to be done seems not tremendous-- I think onerous is a better word. I had a hearty breakfast and shower while Kiddo created a crane with Lego blocks, interrupting me only to ask if I had a hook for it. Last weekend we found a plastic bag of probably Star Wars Legos, but we didn't tell him this. They are just Legos. We do not plan on buying him any kits; only loose ones, for a very long time. Kits are frustrating; they require mindless obedience to the plan to make the specific item on the box. I'm all for imagination. There will be plenty of opportunities for unswerving devotion to someone else's ideas--or maybe he'll be like me, thinking outside the box, taking all the ideas and mixing them up like some sort of crazy fruit salad which still tastes good with balanced flavors.  


With all this progress, though, comes change. After five years, the unit blocks I borrowed from a dear Auntie friend are going back, along with a few other sets of blocks. I will miss the unit blocks, but it's time to help Kiddo move up and beyond, and he will have some in his kindergarten classroom.  He is getting older and his construction is moving smaller, more intricate. This morning he also asked me for springs. Springs? Too busy packing lunch, I didn't ask him what he needed a spring for, but will later. 


Today offers richness and a sense of sadness, in a way. Today, we have fun plans for making pesto this afternoon. We will find a hook to finish Kiddo's crane and there's a bowl filled with water, paper-punched circles and curled bits of scotch tape-- it is waiting for food coloring and then to be placed in the freezer to be yet another ice sculpture. Fun. What's a little sad today, though, it the heart-tug of the absence of my mother. My crazy mother who cannot be with us for everyone's own good. I wonder, if she were well, would she just adore Kiddo? What would she think of our disheveled little house, the place I've lived longest in my life? Ten years here, and ten years of no contact, and so much has changed.  Even with the work that pulls at me, I am truly happy here, happier than any moment in the thirty years of my life before this life, this one that allows me to breathe without fear. 


There are times when I just want to tell her "I am so proud." Proud and sad. Proud to have made it this far despite everything I was up against,  sad at what it took to do so. Sad not to be able to share the richness, to have her over for dinner to eat that pesto on some pasta with Swiss Chard from the garden or to savor the golden raspberries, so prolific in the corner of the backyard. Some would say I could call this a triumph, victory over the old misery my life was. I don't think of it as winning, though, I think of it as starting anew, back at square one. 


When I was thirty, I learned for the first time what it was like to truly love. To be open and defenseless and to rely on someone else. Throwing my lot in with Joe's was enormous. I was nearly thirty when I learned empathy, and what it was to care for a person and relate to them without throwing your perspective or opinions or advice all over their situation. To just be quiet and sit with them, to listen and validate without fixing, to just be sad together. These are things babies learn through their parents, things kids learned growing up.  So when I say it's not a victory, I mean that really, truly. Who, as an adult, wants to go back to START? We don't even like doing it when we play a game, but that's what it takes sometimes. Going back to start and doing the hard stuff, but doing it right.


And I am lucky. I got my life back while I still have time to live it and enjoy it. Not every day is perfect, there is always the mundane, tedious stuff. And I miss my mom. I feel sad that I have a sister who has such a hard time talking to me, because we have only disaster in common. I miss my little brother, who is probably right in keeping distance, because I am sure it makes his life easier. But I don't miss the old life. I just wish I could share the one I have now.


I shouldn't be doing this, dumping out my heart today, but this is what one does when one is in mind to prepare for a garage sale...  you sort through the boxes, dump it out, examine it all, and keep what you need, what you love and what you can use. And you let the rest go. Whether it is sold, donated, or just ends up in the free box, it really doesn't matter. Take  your hands off of it and release it to its own fate....

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