Respite in spite

Today is one of those days when I get to sigh with relief. I spent grocery money on childcare so I could get some ultrasounds to confirm or deny serious medical issues. I am pleased and damn lucky to announce that I don’t have any issues to report. While the scare was real, the potential was only a small percentage. (Here, I avoid big words like cancer or leukemia, because the results are clear; because I am one of the lucky ones.)

It has been easy for me to not process the changes in my life, because so many of my processes are the same. Day in, day out.

As I type this, my toddler presses his forehead into my temple and begs to touch just the “T” or the “C” key. He wants to do what I want to do. I distract him with singing me the alphabet. He sings “a b c d lmnop q r s t u v wxy z” and dances on our bed. He is my constant reminder that my life does and doesn’t change. He is my balance of stasis and growth.

My relief is long overdue. Maybe I am slightly anxious, maybe I do expect the worst. However, I work to find solace in my own endeavors. I harvest the fruits from my labor. I work for my own happiness.

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And I think, “This is how it should be.”

I have always been a hard worker. I never minded the long way around. Over zealous about my interests, I dive head first into curiosities. Oh I make blunders, get frustrated, and flat out fail sometimes. But I never fail without learning; I never try and gain nothing.

One day I hope to teach my son this very necessary virtue. Yes, honesty and loyalty, devotion and kindness are important. But hard work and self reliance and the ability to teach yourself what you want to know, the endurance, the patience… These are things you can give yourself, these are ways of living I need him to know.

I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with. Each year growing up we made a family trek to the town of my birth, to my grandparent’s house. Each year, we came away with the food my grandparents grew and stored for winter. Hazelnuts, corn, jam. They were pretty amazing to produce so much. My grandmother’s tomato jam was so sweet. I hope to make some this weekend and remind myself that family goes and keeps going, that community is built of individuals, that mistakes and triumphs are both valuable.

I hope we can all relax a little this weekend; find respite in spite of all the little things that block our way. For me, summer turns to fall. Our cool evenings make me enjoy things like wool socks and long sleeves. I will relax and rest, and be thankful for this sigh of relief.

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