I’m looking for that place now, the kind of place
that puts clocks to rest because something must
come forth to reset everything. . .
Reason doesn’t have roots that run deep enough
to tap the place that I am longing for, that place
where obvious things cannot be explained.
~ Jamie K. Reaser (from ‘It Will Be in the Silence’)
I’m honestly grateful I was ‘forced’ into renting a condo close to home. I say forced because the little family from Taiwan (son et al) rented a place 40 ugly-drive minutes away. And it was those min.x2 each day or a staycation to see them. I say grateful because I’ve never done a staycation, and it worked wonders for me.
I stepped away from work. Didn’t go back to the computer for two hours before bed like I usually do. Opened it 2 hours later than usual each morning. Like a real vacation. Who knew? No frets with forgotten items, either. My husband the shuttle. And I discovered I’ve not lost the ability to relax, spend hours (!) sleeping or doing nothing (read, daydreaming) without guilt.
I shared my countdown to the little family’s arrival on Facebook with five exclamation points: Blog published. fb ‘briefly’ perused. Perishable items for their breakfast care package. Hair cut. First project discussion with my publisher. Stuff gathered for the beach. Finally, counting the hours, watching the clock for late arrival.
The first three days were pure joy. My heart filled to overflowing. Little boy stayed over, told me so many times he was happy.
I got a jar of stars from him. He showed me how he made them. I want a turquoise one, I said. And pink. So he filled the rest of the jar with pink & turquoise. And I learned we both love stars. And he learned we were born the exact same hour and minute. He 5:47pm, me 5:47am. The exact same ’cause we live exactly 12 hrs. apart.
I let him apply a colorful tattoo on my arm. It surprised me how much I liked the little nautilus, its pretty colors, on my skin. That it stayed for days tho they said it’d wash off that night.
He was a whirlwind of activity. You have so much energy, I said. Where does it come from? My heart, he replied. He’s so sweet, I knew it truer than true. Even when he reduced it, said his heart pumps blood all over his body.
I was so happy, I didn’t even mind the mosquitoes and sweat to sit in the yard at the place they rented. Eat under a dried palm leaf covered umbrella (think tiki), linger an hour longer to talk.
I was grateful. Even to see the moon lift from the horizon. Turning a corner one night just as the clouds moved aside, revealing her fullness SO, so, so huge, otherworldly, like another world hanging off to the side in the sky. Like a companion. Took my breath away.
I walked on the beach for the first time in ages. Watched a bank of white, white clouds billowed over the water in the distance. One above the rest like a funny too-small hat, billowing pink. Watched as the whole bank turned deep pink, lit translucent with light inside as if it was a giant rose-quartz crystal. Noticed each time I turned my gaze down to my feet, a fine shell stood amongst the millions of tiny pieces.
Each time I looked at the water, a solitary bird in view. Egret. Pelican. Skimmer. Heron. Piper. Even the two seagulls were singular. One with a solid black head, one common white. I watched the clouds go golden, rainbows appear in two hollows. As day hit full on, the tops of the billows melted, and one of the rainbows stretched to the heavens. I thought how lucky I am.
And when a heron slowly walked up, stood in front of me five feet away. Eyed me this way and that for long minutes. I thought I gotta look up messages from heron. When it turned its back, stood looking to sea before flying to land a distance away, I thought myself special. Then I saw it far down the beach. Planted smack next to the man fishing. Waiting for a treat. I thought I’d bring little boy the next day. ‘Cause I knew he’d love seeing it up close, how big it is.
Little boy asked why the broken ones when I laid out the seashells. Well, look at this perfect shell, I said. Can you see what’s inside? No, well, look here at the broken one. See, another shell just like it inside. And here, a shell within a shell within a shell. And here, windows. ‘Ooooh. That’s cool.’ He got it. Loving all sorts of perfection.
And here’s where it turns. That night at dinner, something thought healed blindsided without warning. Judgements, assumptions, assignations of motives. Of me. Of everything offered. Perceptions projected. No questions or room for illumination. My daughter-in-law. Artistically gifted, beautiful. Who can be bright like a sunflower. Who remembers I love the sausage lettuce wraps she makes. Who gave me Taiwanese pearl rice in lovely packaging for abundance. Chopsticks chosen for their length & good fortune.
I’d missed the clues. Forgot irrational fear & anger don’t dissolve. Even if it only simmered, didn’t boil, their last visit two yrs. before. Even if I followed all their rules. Because I forgot how mean it was. How the face, words, body, and energy feels & looks like unadulterated hatred. Even tho I know it’s pain. Lies in her history, separate from me.
And finally, after six years of turning the other cheek. Responding with kindness, love, forgiveness. I’m done. I’m committed to compassion and understanding. Hold gratitude for many things in the midst. Will cherish my grandson when allowed. Continue to mend what I can with my son. But I won’t allow myself abused any more. I can live with rejection. My grief, once desperate, then sad, has evolved into acceptance.
The entire next day I was numb. The day after that I cried, letting my emotions, including anger, flow. Flow like a swollen river. Full, but not raging. I decided to focus on the Pure Joy of those three days still in my cells. And perhaps hope for more one day. Because it’s never over ‘til it’s over. And it’s always a choice. + I know she’s sorry.
Another small journey. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life.
Tell me. . .what hard things have you held with compassion?
I’ll tell you a secret: I always dreamed of a close daughter from a daughter-in-law. And it wasn’t meant to be with either of the women my son married.
A favorite: Little boy is a lot like me. Curious about nature, and an artist.