Most days, this is where you will find me. Waiting in line. Drop off line, pick up line, in front of a house, or across from a gym. It used to irk me to no end, all this time spent sitting in my car, parked by a curb. But humans are amazingly adaptable creatures. Rather than rail against my fate, I decided to embrace it. I have a book stashed in my driver door (Hyperion by Dan Simmons). Snack are located in the center console (dried nut mix from Costco). Make up bag is on hand to pimp myself out if I ran out of the house in a blind panic because I lost track of time (lets be honest, this is most days for me). And a small sketch book and pen set if I’m near something sketch worthy. Add to that a few podcasts pre-downloaded and ready to enjoy (Hello From the Magic Tavern), and what was initially mind numbing boredom becomes wonderful relaxation. Open the sunroof, lower the windows and enjoy holding still for a moment. Sometimes, waiting can be lovely too.
Confession time. I love puzzles. Love ’em. When I was a kid, we used to go visit my Grandparents who lived in a retirement community in Sun City, Arizona. Now, if you are a kid in a retirement area, it can be a bit slow. Luckily, my grandparents had two things going for them. One, a community pool. And two, a library that rented out puzzles. Every visit, my grandmother would go and get a puzzle for us. I remember pouring over the pieces on her dining room table waiting out the hot Arizona afternoon. I think that’s when my puzzle love began in earnest.
You open the box and are faced with a jamble of pieces, colors and shapes. It all seems impossible but every child knows that the trick is to start small. Find the corners. Pick out the edge pieces. Once that frame is assembled you have a toe hold on the beast and suddenly the impossible seems within reach.
There are different techniques after the beginning frame out is over. You can sort by color or unique image. From there expand into grouping by shape. And the satisfaction of finding that one last piece to complete a section! Ummmmm. Makes me tingly happy just thinking about it.
So every summer I pick a new puzzle and set it out. Most days it is just me fingering the cardboard shapes but every once in a while Kevin or the girls will join me for a bit. It’s so easy to talk over a puzzle. But it’s equally acceptable to sit in silence and slowly sift through the pieces or study the box art.
Oddly enough, I don’t like to do a puzzle more than once. Instead, I grab my ModPodge and glue the finished piece together and hang it up. A reminder that no matter how broken something is, if you frame it carefully and work on it bit by bit, you can make it whole again.
I like to pride myself on being quick on the draw. I can read the signs, pick up a quick wink, tell which way the wind is blowing. But this time, I think I was a bit dense really. It took the universe much longer than normal to enlighten me. In the span of about a week, I experienced the following signs…..
- Kulia had an assignment which required her to bring in a story about her as a baby. Easy enough. I just pulled up my good old blog and began surfing. And here was my first epiphany. I remembered the “big” stories. Celebrations, holidays, and traveling were still in the old memory banks. It was nice to read about these events but since I still remembered them, it wasn’t anything miraculous. What I had forgotten was the mundane, the day to day grind, those small moments of simple bliss. The posts about our daily routine and interactions fascinated me. As soon as I read those old posts, the memories came flooding back. Memories I didn’t even know I had forgotten.
- Two days later, Uncle Dan asked if I was still writing and if I missed it. He, too, had noticed that it’s the little simple moments that get lost in time. They can be pinned down and preserved but if you aren’t careful they can also slid away. I admitted that I had stopped journaling. Mostly, I just take a picture with my phone if I want to remember something. I have images now but no stories.
- A week later, Jada died. Again, I turned to this blog looking for lost memories about her. There are a few but because I stopped writing, there aren’t many. I know that time will rob me of her presence eventually. Right now, she is my phantom limb. I still glance down in the kitchen to make sure I don’t stumble over her as I cook. I check before I scoot my chair back so I don’t hit her. I pause to listen for her skritchy claws at the bottom of the stairs. Eventually, I will unlearn all these behaviors and they will fade into forgotten dust. But the real regret is that I didn’t capture them here while I could.
So OK universe. I get it. Stop hurting me. I understand that this – right now – is a moment of great importance but also a moment that will fade to nothing. That the “bigs” will live on in my photo roll but the “littles” have an awesome ephemeral power too. I see that someday future me will need these small moments that I capture now. She will relish them and thank me for taking the time to preserve all the uneventful, boring, useless chatter. That any moment is worth remembering, not just the big stuff. I need more than the images in my iCloud. I need to be able to hear my voice talking to me from the past as well.
So hello blog. How ya been? Me? I’ve been better but I think that’s a story for tomorrow.
My mind is my garden,
My thoughts are the seeds,
My harvest will be either Flowers or Weeds.
— Mel Weldon
This has been a killer awful week. I’m so grateful it’s Friday because I am in need of a good recharge. I had my second implant put in last Friday and it went ok but I kind of forgot about the recovery process. Add to that the fact that Kevin got crazy busy at work and it pretty much knocked me off my feet. I don’t do well starting out slow. I’m more of a jump in the deep end and strike out hard kind of girl. Unfortunately, that plan didn’t work out so well. If I were to do it over, I think I’d go for the slow immersion method but ah well, I survived. Right? I’m almost back on to solid food, the sun is shining, the dog didn’t roll in pop today, and it’s Friday. See? Life’s good again.
Even better, the girls and Kevin are heading up to WA to visit Grandma leaving me and the dog home alone for a long, quiet, peaceful weekend. And boy, do I need the break!
I’m pretty much back on track today but just so very, very tired. Bone tired really. I find myself curling up to sleep at the drop of a hat and my eyelids feel so heavy and dry. I don’t know if I’ll make it through the day without a nap.
I had to volunteer in Leina’s classroom this morning which is always draining. The constant motion and noise and energy is unbelievable. Today, it pretty much did me in. And, to top it all off, I had two kids look right at me and let out a big, juicy, phlegmy cough all over my face. I am so dead. I am already planning for the ensuing sickness because there is no amount of Airborne or ColdEze that can save me now. Of course, I am still on some heavy duty anti-biotics so maybe there is hope yet.
Really, though, I am counting the minutes until I can curl up and sleep. The pounding rain and looming clouds only add to my need to slumber. If only my children would respond the same. Unfortunately, the weather means a day of school without outsides recess so to say they are “on fire” in laughably understated. I have cute pictures to post from the Halloween parties they went to over the weekend but they’ll have to wait till tomorrow. Now, I’m off the throw together some food and watch the clock until 2pm. Then I’m turning off the phones and turning down the covers. Lookout nap time….. here I come!