This has been a hard year for my husband and his siblings. In September their dad died suddenly and unexpectedly. He went to the ER because he was in some pain, and then the next day he suddenly took a turn for the worse and then… his heart just stopped.
Minutes before he’d been joking and asking when they were going to let him go home. He was months from his 90th birthday– they had a big party planned for December. And instead we found ourselves catapulted into a wake and funeral and it was all disorienting.
And now… last week their mother, who has been in a nursing home since last year and has been in and out of the hospital for the last couple of months, finally breathed her last painful breath while looking at a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. My brother-in-law said every ounce of suffering had wrung out her body until she was squeezed almost dry. And yet at her wake her smile was beatific as if she was finally at peace and free from suffering for the first time in years.
So now my husband has lost both his parents. I have lost beloved in-laws, my children have lost their beloved grandparents. It is a time of mourning.
And yet for me it is also a time of rejoicing. My little brother, Tim, and his wife, Amber, just welcomed a new daughter into the world on Friday. A beautiful baby girl. Their first child. As my other brother said, his first Texan niece.
Tomorrow, Monday, my Anthony celebrates his twelfth journey around the sun. We celebrate his life, my fourth child, my sweet son.
On Wednesday we enter into the season of penitence and sacrifice. The Lenten journey.
A time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to feast, a time to fast. Time seems to be piling them up so quickly at my feet as waves lapping on the beach. One wave breaks and then recedes, and then another and another and another. I can hardly appreciate each wave of emotion before the next one breaks. It feels like time is speeding by these days, one thing after another after another. I can’t quite catch my breath.
I began this year with great hopes of writing more frequently, and almost immediately hit a dry patch as, well, life is busy. Homeschooling is in a busy season. But I’m no longer in the place where I feel like writing daily progress notes. I’m too busy doing and I don’t feel I want the encouragement of writing about it any more. I’ve found my stride and am racing to keep going forward.
I am reading a ton of book but am not sure what to say about them. I’d like to write book notes, but somehow the time seems to slip away and the moment is gone.
Today is Sunday and I’m sick and have let time slide past me. I missed my sister-in-law’s birthday party and spend most of the day in bed. And yet made very little progress on my books. Some days are like that. But I did clean the toilet, which is an accomplishment.
I guess I need to stop worrying about posting on any kind of schedule or with any kind of plan and grab the chances that come and let go of the ones that slip by. This blog is no longer a reliable record of our days, or a practice ground where I hammer out my ideas; but instead an occasional retreat. A place for a small respite before I dive back into the busy fray of life.
So that is the season that I’m in. Kids whose education needs to be tended to intensely, who need a lot of one on one attention. Kids whose mental health needs a lot of tending too, who have many appointments and many needs. A family of children who increasingly stay up late at night so that quiet nights of writing after the kids are in bed are increasingly hard to snatch. Instead of writing about books, I’m talking to my teenaged daughters about them, watching them gulp them down and them full of ideas that need to be discussed. We are finally at the stage where they enjoy Jane Austen and I find the 16 year old (16!) reading The Scarlet Letter, even though I didn’t assign it, because her friend was talking about it and she was curious.
And there are still huge housekeeping challenges. The laundry room still hasn’t recovered from our forced evacuation in fall of 2021. But the living room is finally starting to look more like a room to live in and less like a storage space or a train depot. It’s lovely to create a sanctuary, even if the rest of the house still feels a shambles.
I look back at the me who wrote almost every day and I don’t know how to be that and do that anymore. But all I can do is live in the here and now and try to enjoy the seasons as they come without wishing for a past that has slipped away.
My website was down Sunday night, so I’m posting this Monday afternoon. Anthony’s birthday has been a day off of school for everyone but Bella– she’s got a rigorous high school schedule and work that doesn’t get finished now just drags the start of her summer later. Last year with all the upsets, she hardly got a summer and this year we are trying to protect that precious time off from studying.
I love birthdays. Making a cake. Presents. Remembering. Watching my kids buy each other presents is a new addition to the joy. Ben got Anthony a Nerf gun and Sophie got him a little stuffed Grogu doll with a little chainmail shirt of Beskar steel (that’s a Mandalorian reference, in case you are out of the Star Wars loop.) This year we’ve decided it’s too expensive to take everyone out so we are pivoting and starting a new tradition of the birthday child going out with just one parent.
And now I’ve got to go make some cake frosting and also grilled cheese sandwiches for those who aren’t celebrating a birthday. Life is full to bursting.