I woke up and hit snooze, couldn't face it. Not yet, not yet. The same routine, the same protests from the same children... I give into my own protests for a few minutes more.
The heavy conversation from the night before is streaming like background noise through my mind... I had been so bold, so honest. He had been bold and honest.
I dismiss my snoozed alarm and open my gospel library app. Revelations is fascinating. What does it all mean? Is it trying to warn me that the world is about to end but I'm so caught up in trying to figure out how to be married again that I'm missing it? Am I missing out on fear I'm supposed to be feeling? This makes me laugh, but it's a worry that hits me from time to time.
As a person who suffers from anxiety, it seems crazy that I'm actually asking if I should be worried MORE. It SEEMS crazy, but it is -in fact -normal. Normal for me.
I'm impatient. It isn't their fault. Satan sees my husband back in my bed, and he reminds me ALL DAY LONG about stuff I can't control.
"What about the future?"
"What about the lack of trust?"
"What about your inefficiencies?"
"What about how you can't be assertive to anyone at all in the entire universe?"
I sign papers to return to school. I push the medical bills off to the side of the table. The kids fold their arms, we pray in haste.
Lunch is put in a sack for the girl. I leave a note for her on it, she loves those notes. Sometimes they're movie quotes. After we marathon watch "Once Upon a Time" I like to write, "Every lunch comes with a price, dearie," because it makes her giggle and try to talk like Mr. Gold.
Socks are found. Miracles never cease.
They are filling their young mouths with shredded wheat when the bus rolls up. They run, I snap. I hate being mean in the morning.
"I need my coat, my coat!"
"YOU. DON'T. HAVE. TIME. PLEASE GO!"
I tell them I love them and hope that that's ALL they heard. The bus pulls away and two big chunks of my heart go with it. I feel lighter and heavier all at once.
What's the next right thing? A healthy breakfast.
I boil water to make grits. I decide to have an egg fried in coconut oil, maybe an orange on the side? That's when I feel his hand on my shoulder.
"You should go for a walk," Danny knows how much I love walking. I think of 5 different reasons why I'm not important enough to carve out time to walk and then dismiss them all because -I AM important enough. I strike out into the cold with orchestral classical music streaming through my ear buds. I feel the sun on my back -such a stark difference between the loving sun on my back and the white frosted road under my feet.
The sun is mine, I've decided. It was fashioned to keep me warm, to give me light. I feel safe with it. I love the white rays of early morning. They seem to massage my entire being, infusing it with energy. Satan begins his descent into my thoughts, and tears spring to my eyes as I surrender them to God.
Attack after attack.
I want a pill, or something. I want to make the fear and the things I can't control GO AWAY.
I can't decide if I'm crying because of my anxiety or because I can't have a pill to make Satan go away.
I breath in, breath out... remind myself to breath in the white rays. I feel the cold around me. I see the frosted weeds by the road. I really SEE them. I focus on SEEING them.
I think of the episode of "The Paradise" I watched with Danny the night before... of the man who says so perfectly, "You are so worried about your past and future that you're missing what you have... this present moment."
I focus on NOT MISSING THIS MOMENT mostly because when I quit focusing on being present, Satan plants seeds of chaos in my mind.
I conscientiously relax my shoulders. I work on letting tension go. I listen to the music in my ear buds. GOD is in that music. I tell Him so. I tell Him I hear Him in the harmonies, the violas, the winds. I hear His messages, feel His presence.
He reminds me that I am His, and we walk together. I see the frost-bitten stems of what were once fully blossomed wild sunflowers, surrounded by bees and teeming with ants. Maybe the death should affect me? It doesn't. Should I feel guilty that I find the frosted has-beens equally as beautiful? I nod at My Savior... the role the Son plays in melting the frost.
I decide that there isn't a single reason in the world for me not to be writing more. Something settles in me... bravery? Vulnerability? I don't know, but I let it rest inside of me as I turn down the dirt road leading to Dad's farm. The ground is frozen. I smile at my luck, dodging what was last night's mud puddle, now frozen solid. I decide the frost is just for me as well.
Then I remember the blossoms. There have been blossoms all over town, and a frost meant the blossoms had all frozen. It's happened every year for the past 5 years... everything warms up unseasonably and then freezes over. So many trees have lost their fruit.
I think again of the hard conversation from last night. My heart seems to be in it's own sort of wild 5-year Blossom n' Freeze.
Will there ever be fruit again?
Then I giggle because FRUIT. Me producing fruit means having babies which means...
I shake my head because somewhere deep inside, I'm a 10 year old boy. Maybe it comes from having three older brothers?
My classical music comes to a halt. My phone rings, "Mom, can you please bring me my coat?"
I come inside and find a warm, healthy breakfast waiting for me. I relish the runny yolk mixed with hot grits. Is there anything better? Maybe. But in that moment? Never.
The past few days have been so difficult. I think of the words in a blessing my husband gave me a few weeks ago, "There will be days that you feel you cannot make it through and you will find that is by the Grace of God that you do."
Those days have hit full force. Even now, as I eat I realize I must get up. I must go to work. I must get the baby to the sitter.
I realize I can use the next ten minutes to look cuter or meditate, and I meditate because looking cute isn't as important as it used to be.
I'm late dropping the baby off, late to work. The computer is broken. I sweep the office. I file a few things. I find a few names on Family History and feel really good about it. Ancestors!
I take my daughter's coat to her.
I sweep some more.
I catch up on texting.
Dad buys me a tamale from Ruth -she comes in every Wednesday and saves a tamale every week for me. I love small towns.
The phone rings -it's Jackson. He's calling because his Mom just paid her bill off. Jackson's mother raised four boys as a single Mom. Jackson is in his mid-30s now and living states away. His mother now lives alone and paid her account off with us with her tax return. Jackson pays it again -in full -and asks my Dad to please return $900 to his Mom. I love THIS small town.
I pick my son up from school.
The computer is fixed. I cram a day's work into 45 minutes. I'm late picking the baby up.
Danny comes home for lunch. We eat together.
I turn on "Calamity Jane" with Doris Day for 15th time this week and the baby falls asleep. My son becomes busy and I feel like I can sit down.
But the next right thing isn't the internet. I open my computer and start a new Word document, and I WRITE. I write for two hours until my phone goes off and there's a text from Danny. He won't make it home in time for scouts. I cancel Scouts.
I play the piano just long enough for some deep emotions to rattle loose. They stay in my piano. My piano is my emotion catch-all.
The kids and I take a walk with The Horse Dog. We visit "our" club house behind a short row of trees that were never actually planted but sprung up the way stubborn trees sometimes do in the desert. My son battles the invisible ninjas I convinced him exist and my daughter picks up rocks for her collection.
They are beautiful to me.
We come home and drink hot chocolate. Homework is done. Reading is done.
I make dinner while they furiously clean the living room, knowing that when it's done, they'll be able to play video games.
Danny comes home after a hard day's work of policing, and I'm glad he's alive. I think about his job... about how it throws a weird wrench into the whole thing... he could die at work. Any day, he could stop a car filled with drugs and guns and die. I feel like I need to treasure him MORE.
I treasure him in the moment, and we eat gluten free pancakes for dinner with eggs on top because I'm still on a yolk high from that morning.
I am tired.
I feel like I've had some major victories: finding some names in family history, writing some stories... these are the things that make me COME ALIVE.
I sit down in a recliner filled with clean clothes. I don't mind them. I can snuggle with them. Will I fold them? Are you kidding?
I open up Netflix and being mindlessly scrolling. Danny is home now. He can keep the kids from fighting while I rest, rest, rest.
I shut out the outside noise and hone my attention fully on scrolling through movie titles. It feels good.
I feel a hand on my hand. Danny takes it, pulls me up, leads me away from the television. Minutes later, I'm sitting in a hot bubble bath with candles and more classical music.
Danny sometimes knows when I need my chapel even when I don't SAY it.
I climb out of the tub and he has hot towels waiting for me. I'm grateful, SO GRATEFUL for this man. So grateful that it's been a GOOD DAY.
It's been a blossom day.
More blossoms -stubborn blossoms that seek the sun despite -IN SPITE OF -the hard frost.
The kids have their nightly dance party, and we watch some Mormon Messages. We pray and the kids are sent to bed.
They get out.
They go to bed.
They get out.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I remember how much the Steps apply to ALL THINGS and hold boundaries with them. They think I am mean.
I tell them I love them. I hope that's all they remember...
I put on some clean PJs and braid my wet hair. I decide my body is important enough to deserve to NOT sleep in my contacts again.
Danny and I stream one last episode of "The Paradise" and I cheer when Moray realizes that Denise IS NOT HIS POSSESSION BUT HIS EQUAL and he gives her WINGS even when she doesn't know she wants them. I remember how satisfied I'd been when she SLAPPED him across the face when he spoke to her as if he owned her. Denise is my hero because she is true to herself and follows her gut like a champ. Denise the Champ.
I go to bed satisfied and grateful for The Blossom Day. As I begin to worry about tomorrow, I stop. Can I be married tomorrow? I'll worry about that tomorrow. I can be married today, and I will be married today.
I am determined to record it so that I may enjoy it, even when the frost comes. Gratitude is my greatest friend in my anxiety, and I want to remember that I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE GOOD DAYS.