Five minutes ago, I wrote about Goldie—off to high school. This fall, she’s applying to college and will be out of the house next August. Picture me now, lying on my stomach, pounding my fists and feet into the carpet. It appears I’m exercising; I’m actually falling apart.
Too much? Over the top? Maybe. But understand I’ve struggled to define life’s purpose, as I know many of us do and have, and motherhood provided answers—immediate, well-defined, profound. Yes, Goldie will still need me from far away and the other two blondes still lurk about, but the closer she gets to graduation and beyond, the smaller this nest becomes. I’ll say it again, “I like a crowd,” and I like Goldie. How do I make the most of what will likely be her last full year in this house?
Enter Bun Bun, her tore her ACL five weeks ago, and Miss T, who has a nagging hip flexor issue and had to step away from soccer indefinitely. For the past ten years, I have been at evening practices three to five nights a week between the two of them. There was volleyball for Goldie several of those years, but not recently when my soccer and school commitments spiraled out of control.
For Bun Bun, when it happened—in the first game of the club season, a foot plant, a pivot, then a buckled knee—there was denial, even after I watched my daughter-who-always-gets-up remain down on the turf. We were both certain, after the pain subsided and mobility returned, that the MRI would come back negative. It didn’t and there was grief. She’s out six to eight months after surgery next week and how can that be?! I’ve cried for her because people have been too nice (damn them) and understand how disruptive this is on an emotional level. Soccer is what she does (obviously among things, but you get my point).
And then poor Miss T has had a rough patch with an injury aggravated specifically by soccer and I had to pull her from the sport until her body heals. As back-to-school nights conclude and physical therapy shifts to afternoons, we find ourselves with evenings returned to us like a favorite sweatshirt we’d long ago given up as lost. “There it is!” I think as I listen to Goldie rant about one issue or another while I try to catch up on some reading. Even the act of making dinner while the girls are scattered doing homework in the house feels like this tremendous gift, when in fact it’s what we desperately needed as a family. I don’t have to like the reasons why it came about, but I won’t apologize for enjoying the outcome (you can’t make me).
I’ll say the same about my job. Too frequently, I have to put out fires, and sometimes the fire is a person. When that’s the case, the embers seem to smolder and full containment feels out of reach. I revert to myself as an eight-year-old losing at Monopoly, upsetting the board and leaving the tiny top hat, thimble, and racecar scattered on the floor—“I don’t want to play anymore!” Except this time, this week, I’m choosing to read the smoke as a signal. I’m backing up and backing off because the thing that’s burning can’t be saved (like Trump supporters) and over here is where I’m needed. (Do you have any idea what I’ve just said? Some knuckleheads have forced me to take stock and I’m grateful. I expect to write more because of it.)
Two things I know for sure:
— Not every situation has a silver lining.
— Because of this, I am blessed.
Tell me a story. Have you made lemonade from lemons recently?