By 8:30 this morning, I’d had phone conversations about my mother with her doctor (the fabulous Dr. Carl S.), my sister, and my niece. I sat afterward, tapping a finger against the phone and staring into space, wondering at what point my brain was going to implode. Then — as almost always in any bad situation — a voice at the back of my head spoke up: “It could always be worse.”
Yes. And it’s not easy to see how. I could rattle off dozens of ways in which what we’re dealing with now, and our lives in general, could be so much worse than they are. In light of that realization, I thought I’d take a moment of think about the things in my life that are good:
1) I have a great husband. He’s not perfect (neither am I) and sometimes we don’t like each other, but he watches out of me and loves me and does the best that he can. If anything, I should probably cut him more slack (but don’t tell him I said that).
2) I have the company of a really good dog and two nifty cats. Holly (the dog) tries so hard to understand what I want from her and is willing to join me in any endeavor. Tuna is a velcro kitty-boy (sometimes too much) and “wuvs his mommie.” Gypsy has the typical semi-psycho personality of most torties, but is absolutely the most adorable cat I’ve ever known.
3) It’s raining. I LOVE rain, day or night; love sitting here looking out at the woods, listening to the fall of water. I hope it rains all day (we really need it). Heck, it can rain all night, too, far as I’m concerned. I feel contented when it rains, at peace. Maybe it’s that rain gives us permission to have some down time if we want it. I dunno. I just know I’m loving this.
4) There’s a robin’s nest in the red maple outside my office window. The babies are big enough now that I can see a bit more than their gaping mouths every time their exhausted mother lands on the nest with a worm or bit of grasshopper. They’re loud now, too, and very energetic, their heads fuzzed out with downy fluff.
5) Looked out a moment ago to see a doe and twin fawns on the lawn. I knew we had one fawn in the area (and maybe it belongs to a different doe), but now we have twins as well, stilt legs stepping high, sliding in the wet grass, running back and forth in the rain.
6) I’m lucky I don’t have to go through all of this shit with my mom alone. My sister and niece are right beside me on this one. We’re all losing our minds, but honing our appreciation of black humor to a fine edge in order to stay sane. (“Oh,” says Mom in speaking of her elder brother Darrell. “Is he dead again?” Sad? Sure. But funny as hell, too.)
7) There’s a wonderful place I go to twice a day to walk Holly. Afternoons can be a bit crowded depending upon my timing, but mornings are glorious. The path wends through a freshwater marsh and each morning, as the sun rises, I see blue heron, deer, turtles, all sorts of birds, the occasional muskrat or beaver. In the afternoon, the snakes emerge to sun themselves on the path’s hot grit. There have been reported sightings of a bobcat (not by me, but I’m hopeful).
8) My family and friends are holding their own. My mom’s illness could be so different (and so much worse). Two of my nephews, who battle daily with Cystic Fibrosis, are doing very well. A niece has survived divorce to emerge (bloodied, but unbowed) on the other side. My sister is a 5+ year cancer survivor. We have two new babies in the family, one of whom just celebrated her first birthday. Several friends are battling their demons and making progress.
9) This year I will get to see not one, not two, but three of my former Coast Guard “adoptees” marry their sweethearts. One marriage has already occurred with much joy and celebration. The next happens at the end of August, and the last at the end of October. Plus, a dear nephew is also tying the knot with his lady-love in a couple of weeks. So much joy.
10) I am here and alive, able to care for myself and those I love, able to think and change and grow and learn. Able to give Phyllis (the inner voice who runs me down) her walking papers and bring in the “new girl in town,” Frances, who spends her time telling Phyllis to shut the heck up and guards my back against her evil words. (Yeah, okay, so it sounds like split personality disorder; it isn’t, but as long as it works for me, well, it works for me.)
Ten seems like a good place to stop, though I undoubtedly could think of a few more blessings to add to the list. Take a moment or two today to find yours. They’re there. They may be small, so small that you have to hunt for them, but they’re there.