Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tender Mercies

I've been feeling bogged down.  A lot.  For a long time.  I catch little glimmers of my old self in good moments, then it disappears in the slogging of our long days.  There are a lot of things in our life that I'm not terribly thrilled about, that I feel like I've been patient about for a long time and just don't want to be patient about anymore.  But patience is required for the only realistic paths over those hurdles.  But some days I fall prey to feeling like not only am I not making headway, but am actually going backwards.  I really hate how much I've allowed circumstances to dictate how I feel, and, even worse, how I treat my husband and kids.

The last couple of weeks, its culminated in resenting how "ugly" the town we live in is, and a terrible, aching homesicknesses for my grandmothers and for my days as a stay-at-home mom.   Life has always had its challenges, but the fact that I was able to be at home full time with my kids balanced out a lot of things for me.  Sending them all off to public school, friends' houses and Head Start so that I can get in to school and labs has been hard for me.

So yesterday morning, I went for a quick jog before school, and a song that always reminds me of my grandma came up on my iPod, and I looked up.  This is what it looked like in front of me:

This is not unusual.  It looks like this here most of the time.  Sure, town looks like an old man with some hard miles on him, but its in a beautiful place.  Clear air, big blue skies, puffy white clouds, conifer trees, a creek or two.  Its gorgeous.

I was cleaning up the back yard, and, buried in the mess of volunteer roses, dandelions and overgrown grass and raspberry bushes that passes for a yard, and in late October over a mile high, I found a little patch of violets.  I hadn't seen any before in the two years we've lived in this rental, but there they were.  When I was little, there were violets all over my Grandma's yard, and Michael and I would pick them by the tiny handfuls for Grandma, and she would indulge us by filling old, cleaned out butter tubs with a little water and we'd stick the violets in them. 

The same day, I got some change at the store, and ended up with a handful of centennial and state quarters--which my other grandma collected.

Normally I get home lateish on Thursday afternoons, but was able to switch my lab time this week so that I was home by lunch today.  On days when I get home early, I try to go spend some time in Keira's Head Start classroom.  The kids were on the playground when I got there, and she immediately ran over and into my arms and said, "I want to go home with you."  When I explained that I was there to spend some time helping in her classroom, she said, "No, I just want to go home with you."  Her teachers said she hadn't been herself all day: she hadn't been singing with them, hadn't been dancing and had generally been quiet.  She said she didn't feel sick and she wasn't warm.  For reference, this is fairly typical Keira:

She's independent and confident, you can almost always see those dimples, she's always laughing and singing and pretending.  She's almost always happy, and you almost always know it.

I signed her out and took her to the car, and she had already perked up by the time I strapped her in.  I reminded her that I didn't have school tomorrow (the first week day I haven't been gone in a couple of months) and she lit up.  By the time we got home, she was back to her old self.  She's snuggled up to me, singing along to a favorite movie.

About six more weeks and I'm done with school for a month.  I think that first day after my last final, the kids are all sleeping in, no one is going to school, and we're all going to spend the day watching Christmas movies and making crafts.  Just because we can.

Life is good, and I know that in my head.  I need to take care to feel it in my heart more often.

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