We've moved into November, real fall, the kind with long brown days and freezing nights and sodden clumps of mush where we didn't manage to rake all the leaves before the snow fell. The kids have had the barfing sickness, mostly in our bedroom, which means that our once new rug is no longer safe to do pushups on. The mountains are brilliant white and, thanks to the advent of Daylight Spending Time, my morning run happens at sunrise, which is a beautiful thing. We are as crazy as elves (and not because we're planning ahead for the buying season. As IF.)
The news from home is bad, and I have been exerting a lot of mental energy to reset my expectations re my mother and the future. Some days I am a mess, but mostly I am melancholy but serene, even happy. The kids and their day-to-day emergencies keep me constantly in the present; the mostly up tenor of their days makes mine up, too. One of my holds at the library comes in, or I get a new idea about a story that I'm s-l-l-l-o-w-l-y working on, or the kids have a good day at school, or my morning run is white and pink and beautiful, and I feel happy, like the world is going well, more or less. Then I remember: no, it is so, so not.
Other times, I will even be sanguine about the so-not-ness. My mom feels fine, after all. I could pick up the phone and call her right now, except that she'd probably be out for a walk with my dad. Things are at-this-moment okay, and new therapies offer so much promise. You hear all the time about remissions that last for decades--maybe it will in this case. Why not?
And then I lie down at the end of the day, and I do that calming thing where I spread my mind over all the people in my life and mentally tuck them in and smooth their foreheads, make sure they're okay--all my chickens under one roof, even if that roof is the wide-open sky of the Midwest--and my hand catches: no. Not everyone is okay. Not at all.
Or I will be fine until I come across a calendar, and my mind is forced into dangerous places, like This Time Next Year. Or the work meeting I go to this spring in Minnesota--how will things be then? Or the baseball meet Si has in June--what will conditions be at that time? Or the 2013 work meeting. Or--and then I shut it down, quick. Because I can't imagine that. No. Better to think about the end of the month, the plans we have to ski in a couple of weeks, the benefits form that has to be turned in next week, the fish I need to remember to pick up for dinner, the email I have to write.
And then I turn to the nearest kid and hug them hard, until they can squirm away.