Monday, January 11, 2010

The Winter of My Something

I started this blog with the intention of writing regularly, of forcing myself into a routine, or practicing quickness the same way that Hannah and Sarah had to learn to draw fast when they took art classes in college.  I remember them (perfectionists and gifted artists, both) showing us sketchbooks of line drawings, created in 20, 30, 60 seconds.  You could see the progression of those drawings as they described their feelings the first time the instructor said, Turn the page.  They both said all they could think of was, "What?  Are you kidding me?  I haven't even made a mark!"  And yet, like a flip book marking the sands of time and experience, you saw three lines become four and seven become a human body, and by the end, you realized that they had learned to see with new eyes.  
Right now I feel like a new student, alternating between, "I don't know where to start" and "Wait, can't I finish that?"  The holidays were a wonderful time to be with my children, a space in which  I thrive because it is the life I know how to lead, the place I am most practiced, see the best.  And yet, that life is changing.  Daniel, Hannah and Mary Glen have headed back to their own lives and while I still have Rayner and Matty here, I feel the quickness in my heart, the instructor saying, Turn the page, and my own reluctance to do so because there are so many blank pages and how will I fill them all?  What if I don't do them well?  
How welcome was my reprieve.  
Matty had started looking a little funky to me the Monday before New Year's eve and by January 2 when we went to urgent care I knew that he had either strep or mono.  After a two hour wait, the strep test was negative and Dr."Hey I can still get my MD if I sleep through the diagnostics class" determined that Matty was a) allergic, hence the swelling eyelids b) viral, hence the sore throat and c) stressed, hence the pain when he breathed deeply, caused by none other than that chronic afflicter of teenagers--acid reflux syndrome.  We walked out of urgent care with instructions for Zyrtec and Zantac (maybe the guy woke up at the end of class when they were describing, in alphabetical order, common OTC remedies) and the thought bubble careening above my head, "There is no way in hell I am paying for that visit."
On Wednesday, Snow Day #1, we learned it was mono.  After a couple of internal conversations where I debated the merits of going to medical school based solely on my ability to diagnose via the internet and mother's intuition, I abandoned my daydreams for thoughts of what we'd have for dinner and headed out, a la Pa Ingalls to forage us some food.  I would not leave the house again until Sunday afternoon.
It was weird, having that much time off, with one sick kid and no desire to leave onaccounta the below zero temperatures.  We slept in and watched movies and on Friday Matty started watching Lost Season 1 and by Saturday, all Rayner and I had to hear was the Hulu "the show is starting now" sound and we'd come running like a couple of Pavlov's dogs.  On Sunday we were struggling to accomplish the basic tasks of life, and so compelling was the narrative that in emails to Mary Glen and Daniel, I told them that I feared I could not wrest myself from the computer if I were summoned to a deathbed.
And yet...
I took down the tree yesterday, made plans for a conference call and determined that no matter how navel-gazey or ridiculous, I would post my attempt at a line drawing today.  In one episode of Lost, John Locke said, "Everyone gets a new life on this island."
Perhaps the same can be said for a new year.  
It's not much, but you gotta start somewhere.

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