Noticing.SixtySeven

Of impossible accounting, the teacher strike, and why is there egg nog at the store.

  1. Stirring before the alarm, 5am, deep in the duvet, I roll over and over, too cozy to get out, too busy to stay.
  2. Letting go of the need to know.
  3. Time stops when I see the number. Is this what I get for bragging that it’s His math that keeps us afloat? Did I ruin it by saying it aloud? I squeeze my eyes shut against tears and panic. No. That’s not how it works. I lean in and choose what my eyes can’t see over what they can.
  4. It’s a 2-minute conversation instead of a 2-day freeze out. The difference is we both feel safe.
  5. We try to predict how long the strike will last, each of us with varying opinions about unions, but we unanimously agree that the job deserves more respect, more support, more pay.
  6. There it is again.
  7. Black Forest cake and Scripture and art outside my comfort zone.
  8. It is too early for egg nog, Walmart.
  9. The more I step into living my core values, the more they’re challenged.
  10. You’d think I’d stop eating so much leftover frosting that it makes me sick every single time I bake a cake. You’d be wrong.

Noticing.SixtySix

Of unfair frustration, keeping some things for myself, and getting used to help.

  1. The number on the scale hasn’t changed. Just my feelings about it. Constant vigilance.
  2. My frustration is not fair. It’s a tough gig, and it’s still new to him, and I forget.
  3. Nothing good ever comes from being in a hurry.
  4. The sky is so dark with rain that the lanterns are lit on the wraparound porch, giving the house’s gingerbreading an eerie glow beneath its bower of trees in the grey air. It’s the sort of lo-fi aesthetic I love seeing on Instagram. It breaks up the parade of faces and opinions. I consider getting out my phone to capture and share it, but I take a mental snapshot instead and file it away. A little beauty just for me.
  5. How much of our lives are spent waiting? How much is actually worth waiting for?
  6. Interruption after interruption, each time an opportunity to practice grace. Even if it’s annoying.
  7. I refuse to be triggered by trust anymore.
  8. The gravity of what I’m tasked with hits me all at once. I well up in a cubicle at the back of the library, a mix of gratitude and anxiety.
  9. Barometer headaches are the land version of the bends.
  10. She starts to cry because I didn’t let her throw the chopped mint into the sauce. I pause to reflect before shushing her hurt feelings. Why didn’t I? “I’m sorry, baby—I forgot. I’m not used to having a helper; I’ve always done it by myself, so I just did what I always do. Next time, I’ll do better.” She smiles. Things are different now.

Noticing.SixtyFive

Of telling stories the right away, avoiding the mirror, and sniffing a baby head.

  1. Get up. Just get up.
  2. The scent of nature getting drowsy.
  3. It should be easy, but it comes hard. So much to say yet nothing at all.
  4. I write out half the story before I realize it doesn’t belong there. I move it elsewhere for another time. Or maybe never. Maybe some stories have to be told in person, one-on-one at quiet tables with hushed voices and sparkling eyes.
  5. Beautiful angles. Ugly gait. Two more weeks.
  6. The Return of No Nap McGee: This Time It’s (Straight Up Willful, Not at All) Personal
  7. I casually mention that I can’t look in the mirror because of the state of my hair. I hide the full truth in a laugh because I feel stupid for caring, but when I see his horrified expression, I realize the truth accidentally leaked out anyway.
  8. The experiment.
  9. When I finally hold her, there’s a split second of worry. Will I sniff this baby’s head and get The Urge? But I rock and bounce her, talk to her uncomprehending face, and nothing stirs beyond auntie love. Whew.
  10. I hate it when I hurt my own feelings.

Noticing.SixtyFour

Of welcoming a hot flash (not mine), appreciating the nice, and questioning hunger.

  1. Diurnal.
  2. I make hummus in the dark and write my soul a reminder that it’s different now. It’s okay to falter in my vulnerability when faced with an old trigger. It no longer has power; I’ve taken it back.
  3. The heat is a welcome embrace on my bare arms and legs after the chill of the last few days. I soak it up as if I could store it up for the coming winter.
  4. We say goodbye with gifts and letters and hugs but no tears. It’s not that kind of relationship (though it should be). I whisper prayers of thanks as we walk home for the final time, grateful for the years of solace and community, and close the chapter.
  5. I’m developing a great appreciation for things that are nice as they become more scarce in a world saturated with the politics of pain.
  6. Ring around the rosy.
  7. Hurricane-force wind leaps from still skies, driving white sheets of rain sideways across the city. I think of Florida as she sits inside the open back door and watches and listens and sings to the storm.
  8. I would’ve chosen by fear before. This time, I choose by love.
  9. I’ve grown enough to ask the question, “What am I actually hungry for?” but not enough to know the answer.
  10. Bedtime, dishes, cat, trash, laundry, jammies, ablutions, cat again, noticing. Waiting.

Noticing.SixtyThree

Of early wake-up calls, big feelings all around, and the smell of temptation.

  1. 5, 5:30, 6. It’s getting harder to get up without the sun, but I’m determined to preserve the silent, still hours that ground and fill me before everyone else’s day begins.
  2. She wakes up an hour early. I make her a tea “like daddy” and wrestle through the rest of Matthew Henry’s thoughts on Malachi as she plays not as quietly as she promised, rebuking my anger at the intrusion. This time—her presence near me, not the study—is precious.
  3. Big emotions today.
  4. She smiles around the very anxiety that angers her as she tells me the story, the trauma still fresh. I offer sympathy and practical suggestions that I know will be received, lacking the boldness to say more.
  5. Cat nap with the cat.
  6. We hide together under the blankets for half an hour, then make a fort in the living room to watch Hilda. She wants to snuggle but also doesn’t want me to touch her. Such a grownup feeling.
  7. Homemade bread you’re not allowed to eat straight from the oven is a special sort of torment.
  8. Tears spring up as sharp and sudden as if I’d been slapped across the face. But I rally against the rising masochistic voices, dragging each one into the light where it cannot stand all the shadows have dissolved. A fitting prelude to the night’s lesson.
  9. Reconciliation in the dark.
  10. I am allowed to have my feelings, but my feelings are not allowed to have me.