Thanks to everyone who contacted me about my last post. It meant more than you know. I wasn't fishing for the compliments I got--just some reassurance that I wasn't crazy--but they were certainly appreciated.
I was already starting to feel better by the time I finished the post, but felt like I still wanted to get that out there while the mood was in my mind. We can be so self-selective in social media that it can border on dishonesty. I don't want to imply by not discussing negative things in my life that there aren't any. I have good days and bad days just like anybody else. My house is never quite clean, we opt to just grab a pizza for dinner more often then I'd like to admit to, we don't regulate our kids' screen time, and the dog has started pooping in the house again for reasons unknown. Some kind of oasis of family perfection we are not.
But I am definitely out of my funk and ready to tackle things in a more productive manner. You know the old adage about how the surest cure for hypochondria is a real disease? Well my husband became suddenly ill, and there is nothing like a real problem (and some vomit) to put non-problems in perspective. (He's doing fine now but it wasn't pretty there for a day.) The things that were bringing me down aren't real problems, just low points in a larger process. I was wallowing in the empty half of the glass, I guess. Because it's not about that I can't find an agent and that my violins could be better, it's that I get to write and that I will improve my violins. Yes, the weight thing is frustrating but it's also sometimes stupid to turn down pie. There are people in my own zip code suffering food insecurity and my 'problem' is too much pie? Yeah, I'm over myself for now. Life is too short to choose to be sad.
Moods are interesting, though.
I wonder if there was some hormone component in there. I had a talk with Aden over a year ago warning her that as her body matures she's going to suffer a bit of a hormone circus, and that sometimes can make you feel emotions that don't match reality. I told her if she found herself feeling sad or angry to not be too quick to assign an outside cause. Sometimes we're just sad for no reason. And you know what? Aden is actually pretty in tune with that idea. There are moments when she retreats to her room or a corner of the couch and seems quieter than usual, and when I ask her if she's okay there are times she tells me she's a little down but nothing is wrong, not to worry. I think we need to honor sadness sometimes, and just go ahead and be sad.
So thanks for supporting me in a moment of sad. The irony being that with all that support it was impossible to stay that way.
So here's a middle ground to think about--something that makes me happy and sad at the same time:
Right before Thanksgiving when we were cleaning up the house for guests we came across some old videotapes. There was footage of Aden as a baby doing tummy time and wiggling around on the kitchen floor and wincing while having her first taste of solid food. Then we moved on to Mona as a baby and Aden as the big sister but still in diapers. (There was some confusion about where Quinn was in all this, and I had to keep saying there was no Quinn back then, as impossible as it is for any of us to imagine at this point.)
Anyway, the bit of footage I keep coming back to in my mind is of Aden at about two and a half years old sharing a chair with my grandma in her house back in Ohio. I miss that house and that chair. And I can't even describe how desperately I miss my grandma. But there was Aden, cute as a button, all blue eyes and wispy blond hair, tucked in next to my gram who was wearing her very grandmotherly long nightgown and looking pleased to have her arm around this tiny person I made.
Aden is holding a little bowl from Germany that is filled with tiny rocks. The two of them are talking about whatever little things toddlers and their great-grandmothers talk about, when Aden decides she should pour all the rocks into my grandmother's lap.
And my grandmother smiles.
It's not just any smile. It's a smile with no hesitation or flash of disapproval about the dumping of rocks in her lap. She is instantly amused and charmed, and Aden is serious as she goes about her business of examining the rocks. That moment is all love and simplicity and it makes me both tear up and laugh.
My grandmother always believed in me, and everything about her felt like a smile. I don't get that smile anymore. But your kind words reminded me of it. Thanks again, and thanks for reading.