The possible

It has been a week for thinking about the big things.

Elections ask everyone to put themselves on the map, for one thing.

For another, a co-worker from my previous job died in a car wreck Saturday — sudden, shocking, and really tragic. John was a person who loved and lived life with enthusiasm, humor, and a boundless belief in the possible.

And, both of Alden’s grandpas (my dad and Josh’s dad) went under the knife over the past two weeks. I am so thankful they are both doing well in recovery, and so glad the care thgey are receiving is helping them live their lives as fully as possible as long as possible.

Over the past few days, I have found myself imagining possible future retrospectives… Writing the story of my life, a hundred different ways, looking back, before it has happened.

“And that’s when I really focused in on my career…”

“And that’s when I switched to a macrobiotic diet and quit drinking wine…”

“And that’s when I knew I needed to go back to school…”

“That’s about the time I started getting really serious about music…”

“That’s around the time I quit the band…”

“That’s when I knew I just needed to be home…”

“That’s when work really started to take off…”

To be clear, none of the above are true statements, at least not from where I sit today. But they are all possibles…  Stories I am trying on, seeing if they fit, or if I can imagine the me they would fit, looking back, years from now.

If it was as simple as “knowing what you want” I would KNOW.

I have always, always had spoons in a lot of pots. As a teenager I was overcommitted beyond belief but that felt RIGHT– no one pushed me to be that busy, I relished it. And always, a combination of straight and creative. Studies, and theater, and speech and debate and orchestra and environmental actions and more theater and and and.

And ever since– I have always said I am fortunate to not have to choose. Not have to choose between work I love and which inspires me, and music which feeds me in other ways… creative, ecstatic, connectedness.

And, since Alden’s arrival work has been in a particular place. BUSY, yes. At times, extremely so, with travel and all that. But still: in its place–  in a compartment. Not a passion. And that has been, really, fine. I have had so many amazing opportunities and been exposed to all kinds of things. And my family, and music, could be the emotional centers, in that order.

So, over the past few weeks, I have felt a rekindling of the fire that drove my work life for a lot of years. It’s so good to feel it again! So amazing to realize that yes, YES, the care and education of little ones is in fact something I care DEEPLY about — and not just MINE!  I had wondered if I would still find toddlers amazing and interesting after the most compelling toddler I ever knew had passed that stage. The answer is YES, and actually, more so. Having known Alden through infancy, toddlerhood, three… I am in awe of those stages in life more than ever before.

And like, that’s all super-great and “yay, worklife satisfaction” and all, but there’s a problem: Things I’m Passionate About: Family, Music, AND Work???

I’m not quite sure there’s room in here for three.

(Oops, I keep forgetting….. “Me-and-my-health.” Dangit, an also-ran, yet again.)

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3 thoughts on “The possible

  1. You have written so much feeling and honesty about a subject that poses an eternal balancing act for every woman I know whether they are single parents or parenting with a partner or, for me, in a nuclear family as I knew it growing up. For the women I have the pleasure of knowing well are many faceted and their work is now or has been one of those facets. And the item most often placed last or looked over entirely is their own health.

    As your mother-in-law, I know you are doing an amazing job. My wish for you would be that you were better able to remember your own health a bit sooner and more regularly as a young woman. For I am at the stage of my life of looking back with less time to look forward, nature and human life expectancy being what they are.

    The thing is I’ve had some moments in my life when I was able to remember my own health. And the amazing secret of that is that when I was able to do so, I was better able to keep everything in balance. And so I would sail along for awhile but gradually lose my bearings. My hope for you is that you can find your bearings and stay the course with fewer side trips or justifications as to why you have altered your journey’s path, than I, my friends and family have had to hear from me over my life to date.

    I truly believe you will be able to do this difficult task with more success than I. At the same time, be as loving of yourself and your shortcomings as you are of others and theirs. Lovingly always, Sue

  2. Sue— Thanks for such a kind and thoughtful and real and loving letter here…I know what you are saying… It’s a conundrum (from where I sit)…. yet I have felt the domino effect of putting myself, if not first, then at least a lot higher on the to-do-list. Love you—-

  3. Grace, reading your words and contemplating your family gives me a peace and joy I can never adequately describe to you. My own life and insights and philosophy can be summed up by the earliest words ascribed to Jesus in the first Gospel written, Mark (1:15-16) Forgive me for any preaching this sounds like but the words are:
    “The present moment is the right time, the Kingdom of God is WITHIN you; change the way you think about reality and believe THIS “good news”
    My “present moments” with you, throughout my life and your present moments with Josh and Alden certainly constitute some of our most heavenly memories.
    Dad

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