I'm writing a second blog these days, one that is more personal. As a part of my coping and healing process, I've started writing letters to my father. I kept writing them in my head, but wanted to record them in a less sieve-like way for days when my memories have faded. Obviously, I'm not going to forget the important things, but there are so many tiny little things that I don't want to lose.
It's been a rough ride around here lately. In addition to a host of other things, my beloved husband threw his back out very badly; he has been laid up for 2.5 weeks and on bedrest for 12 days. I'm not looking to throw myself a pity party, but yesterday all of the frustrations of everything stacked up and eventually I had a miniature meltdown and vented my frustration on twitter. I posted this:
Dear Universe, Could you lay the heck off me for a couple of weeks? I'm not sure how much more frustration and stress I can take. xoxo Bon
Then I gathered myself together, took some time, scooped the cats' litter boxes and went to bed. When I woke up this morning and checked in on my stream, I had received the following @reply from the user: The_UN1VERSE:
I'll See What I Can Do. But You're Doing Fine So Far.
This may sound dumb, but it was really actually helpful. Just that little piece of random encouragement set me up for a great and productive day. I have no idea if it's a real person or a bot behind the account. If it's a real person, they dealt me a huge measure of kindness with this one silly post, and for that I thank them. I'll try to pay that kindness forward.
Surprisingly hard work. We're about halfway done, then it dries for 48 hours and then we put on a new coat of stain/sealant. It needs it.
I learned how to play cribbage when I was fairly young. My parents were friends with a couple who had two boys about my age; they would bring the boys over, we'd have dinner and then the grownups would drink beer and play cribbage while the kids watched a movie or played together. The real treat during these cribbage nights was that sometimes we were allowed to sit with the grownups and help count points. For those not familiar with the game, you get points for combining the cards in your hand or crib in different ways. It's a great learning tool for kids--counting, addition, pattern recognition--all wrapped up in the fun of a game.
In college I spent many hours with one young man, forging a friendship initially based on little more than a shared love of the game. The board pictured above was a gift from him to me and it's one of my prized possessions. I've taught my husband how to play now. Tonight, reminding him of the somewhat complex rules I was filled with happy memories. It's easy to let the good things take a backseat to daily stress and frustrations and after a month particularly full of them, I'm working hard to embrace the little joys. And maybe I'll be playing a lot more cribbage than normal.
Cat grass. the BobCat likes to eat plants, so I planted some just for him, that are safe for him to eat.
I've been doing a bit of navel gazing. About growing and changing and how that impacts friendships but also how that impacts how I understand myself. Earlier tonight I sent a text message to someone who was once very close to me; a friend that I had not had any contact with in at least a year, and had not had a real conversation with in double that amount of time. I recently found out that he had become a father and was devastated--not by the birth of his son--but by the fact that our once tightly knit friendship had deteriorated so far. He responded to the text message with one of his own, and then a phone call. The call was somewhat awkward; he only had a short break in his schedule to chat and neither of us seemed to really know where to start to fill in the missing information. Eventually we were laughing over an event that happened nearly eight years ago, one that involved an epic case of stubborn on my part. As we laughed about it, I assured him that my stubborn streak is still alive and kicking and he laughed and told me he couldn't imagine me any other way. Eventually we both made promises that we'd continue to try to reconnect and hung up the phone.
Our conversation got me to thinking about the struggle I've gone through in the past few years to understand myself as the person I am now. One morning I seemed to awake and find myself happily married but unhappy with my graduate program of study, and generally unable to get out of my own way because of anxiety and depression. I had no idea how to interact with the person I was, the person whose goals had changed from "career driven workaholic person with a PLAN" to "happily married and mostly domestic with no idea what I want to spend my life doing." I thought that my major struggle was because I had fundamentally changed as a person but I realized tonight that that was not the case. Instead, my struggle was with accepting the person I've always been. I'm not as stubborn as I used to be, I try to think more carefully and speak less hastily (although I still have an awful lot to say) but it's taken me a long time to realize that this Bon, the one I am today, has always been there. She was just overshadowed by the Bon I thought I needed to be. It's nice not to feel trapped by a box of my own making anymore, there's a lot more room for me to grow.