The last couple of weeks have been a lesson in...uh, how to stay sane when life throws you a curve ball...then a fast ball...then hits you in the gut...you get it, right?
But I cannot say the last few weeks have been boring -- oh, no, not in the least. They have included trips to ER's, primary care doctors, and cardiologists while the everyday duties of being a wife, mom, nana, daughter, and person whose titles include "self-employed" go on. The reno continues at not lightening speed, but also not a snail's pace. It's more like a constant hum. Every day something is done to move the project forward, and the closing of the Hog Mountain project happens this week, and for that I am so excited! Another door has flung wide open, as the last one finally closes. My personal life, on the other hand, is a speeding train these days and I'm just tryin' to keep it on the track.
As my eldest daughter and her family cruised back into town after a week at the beach, they came home to mail collected, plants watered, and pretty much everything in order, as most hope upon their return from a trip. The family had gathered at their house for dinner and for nana to love on the grandbabies (I instructed them specifically before they left NOT to give any kisses meant for me to their gaga with whom they were traveling, but I have a sneaking suspicion the kisses flowed!) Good thing about babies, they have enough love to go around for everyone! As dinner was being prepared, our 4-year-old stirred the pot and stirred it well -- and I'm not talking about the meal on the stove. It was certainly not her fault, but she managed to scare the patookies (is that a word?) out of us all. This part of the state has received a good bit of rain lately which we needed and, much to some kids' delight, produced wonderful puddles to splash in, which my little one did in her hot pink rain boots as her dad weeded a few feet away. Much to our horror, she was bitten by a snake in that puddle but, thanks be to God in heaven, it was not poisonous. However, we did not know this until later, exactly 10-paramedics-in-the-house, a-trip-to-the-ER, and a near-heart-failure later. A soundly sleeping child is a blessing, but even more so when they're tucked into their bed after a scare like that. Thank God for ordinary days, when there are no scares, no accidents, and life feels pretty boring! Later in the next week or so, we would meet the paramedics at the ER with my elderly dad who was hallucinating from a new medication, seeing snakes (those darn snakes!), people in trees, and other such delights. His toe even fell off in the process...or so he says. To finish up this round of "crazy encounters of the weirdest kind," I wound up at the cardiologist's office for some heart-related questions. Maybe it was the result of the scary preceding events, who knows. But this old ticker doesn't need such excitement these days. Thankfully all is well for the time being, and life has returned to the norm at least for the here and now.
Meanwhile, the renovation moves along and, unless you were there from the very beginning, you cannot fully appreciate the present state of things. To most who would happen upon our tiny little 125-yr-old Georgian cottage, they would think we were trying to put her out of her misery. And indeed we are! But she is a hot mess right now, with walls coming down, old brick fireplaces being unearthed along with a few petrified critters, and piles of old wood lying around. But it is surely the means to an end and, just like a woman takes on masks, creams, and sometimes even mud to purify her complexion, it requires making it ugly first before you can make it pretty, right?! Most of my work right now is in the planning stages, attempting to capture a solid vision, sketch out drawings, and then brainstorming on how to make it all happen. When I've been on the jobsite lately, it's to walk around, stop and take it all in, and think about what comes next. I spend a lot of time just staring at the rooms when I'm there, working on scale and fitting everything in. And when I look and think, I make comparisons.
As the walls have come down and the spaces are being opened up, I've reflected on how much that very act reminds me of people. One particular wall in the house was covered with layers and layers of stuff -- wood, old linoleum, anything the owners could find back in the day to make it weather-proof I suppose. Aren't we as human beings the same? We keep covering ourselves with anything we can find to protect us from the harshness of hurts that might come our way. Why love when love can surely bring us pain? But then one day we wake up to find that we are not only insulated from the dangers that might overtake us, but also to the people who surround us. We have built walls that divide. But if we ever acquire the fortitude it takes to tear those walls down, we are able to breathe again, to experience freedom from the things that keep us bound, and for the first time in a long time began to get back to the bare bones of who we really are. And just like the old house, we begin to see the light coming through and, let me tell you, it's a good feeling indeed.
Whether you are renovating a house, rearing little ones, sparring with teens, caring for elderly parents, or enduring a job that wears you down, I hope you won't build walls that you'll have to one day tear down. Keep life simple and free and real, focused on the things that matter. For me that is family, friends, relationships, and the things that have lasting value.
Like the gift of a super-uneventful, totally-unexciting, no trip-to-the-ER....beautifully ordinary day.
Glorious light flooding through from the front door as walls are coming down. And that fireplace!
Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.
- Helen Keller
Posted by CC
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