Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Thoughts on 33

I'm another year older today, and more importantly, it's almost the end of the academic year (which is how I really measure my time, having never really left school).  So maybe it's time for some reflection, because this has been one heck of a doozy.

Eric and I have been married almost six years!  That seems like forever, and also no time at all.  You're married to someone for six years and you think you know them, what they think, how they think, what they want.  And you end up being wrong because you stopped listening, filling in their blanks for them.

Like how I use the impersonal "you" there?  What I really mean is "I."  I was doing that, do that, because I've been married for six years and think I know it all, and tend to operate in shorthand anyway.  So that's my big life lesson in the old marriage arena.  Stay together long enough, and you find out you've married a whole bunch of different people, who inhabit one body but slowly reveal themselves to you in new and fascinating forms over time.  I've been taking it for granted, had fit Eric into some neat little boxes.  But, um, surprise.  He was never really in those boxes to begin with, and now, as we're learning to communicate in new ways, shows me the boxes were wrong anyway.

We're also in new bodies.  Bodies that are getting a little older.  The hair at my temples is completely gray, and when I pull it back into a ponytail, a swath of shiny silver is revealed.  My knees and shoulders--which I recklessly abused playing college sports--are creaking and painful and might need surgery.  50% of the time, a good sneeze and I've peed my pants.  The creases under my eyes are permanently purple, even if I do get caught up on sleep.  My hands are getting a little crepey.  My belly bulges.

I've been fighting against this all year, mourning the gone tautness of my twenties.  I think that's fine to do that, to mourn the passing of certain parts of yourself.  I think I can move in to new ways of being and seeing myself because I took some time to feel disappointed that my body is acting and looking a little older than I expect it to.  I'm not saying I'm thrilled about the creaky aches and pains, or that I'll stop dying my hair anytime soon.  But I don't feel so panicky about all of it, either.  Kicking ass at the gym helps the self-esteem, too.  I'm still strong, and I like that.

And the girls?  Well.  The girls.  They're shocking and amazing and incredible.  Nolie is incredibly athletic and jovial.  Her best trick right now is to stand stock still, then shoot both legs out in front of her, landing with a gigantic thud on her butt.  Then she laughs uncontrollably.  She is completely fierce in the world, and also completely tender and open.  She'll dive headfirst off the slide at the park, but always knows where I am, coming to me, demanding "Hug!" before racing off again.  She'll still fall asleep in the rocker with me occasionally.  She knows an incredible number of words and can feed herself.  There is a thin halo of brown hair that wisps down over her forehead and ears, and she glows with beauty.  She has incredible, deep, brown eyes, and my heart contracts every time I look at her.  What a spirit.

And Addie.  Addie who just turned four and seems so wise, older than her years, but who is still a little kid and often shy and afraid, too.  She understands so much, teaches me about science and kindness and about how I (often mistakenly) categorize the world.  She is funny, and already understands puns and sarcasm.  She commands my complete attention, and rebels when I can't or won't give it to her.  She moves haphazardly through space, often bumping into things, but her movements have a lovely grace to them, too.  She is knock-kneed.  She is solemn.  She is terrified of the smoke alarm in her room.  She needs more of my time.  She is so lovely it sometimes takes my breath away.  Sometimes we battle fiercely, and then collapse into each other.  She is my own spirit, halved in two, and also completely herself and separate from me. 

Such strange bonds.  So different.  Equally strong.

I'm also overwhelmed by the incredible friendships that have sustained me through all this, even when I've been out of contact, or hasty, or a jerk.  Eric, who has stayed with me through this most difficult of times.  All of the incredible women in my life who call or show up at my door or who whisk me to Florida (yes, I'm going) when I most need it.  I feel like saying I don't deserve them, but they wouldn't accept that.  They just stay in, hunkered down with me.  Immense gratitude for that, and for my family members, who are locked in their own happinesses and struggles, but who think of me every day.

Work.  Work, work, work.  What an incredibly difficult year it has been, trying to figure myself out, what it is I want, who I am.  So many mistakes made.  Errors in judgment.  Things wrongly understood.  But I feel like I've come out the other side, and am much better for it.  The path seems laid out before me now, a flow of creativity established.  I have moments where I am still filled with fear and regret for taking all this on.  I wonder if I can do it.  I wonder if I will feel sorry I did it later.  But louder is the voice that says the work is right, that I have these things that need to be said, that might have impact.  There is an alignment between belief, action, and work that feels correct.

I suppose that's enough for now.  I promise to post more in the coming weeks, now that the semester is almost over, and I'll write more about these kids, who blow my mind every five minutes.  I welcome in a calmer year, an easier one, more focused.  I'm sure with more lessons and challenges, too.  In invite the spirit of my ten days in India to diffuse more of my life.  I welcome in peace, calm, and purpose.

I let.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful, beautiful post, Babe. You are such an amazing woman--so lovely, so brilliant, so funny, and so needed on this planet. We are ALL lucky to have you.