20 June 2013

Twenty-five Years

Last Sunday, I celebrated 23 years married and 25 years clean.

"If I had a blog," the Captain said, "I would probably write a post about this big anniversary so your readers could have something new to read on the bus as they commute to and from their stressful jobs in the city. You know, if I had a blog."

I agreed. Twenty-five years clean is significant. Amazing, if you look at the chunk of time as a whole. Inconceivable, when one is newly detoxed and rehabbing at a facility housed on the grounds of a mental institution. Daunting, when you're clutching a styrofoam cup of bad coffee in the back of a smoky 12-Step room.

I imagine this is why time is broken down into smaller bits. What seems insurmountable in the long run can be managed for a minute, an hour, and eventually, the twenty-four hours in a day. Before you know it, life's moments become years.

I follow two calendars: the Gregorian Year and the School Year. The School Year is a little like pregnancy-it lasts nine months, there is great anticipation, struggle, and pain, and at the end you just want it to be over. Nevertheless, in June--as with all my births--there is sadness mixed with joy, a profound sense of time passing, a finality untempered by the shimmer of hope that softens the blow of the true year's end.

This School Year has been particularly grueling. My mother's health deteriorated rapidly in September, she passed away the day after Thanksgiving, everyone got some version of the flu in December, Five's anxiety bloomed in March, he was hospitalized in April, and Two had his appendix removed in May. If ever there was reason to celebrate the end of June, this would be it.

And yet...

Once you know that minutes become hours and hours become days and days become years, what is a blessing in recovery can be a curse in life. Grinding through, gutting it out, pushing on--these have been my survival skills this year, and in the beginning of my recovery it's how I stayed clean. But now I know it's no way to live.Time is a gift taken for granted, full of moments to be savored, even when they're painful. This School Year has left my heart sore and my soul battered, but I wouldn't wish any of it away.

 Because twenty-five Junes ago I couldn't even imagine it.

03 June 2013

Five, Farms, and Fun

This week, two people told me they were interested in reading my blog. I panicked. I realized I didn't want their first impression of the Diaries to be my last post where I basically yelled "FUCK YOU, AND DON'T EVER BOTHER ME AGAIN!" before slamming the door in your face.

I recommended they start reading the entries from 2011 and I came here to write something a little lighter.

My mood is much improved this week due to two things: my sister Erin came to visit and Five went to school. I called Erin about a month ago when I had reached my breaking point. It was impossible for me to accomplish anything other than caring for the recently hospitalized Five and Erin is like Mary Poppins--she flies in and gets things done. She freed me up to actually leave the house alone a few times, I was able to get some projects past the half-way done point, and we took time out every few days to watch old episodes of McLEOD'S DAUGHTERS on Netflix. Then she got a sinus infection and had to stay an extra week. Bonus! I didn't tell her I've been sneaking downstairs to spray mold in her room in the hope she'll have to stay the rest of the month.

Five has continued to improve while Erin is here. A lot of this is due to his anti-anxiety medication settling in but I like to think I've helped. I am his primary therapist and we have spent many, many hours talking about his fears and the pressures at school. We've been working on identifying specific triggers for his anxiety so he can re-train his brain. Last week he went back to school and successfully completed four half-days!

The principal called me on his second day back to talk about his concern that Five wasn't staying the whole day and how that might make it difficult to catch him up. I resisted the urge to drive to the school and smite him. The school nurse expressed her opinion that the Captain and I were making it more difficult for Five by lowering our expectations and letting him leave early THE FIRST WEEK HE RETURNED TO SCHOOL IN OVER A MONTH.

I'm going to pause now and let you ponder that statement.

So, without digressing into the type of invective-filled post I'm trying to avoid for fear I may scare away new readers, I will just quietly let you know I reminded everyone that the Captain and I are Five's parents and we know best. Onward.

Now that I've infected Erin, we're going to spend this week planning our new business venture, which is really a variation on an old idea but without the real estate. I dream of buying a small farm and using it for country weddings--fields of sunflowers for posing the betrothed, vows exchanged inside a charming ramshackle barn, a feast served on heirloom linens and china. Basically, it's a way for me to use all my stuff and gain some land.

I think this is a lovely plan but I'm staring at a future filled with years of college tuition bills and I just don't see how the funds will magically appear to scratch my creative farmer itch. Thus...Country Weddings to go! We'll pack up all my beautiful belongings and create rustic tablescapes at the venue of your choice! All my mismatched china and stemware, the galvanized buckets and flower pots, the antique linen cloths and quilts trucked on site! Everything but the food! (Let's be clear about that. We're awesome, but we don't cater.)

We're working our first job right now for the niece of my dear friends June and Janet, otherwise known as The Tech Grrlz. It's not really a job so much as a beta test because I volunteered to help her bring her vision to life. We've been busy crackle-painting herb crates, planting flowers in soup tureens, and perusing fonts for business cards.

I don't know if anything will grow from the business idea but it's been exciting to open the door to creativity again instead of shouting curses through the wood. It's been fun, and right now that's worth about a hundred acres of farmland.