Quest For Remaining As Is


Shep and me New Years Eve 2016IMG_2246Sometimes I live each day unsure of whether I can grip it tightly enough to keep change from coming. When I started this blog called, “Quest for a Normal Day,” I think what I was after might have looked slightly different than it does now. My youngest kids were still little and I sought anything from a playful day with them that did not involve any catastrophic events or disasters to an exotic getaway that would never happen. Taking a shower was a luxury and a solo trip to the grocery store felt epic. I remember some trips to the store making me dizzy as I was overwhelmed by all the color and sounds!


I lived most of my earlier life being proud to boast of how much I loved and craved change. I think that was mostly true because with change came excitement which pairs well with youth. But for me, as I have aged, I have come to love the most ordinary of days and my fear now is that a different day might come and it would be one that I do not recognize or fit with. It makes me very scared to think about.


Some of the best days are the ones when Shep and I go moseying around antique shops after a trip to the Flea Market at the North Carolina Fairgrounds where if the sun is shining and the treasures are great it is great fun. But, even when it is drizzling with “slim pickens” we are in our element and on the same page almost always. You’ll hear us say often, “Look ‘Mooch,’ wouldn’t this be the perfect little table? No? You don’t like it? Okay.” We have five favorite consignment shops in the area and we managed to furnish most of our condo with finds from them. The thrill of the search or the chase remains a great pleasure to us both.


Then there’s the food procuring. Shep likes to go to Trader Joe’s and Costco on Sundays after church. I prefer to go at other times so as to not take away a moment from precious Sundays (Monday and work is on its way.) Actually, I don’t really like going to either store, but he does and we enjoy planning meals while shopping as well as sampling the Vitamix smoothies in Costco and the coffee samples in TJ’s (as we prefer to call Trader Joes.) On the nicer days we hit the Farmer’s Market up the street from our condo and that is a sensorial adventure. On more committed Saturdays, we drive out to the Durham Farmers Market where we can procure almost 100% locally grown organic produce. We are thrilled with it all, giddy over mushrooms, chuckling at fresh turmeric, swooning over hearty breads and intrigued by the aging hippyish crowd. This is nirvana to us. Sometimes I tear up with some envy as I watch the crunchy families in the playground area, but that passes in lieu of the freedom we finally have, (despite my very sweet early parenting memories.)


The food thing. Shep LOVES to cook. I enjoy cooking and baking but it is not a passion by any means. In the worst moments of our lives when I would ask Shep, “What in the world are you doing?” he would answer, “Making scones” and I was dumbfounded. “You’re dong what? Now?” Shep makes the majority of dinners and on weekends we share delicious breakfasts and lunches as well, almost always executed by him. I am ashamed to admit, “I do not know how to make coffee.” We have been eating a plant-based diet for almost two years now so that presents its challenges and immense rewards. It is as if we moved to a foreign country one day with a whole new and unknown cuisine but we are still enjoying the newness and the experimentation.


Sunday church. This is a special and spiritual time for us. Our historical, downtown church can be distracting with its flagrantly wealthy congregants, their jewels and Louboutin red soled footwear, but we are both swept away by the inspirational and contemplative moments throughout the Episcopal service. Our clergy is amongst the best, typically offering engaging sermons that are exactly what one needs to hear at the moment. I am forever grateful to Shep for having introduced me to the Episcopal faith at a time when I was part of the throngs of lapsed Catholics. Whenever it is time for the “kiss of peace,” I kiss and hug Shep and my twin sons (when they are there with us, which is rare lately) and wonder if they have any idea just how much I cherish them. Can they even imagine how precious they are to me?


On many evenings, we each spend time at our computers perusing the news of the day, friends’ comments on issues and the current political mayhem. But often too, we binge on Netflix having completed “Breaking Bad,” “ House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black,” “Better Call Saul,” ‘Making a Murderer,” and most recently, “Nurse Jackie,” while I knit scarves for the cold and homeless or an afghan for us. Interspersed between those long running Netflix seasons, we have enjoyed cooking, fashion, and historical documentaries as well. We are not frequent TV watchers by any means, considering it a real treat if we find the time to sit down and watch something. But, some shows we’ve watched together over the years stay with me like “Selling New York” where I would constantly say, “Oh ‘Mooch,’ how can this be? How can this possibly be?”


Yes, we still have two kids at home. But they are mostly disinterested in us and seem to have no desire to spend time with us, which though disappointing, has been the norm for some time as they are now 17. We love when they come and chat or show interest in something we’re doing but it doesn’t happen often. We totally adore when the older boys/men visit or share a meal but that too, is not all that regular. We miss them all.


It’s been a long time coming. There were always babies, always nursing, always diapers, always early and chaotic dinners, and always very little money and even less time. There is some time now. There is a bit more money now. We can eat dinner late or even out in a restaurant. We can stay up late (knowing the fatigue of tomorrow) or go to bed early. We crave excitement a whole lot less though I am still a goer and a doer and never like to miss a thing! But, in my gut sits this fear. It is one perhaps from past trauma or simply sensing the inevitable. I fear when it might change and I dread the disease or the sudden health issue or accident that will cross a threshold from which one can never return. It scares me to death to even imagine and I play mind games with myself to make the thoughts stop. I pray for this to wait, to hold off, to be avoided if at all possible. I want things to stay the same for a long, long time now. I love them all so much, I thrive in their presence and feel blessed in the cocoon of love. I often pray silently, “Please God, let it be. Let it be just as it is now. Let it stay simple and lovely and healthy. Please do not allow the changes just yet. It is finally so very sweet and good. Let me lay down at night next to the man I have adored from most of my life and fall asleep to the sound of his peaceful breath after he has made me laugh until tears run down my cheeks. Allow me to love my partner and my precious sons for as long as I might be alive. Give me as many of these cherished times as possible. Peace, peace, peace, glorious peace for these moments in time.”

Four of us Christmas eve 2015IMG_2177