Full Heart Friday

The email came on a break from the all-day training seminar that closed out my first week at my fantastic new job: my essay, Imperfection, is up on Ruminate Magazine‘s blog, The Waking. I felt a flash of nerves, then clicked on the link and re-read it, and felt – not so much pride as a grateful sense of satisfaction. There, I did it. My work has been published. Again.

I spent the rest of the break telling all the amazingly welcoming, kind, fun, brilliant and interesting coworkers who checked in with me to see how I was doing how welcoming, kind, fun, brilliant and interesting they are.  It was an amazing first week, and before the end of it I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this was the best workplace I’ve ever been invited to be a part of, and the best job I had ever been lucky enough to be offered and to accept.

And on top of all that, I got a pingback from a blog I follow, “Confessions of Middle Aged Woman” who gave my post, “Hired” some props, in a happy, slightly freaked-out post of her own, along the same lines.  So I’ve had a kind of “it doesn’t get better than this” kind of week. Had to stop at the grocery store on the way home, and I noticed myself thinking, “here I am, an employed person squeezing in a trip to the store after a great week at work.” For a long time I’d been envious of those nicely dressed people, obviously tired and preoccupied, who were stopping to do a quick errand before they could get home and unwind. Not really something to be jealous of, unless you’ve been out of that world for quite a while when you really needed to be in it. And you know that being back in it will be good for you, and for your family. That felt good.

Sure, there were a few bumps – arrangements for Angelic Daughter aren’t sufficiently settled, but we’re muddling through, and just when I was at my wit’s end about it, a few other possibilities arose.

I’m exhilarated, exhausted and excited, all at once. Still trying to establish a new routine, but it’s getting done. One thing I know I’ll have to do is abandon my “800 Words” game, at least for a while, because I’ll have to squeeze blogging in to an hour or so after dinner on Fridays or Saturdays – might have to write a week’s worth and schedule them to post, because between getting up at 5:30 a.m. and prepping everything and hitting the road by 6:40, I won’t have a lot of time. I’ve been averaging about 4 hours of sleep a night this week, not sure why. Just waking up at 3 or 3:30 and unable to get back to zzzzzzzz.

Things will settle, I’m sure. Handy brother came on short notice to help out today. Prearranged unpaid absence to wait for the new downstairs bathroom vanity countertop, and rescheduled, routine if unpleasant medical testing will be got out of the way next week, and then it’s full on until the holidays.

Early this morning on my new commute, the full (or nearly still full) moon was still well up in the morning sky, after putting on a lovely glow the past few nights. I find moonilght soothing, and the un-set moon in the morning sky reassuring.  Faith got me through to this point, and I’m counting on it to get me to the day when our new normal becomes – normal.

I’m going to go have “music time” with angelic daughter and then drag myself upstairs to wind down, for the start of the first weekend that really feels like a weekend, where tasks and errands need to get done in two days, instead of just whenever in a long line of days after days. A weekend that will be for what it is supposed to be for, resting, spending time with family and then preparing for Monday, when I will get that exhilarating feeling of going back to work for my first full week on the fabulous new job.

Oh, and if you read my essay, don’t worry about me – one thing I know about this job is that is isn’t going to make me feel anxious. Or if it does, I have strategies to handle that. Compartments. Gratitude. Support.

Well, there I did it anyway – almost up to 800 words.  Looking forward to my new schedule and my new routine, I remain,

Your grateful, excited, exhausted, not going to drag it out just to get all the way to 800 words,

Ridiculouswoman

Featured image by stux on Pixabay

Autumn Reprise

Well, lookit you, November. Didn’t know you had it in ya. Very nicely done.

That slant of afternoon light is there, the bright blue of the sky and a blanket of gold on the lawn from leaves brought down by the weight of snow, now melted. My phone’s camera just can’t do it justice.

I got the fire started, and the S’mores made. Lit the Jack-o-Lanters for a few extra nights, until they took their place in the new compost heap that used to be the chicken run.

Mine is the only lawn on the block still covered with leaves, but I don’t care. The lawn guy suddenly seems to expect me to pay him in advance, before any work is done for the month.  Electric mowers are getting cheaper, and I had fun raking up a few bags of leaves to start the chicken-run compost. So maybe I’ll just handle it myself next year.

Angelic Daughter and I are gearing up for big changes; my going back to work full-time will mean she has to step up, step out and deal with new transportation, new people and new activities. I’ve been amazed and grateful and what a positive attitude she’s shown about it.

Anytime we have to change something that affects how she lives, what she does, where she goes and with whom she spends her time, it rattles me to the core. But I’ve got to suck it up and trust her. And trust God, who seems to keep throwing just what we need in our path just when we need it.

It’s concert week, and the choir I sing with is doing some incredibly beautiful, comforting music.  When the sound melds into one from out of the many and becomes a thing in itself, a perfect merger of text and music that swells or hushes with the promise of “lux aeterna” or the plea of “dona eis requiem,” I still get goosebumps.

I thought I’d be scrambling, but within the past two weeks everything came together to make sure Angelic Daughter has a companion while I’m at the rehearsals and performances we didn’t have covered yet, and even that she will be able to attend the concert. I can function when I know she is safe and well cared for.

Which is why this going back to work thing, as necessary and welcome as it is, still feels daunting. This has to work this time – I just can’t be interrupted with phone calls or texts constantly (while I simultaneously worry about why I’m not being interrupted with phone calls or texts constantly).

If you’re a parent you’ll never forget the first day of school, that autumn when you had to turn around and go, leaving your child in kindergarten. Maybe yours took it in stride (as did Angelic Daughter) but it didn’t stop the tears from forming, even if you were trying to hide them.

Fast forward through twenty years, and imagine having that experience over and over again, with each change of teacher, aide, school building or enrichment program. Will she be safe? Will she be happy? Will they understand her? Will she get any benefit out of this?

And now it’s happening again.

I’m counting on deep breathing, the kindness of people in our (relatively) small community, and help that keeps showing up unexpectedly, right on time.

So I’ll pack lunches the night before, (who am I kidding, I’ll do it in a mad rush in the morning) like I used to do. I’ll make laminated schedules and 3″ x 5″ card reminders and tape them to doors and put them in purses; I’ll add a few additional emergency contacts to her phone while also trying to teach her not to bother them unless it is a real emergency.

Tomorrow we find out if we’re set with the new program she tried out today, to fill her most of her day when I’m at work. I can’t imagine they won’t take her. She liked it and seemed really happy. I hope they don’t pull that rug, and leave us scrambling again.

Breathe.

I don’t want the lawn guys to come, yet. I want to savor this day, with the golden blanket of leaves, that remind me that beauty can come even when you thought the chance had passed.

I’m looking out the window through that gorgeous slant of sunlight, at the new chicken run compost heap with the Jack-o-Lanterns half buried in leaves, thinking about phases of life and how things that pass can transform into things that nourish the future.

Hoping I’ll catch the lawn guys when they do come, to ask them to empty the leaves and grass clippings into the chicken run compost, I remain,

Your happy, hopeful and still anxious as usual,

Ridiculouswoman