The park is filled with wonder today.
Green and golden leaves.
My children,
One in the sandbox,
One on the soccer field,
Both still in their church clothes.
A couple on a bench,
A couple on a stroll,
A couple on the swings,
A couple holding hands.
She whispers in his ear,
He kisses the top of her head.
Two girls on parallel skateboards,
Holding hands to stay in tandem.
Our kite is in the sky,
Dipping, darting, diving.
A dozen dads
Play with two dozen sons.
The breeze is warm,
The air is cool.
My chest tightens,
And I don’t know if
My heart swells
Or aches.

When Outsourcing . . .

In my mission toward simplifying my life and outsourcing the tasks I can afford for someone else to do, I have tried my hand at online grocery shopping.

Since I believe hell is a place where people must endlessly shop for groceries with small children (and step on Legos and matchbox cars in barefeet), the idea of click-click-clicking my way down the virtual grocery aisle and then accepting a gracious delivery at my doorstep became overwhelmingly appealing.

I even added a couple of surprises for myself, so I could pretend the delivery person had been thoughtful and encouraging. (Spearmint gum.)

(Next time, I may add fresh flowers to the delivery. Just for kicks and giggles and wishes on stars.)

The experience was highly productive and impressively intentional. The few dollars I spent on the delivery fee were definitely less than I would have spent on impulse purchases in the name of entitlement.

There was just one hiccup.

The five pounds of sugar I ordered came in a box of 100 individual packets.

Note to self: read the fine print.

Oopsie daisy.

Ah, well. It will give me something to do while I watch TV.

Or it’s a good math equation. How many packets of sugar equal my rough estimation for berry cobbler?

Snip, snip, pour. Snip, snip, pour.

Be Gone, Pieces and Parts.

A few years ago, we added a decal to the back window: one of those you’ve perhaps noticed on the car in front of you at a stoplight.  A family replica displayed in an array of flipflops or cartoon charicatures or Star Wars figures.

Ours was a series of four stick figures, each one wearing Mickey Mouse ears.  A whimsical purchase on Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom.  A Dad, a Mom, and two brothers, all smiling with their heads tilted slightly to the right.  (No doubt from the weight of the Mickey hats.)

We were that family.

Through seasons of harsh weather and numbers of car washes, the stick people started to peel away.  Bit by bit.  Eyebrows, fingers, smiles.

“Mommy, we need to take the daddy sticker off,” one of my boys suggested.

One day, I agreed – with a frightening degree of impulsion.  I wanted the sticker family to be either there or not, present or gone, but not slowly disintegrating and peeling away.

So I grabbed a paring knife, the same one I use to slice strawberries, and I scratched the hell out of the back window.  I peeled away the remains, letting the little white strips fall to the ground.

(If you look closely, I’m sure you can see scratch marks.  I took no care in preserving anything, and it’s possible I may have slightly damaged some of those red defrosting stripes.  Eh… I’ll cross that bridge in a few weeks when I can’t defrost my rear windows.)

Be gone, pieces and parts.  There is only room for wholeness here.

I filled the space with a new decal, crisp and pristine: University of Denver.

Sometimes you have to take charge of a situation.  Sometimes with a paring knife.

Better Living Through Chemistry

I knew what needed  done, but I didn’t know how to start any of it.

Laundry and clutter and dishes and library books and kindergarten homework and first grade homework and unpacking from the vacation that ended two weeks ago.

I sat in the middle of it all, flat affect, with nothing to say and no ability to think.

(This is what my depression looks like, only I never really recognize it in the moment.  I simply feel irrationally and unreasonably overwhelmed.)

Some investigation by the people who know me well revealed an important puzzle piece: I had stopped taking one of my medications.

The one that supports mental clarity and capacity in the face of depression.

I remember when it happened, actually.  The prescription ran out, I meant to fill it that day, then I forgot, and when I remembered again, the task of calling in the refill very nearly overwhelmed me.

It’s an odd irony.  I was overwhelmed to call in my prescription because I was out of the prescription that keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.

(Which came first, the chicken or the egg?)

I can perhaps predict what you’re thinking: how irresponsible this is, how important it is to stay current and stocked with ongoing medications, how I need to put on my own oxygen mask first, how dangerous it is to go ‘cold turkey’ without the knowledge and approval of doctors and therapists and all parties involved.

I know.  I really do.  I know.

It’s a whole lot of work to take care of me sometimes.  The presciption simply fell off my list of things to do.  And then I fell off my own radar.

Prescription: hereby filled and in my system for two days now.  I still haven’t unpacked, but that’s just because I don’t want to bother with it, not because I don’t know how to put things away.

My children went to school with packed lunches and complete homework, and I came home and did the dishes and cleaned the fish bowl before I sat down to write four chapters.

Better living through chemistry.  It’s a good thing.