Thursday, February 19, 2015

February slog


This photo was an accident. I had found that snapshot of my daughter and my wheelchair-bound father among my mother's things, and I held it up to snap a picture with my phone. I had not realized that my mother was in the background having lunch. The result was this photo of both my parents at the end of their lives. My father died of cancer nineteen years ago today, which was less than a month after this photo was taken. I miss him. My mother is still with us, but unbearably frail. I miss her, too. And then there is my daughter at one year old. As my father slipped away, she and her then four-year-old brother were the promise of everything yet to come, the realization of their grandparents' legacy and their undying love.

It's 18 degrees outside. My son doesn't go in to work until the afternoon on Thursdays, and he's sleeping in. He needs the rest. Sometimes I feel bad that he's working so long and hard, but then I remember myself at 23, and I didn't get home from work till ten or eleven at night. I'd eat a bowl of cream of wheat for dinner and then crash. I was working as a reporter at Life magazine then, and I traveled every other week. Those days of reporting and working with photographers in the field could stretch till past midnight. I never felt sorry for myself, so perhaps there is no reason to feel sorry for my boy. He's doing his life. If he doesn't like the way his life is set up, he'll make a change. Maybe fly off to Australia for a year or two. Maybe move into an apartment with two of his buddies (the alternate plan). One of his friends is in finance on Wall Street and my boy is now an investor. So many young people are unemployed in this economy and he has two jobs and investments, even as he waits to hear about the EMT gig for the FDNY. As much as he likes to have fun, he's a planner and a doer. He's never been lazy. He'll be okay.

I'll be okay, too, even if T.S. Eliot got it wrong when he called April the cruelest month. It's definitely February. I'm struggling a bit with the blahs. Work is helpful, because I'm at the editing stage on a manuscript. The whole thing is written now and it's just a matter of smoothing and polishing and layering in. This is the fun part. And then I will begin a new project. Lots of anxiety around the beginning stages. I always wonder how I will ever get to the finish line. So I try to imagine that in some parallel reality, the project is already complete and I just have to live into that eventuality. I'll manage to get it done because in a parallel universe I already have! The tricks we play.


6 comments:

  1. I am so glad that you can remember when you were so young and working so hard. It does put perspective on things, doesn't it? And reminds you that things do work out.
    As you know. Even if it's so hard to believe sometimes.
    Stay warm.
    Sending love.
    Mary

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  2. You have well raised children. It is always a pleasure to read about them.As for the winter slog, it is hard some days to remember that I live in the sunniest part of the nation because of all of the upper respiratory stuff going around...I've had it twice now and cannot wait for this season to be done. As for editing and writing, like you, I've always found writing to be more work than editing but while I've done plenty of both, there is nothing like the feeling one has when sitting before a blank page or screen and filling it somehow to the satisfaction of a client. Best to you.

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  3. Yes, I agree with Ms. Moon. And you've helped me so much this morning as I contemplate each of my own children's futures. Oh, and my own work and how I'm going to get to the finish line. I love your parallel world. Thank you for planting that idea in my brain!

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  4. Wow, I love the photo. Sometimes the best pictures are accidents.

    I've never understood why April is supposed to be so cruel. I agree -- it's February! Being in Florida at the moment, in a place with plentiful sunlight, has helped an immense amount...

    Bravo for your son and his industriousness. (Is that a word?) It is good to remember our own youths. Hard to imagine I ever had the energy for two jobs plus college, but I once did!

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  5. Lovely photographic accident. I too still miss my father; it's like a permanent hole in the universe.
    But your parallel reality strategy is something I employ too little these days, so what a truly helpful reminder that is!

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  6. There are so many things to think about with this post.

    The loss of a parent - I do think about that and sometimes will prepare myself for it by imagining it has already happened. And then I will wake up in the middle of the night to realize that everyone is well and happy. My fears alleviated for a moment but only for a moment. I am grateful and scared all at once. Such an odd thing to do to myself.

    Work - It is never work - or rarely - if it is something motivating and meaningful. You found it and it seems like he is working that out rather well.

    Writing - Haha, I do the same thing. With my dissertation I imagined a time when it would be complete and that helped me through the seemingly never-ending process.

    On a unrelated note, you are so talented and genuine. I am really grateful that we have connected through our blogs and appreciate your words, support, and kindness.

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