It’s hard to recall for certain if it’s been just since having babies, . . . or since college, . . . or since middle school (when I’d have to set my alarm clock across the room to stop myself from turning it off and falling directly back to sleep), but I think, possibly, I’ve been tired . . . my entire life. Have I? I can’t remember. Usually, after the initial morning struggle, I manage to scuffle and kick and round up all the tiredness. I shoo it all into a closet, turn the key in the lock and, for most of the day, manage to ignore its faint banging on the door. It works pretty well. But today . . . I must have never swept it into the closet (or even under the rug) to begin with because all day it’s been nagging me -- pulling on my sleeves, whining in my ear. But there’s hope of course. Hope for rest. The other morning, when I was surprised by my mom responding to a text at 6:30 AM and asked her what she was doing up so early, she responded that at about 5:00 AM she woke and got thinking about everything that needed to be done that day so she just got up and started on it. “But I can go back to bed later,” she said. “You’re up for the duration, aren’t you. But someday you’ll be 80 and can go back to bed if you want.” Hahaha. Yes. It’s almost as good as the comfort Mike once gave me that I’d have plenty of time to sleep . . . when I’m dead (and even that we weren’t truly certain of). But, when I’m 80. That’s something.
Speaking of my mom, whenever she made spaghetti, she would dump the sauce in the pan, then put a small amount of water in the jar, put the lid on, shake it vigorously, and dump the rest of the sauce (sauce that had been clinging to the jar and was now loosened up by the water) into the pan. I can’t ever just forget that when I make spaghetti myself. When I throw the jar away after the initial dumping out of sauce I always feel a bit guilty and extravagant. And when I take a minute and add the water (even as I fear it will water down my sauce), I feel rather thrifty and pleased with myself.
I went to the temple with my mom a few months ago and then to a bakery afterwards. (This no longer has anything to do with spaghetti sauce). We talked and talked about her courtship with my dad and his experiences in Japan and how, when he asked her to marry him, she had only dared hope that maybe maybe he might be going to ask her to “go steady”, but no, it was marriage! He wanted to MARRY her! She’d prayed for years to someday marry someone “just like Gordon Allred”. It probably couldn’t be him of course. He was too old (nearly six years older than she was), too . . . distant of a goal. But if she could maybe be lucky enough to marry someone just like him . . . .
When she tells the story now – the surprise final answer to her prayers – she always says, “It turns out there was no one more like Gordon Allred than Gordon Allred himself!”
. . . And then my dad’s sister Penny, upon hearing the news, began jumping on the bed so exubberantly that she broke it. And of course they’d told my mom’s parents, but my dad’s parents were out of town so they agreed they should keep the news quiet until they had a chance to tell them. . . . My mom lasted til all of about 10:00 AM the next morning before she couldn’t stand it any longer and went running down the street to tell the news to her good friend Anne.
And . . . now . . . why was I writing this?? Oh yes. I was thinking of my mom. All the talking that night after the temple. My mom . . . well . . . she understands when I speak. And, as I eagerly poured out all my wonderings about connected spiritual experiences and about God’s shocking efficiency in arranging things being perhaps very different from our own ideas of efficient, it felt very much like I was living at home again – 12 years old and lying on the floor next to her sewing closet – asking her one hundred million questions (enough to exhaust even the most patient of souls) about what she thought The Millennium might be like, or the first-semester college student who was awed by having just scratched the surface of quantum physics and The Theory of Relativity and wanted someone to listen to the new ideas I was bursting to share. As we talked that night, I told her how I trusted my dad was close but hadn’t felt it very obviously. And then, without intending to, I burst out bawling as I told her we would need to find some way for her to more clearly let me know she was around once she left this life because I couldn’t bear not feeling certain of either of them close.
In other news. I had a surprise root canal the other day. I’d had a throbbing toothache for several days and was all trepidation heading to the dentist. The pain was all in the area of a bridge, and I didn’t want a big . . . “to do” in order to solve my problem. I wanted like . . . a rogue piece of a popcorn kernel to be discovered lodged in my gums. But . . . it was the worst case scenario. Which, it turns out, wasn’t actually that terrible. But now I’m sitting here with a missing tooth in my mouth and half a missing tooth where they only partially covered the one that needed the root canal due to time constraints from my unexpected situation. So . . . that’s nothing terribly interesting. Only it felt like it might garner me a little sympathy. “I had to have my bridge yanked off and then a ROOT CANAL the other day!” I feel the sympathy just pouring in. Trickling? Ah well. It wasn’t thrilling. But I’ve had root canals several times in my life and . . . shhhh . . . don’t tell . . . but they don’t actually deserve that much sympathy. It’s mostly just a little longer in the dental chair.
But let’s go back to my parents. That was more interesting.
Several weeks after my dad passed away, I dreamt that I was on an incredibly long and exhausting journey. The entire point of the journey was simply to get home to my dad. I crossed traffic-filled multi-lane roads and made my way along mountainous trails. Sometimes the paths were hard but clear. Other times they were incredibly overgrown and uncertain, and I would follow someone who I trusted knew the way. I never felt lost, but I always marveled that the weed and bush-covered trails did finally open into clear and obvious paths again. I kept wearing out pairs of shoes – It was funny, I could see them in my dream: all of the colorful, various shoes that I’d worn through – lined up next to each other on an old wooden shelf. At times on my journey trusted companions had to leave me and could only point the way onward, but I kept going until at last I did make it home to my dad. When I got there I was a bit surprised that he didn’t think I’d been gone so very long. But, there was little time to worry about that. I had other friends who I had left – still out there on those overgrown trails, and I knew we needed to busy ourselves with helping them.
It was so clearly and unapologetically symbolic that it almost made me laugh. I was grateful for it though.
Moving on: I don’t know how to manage the fact that Mette won’t stay two forever. Or at least for . . . my entire lifetime. Mind you she has pulled my nerves and sanity as tight and far and see-through thin as they can go without snapping beyond all repair (with her clinging and demanding and sobbing).But . . . then . . . she is also impossibly glorious. She’s impossible AND glorious. And impossibly glorious. Everything. Everything. Her sturdy, bouncy little run. Her straight, bobbed little hair. Her telling me to “draw a duck” thirty times a day (and I’m still no good at it). How could I be allowed something so overwhelmingly wondrous? And how can I allow any bits of it to cease being?
Well, I shall end with pictures as unconnected to this post as the paragraphs of this post itself were to one another.
An evening at the park. (Our AC was out for some time in early September. The temperatures were still often in the 90s and our house doesn’t seem to cool down at night even when outside cools down, so we spent a long time at the park one evening simply to escape the heat trapped in our house. I met a nice lady who I talked and talked to about raising kids and the like as if we’d known each other for years. And then we went our separate ways and I probably wouldn’t recognize her if I saw her again. But she was perfectly pleasant. And now our AC is finally fixed. And we don’t really need it because, as of yesterday, fall is here! Cold weather and rain and thunder. It makes me desperate for pumpkins on the porch and a bushel of peaches from the Perry fruit stands in my fridge.)
And an evening over at Mike’s parents. We stopped by with a cake and visited for a bit while kids jumped on the trampoline and checked on grandpa’s chickens (which are somehow far more novel than our own), and Mike’s brother stopped by and made some sort of flarp like substance with the kids.