I feel like this blog has reflected the darker side of my life lately, as I have used it as a way to process through some difficult thought patterns. To the outsider (read: those who do not know me outside of what I blog) it may seem worse than it actually is. Because of my Recovery process I’ve been unusually introspective, as most Recovery programs unravel things in that way if one truly dives in. I know I’ve said this before, but my writing is pretty boring or non existent when things are going well, or when good things are happening. These things don’t need flushing out, or interpreting, or dissecting. They just Are, like fresh air or a sunny day.
Bryan gets on me about that. When he does something nice for me he says, “Are you going to blog that?” It’s tongue in cheek, but it’s also his way of reminding me to reflect on the good times – in writing, so they can be remembered. Because if we are fighting it’s easy to forget that we really do love each other and have a lot of fun.
Many years ago when I was going through a period of depression (though I didn’t know it at the time; only recently have I come to realize this), my best friend and room mate, who is very visual, helped me map out the peeks and valleys of my life.
On a timeline she drew with crayons, blue lines were difficult times and yellow lines were good times. On the linear trail there were often peeks and valleys. For instance, during a blue-line period there may have been yellow-peek events, and during yellow-line periods there may have been blue-valley events. Seeing my life in the perspective of color-code was encouraging during a time when I could see nothing but blue.
As of late my life has felt like a blue line, but there have definitely been many yellow-peek events along the way. In the droning on of my woes, I don’t want to lose sight of those things that have brought me joy.
For one thing, Seattle experienced a beautiful Indian Summer, well into October. The sun and the warm temperatures provided many opportunities to play with my kids at the park, get my fall pruning done, and take walks with my family after dinner. This is my favorite time of the year and I am taking full advantage of it.
I’ve been enjoying the budding imagination of my daughter. She loves to play rescue, taking turns as to who is in trouble and who does the rescuing. She’ll dangle from the slide in our back yard, her toes only inches from the ground, and cry out with exaggerated drama, “Help me! Help me!” When her friends don’t understand (or care!), she’ll stop suddenly and say, “Noah, you have to come rescue me.”
The other evening while eating a gourmet meal of Wendy’s chicken nuggets, Ruthie stacked three on top of each other like a tower, then tipped her empty cup over and covered them up. “Ladies and gentleman,” she said in her best announcer-voice, waving her hands frantically around the cup, “you will now guess which cup these chicken pieces are hiding under…” and on she went with her magic trick.
I was flabbergasted that seemingly over night my toddler has turned into a real person who pretends that all the world is her stage. I am proud of her imagination, and pray that I never do anything to squelch it.
The other day I took my friend’s ten year old son with me to the dog park while Ruthie was in preschool. He has a very mature sense of humor, and I was looking forward to my day with him. While sitting at a stop light and the car was quiet with my own contemplation, one of those double dump trucks passed by, the ones with the long metal rod that connects them. After it drove past, Tony deadpanned, “Sometimes I wonder, why are they so long?” Maybe you had to be there. Or maybe you have to know Tony. But his timing and tone of voice were beautifully funny, and he made me laugh.
This has been Year of the Concert for the Zugs. We have seen Over the Rhine, The Mountain Goats, Matisyahu (me only), Bruce Cockburn, Paul Simon, and Sufjan Stevens. I’m sure there’s more, but I feel so decadent just naming these. I have come to love discovering new music that inspires me or helps me cope. I made a ‘mix tape’ of songs I listen to when I miss Gordy, and one for road trips, and I’m about to make one for worship. It’s exciting to see someone perform live, because they are who they are. Most of the music I love now was introduced to me by Bryan. You might say he rescued me from the mediocre Christian pop culture.
I am surrounded by people who ‘get me,’ and who have history with me. As I’ve been meeting other mothers at preschool and at the park, I am realizing how isolated the average mother feels. I am blessed with many friends who are in the same stage as myself who understand the trials of raising small children. And because we help each other out, I rarely pay for babysitting. I came across a quote once by Shakespeare, “I am wealthy in my friends.” I feel I am the wealthiest of them all.
He may not believe me what I say this, but I really do like Bryan. It’s because of him that I write, that I have more confidence in my art, and that I appreciate good music and good movies. He knows how to have a good time, and most of our evenings are filled with wine, and loud music, and dancing. We dance while making dinner. We enjoy our life in ways that many married couples forget about. He has continued to ‘woo’ me even after we’re married.
Things are looking up. I feel as if I’m climbing out of a hole. After yesterday’s initial disappointment, I did manage to have a good afternoon in spite of myself. I wrote an essay while the kids napped, we went to the park, and we walked to the store. I was bitter at first, but after writing about it and getting over it, I actually had a great evening. Cari is right, I am slowly breaking free of my vices. And it feels good to feel like I’m starting to deal with life in a healthy way.