"The best way out is always through." So, SO true, Mr. Frost.
I am halfway through my 34th year and three-quarters of the way through this year on Whidbey. I am at rest on the other side of the haze of the last five days (marked by my presence, but mostly my absence, a Farmer's Market, a 2 a.m. living room dance party with a bunch of moms I just met, anxiety and worry about next weekend, and mindless consumption of baked goods, a boatload of Cliff Bars and consequential flatulence).
Today, the 12th of May, is my half birthday, and I am pleased to report that I am back. My stomach and spirit are settled and the stinky fog has lifted. I do believe this is just the occasion to write and to do as I do.
On Sunday, Mother's Day, I slept in and awoke to sunshine and handmade gifts: hand prints and a paper-clip-secured drawing in permanent black ink. I called all of my moms, read stories to my kids even though we were still in our jammies, took an extra long shower, sat on our deck in midday sun and enjoyed lunch for breakfast.
And then came the question, "What do you want to DO for Mother's Day?" Haven't we been through this before?
By the time the question was posed, we were already halfway through Mother's Day, and memories of who and where I was this time last year returned. I believe I spent most of that day alone on my throne, royally pissed off. This year, with no big plans, no pedicure, no massage, no housekeeper, no job and in the absence of world peace, it appeared to be more of the same.
Eventually, my family and I made it to the park. Together, we enjoyed soft serve ice cream cones on a blanket atop lush green grass. I was surrounded by books beneath blue skies and bright sun. At my side, my sweltering, fair-skinned prince endured a cloudless sky in my honor. Rather than retiring to the shade, he remained with me on my blanket in my bliss. Atop the hill, my children giggled and climbed and made-believe with that day's new friends. They stopped in for periodic water breaks, and eventually retired with Paul and me on our blanket to laugh aloud and hear stories of hiccups and space and a little princess.
Basking in the glory of more of the same, I was home. This space has become my home, and perhaps more than anything, I love to be here. I am confident, content and secure when I am in my element. My environment. My routine. And when I am away, I ache to return.
The red canvas tote, which accompanies me up and down the stairs of my house numerous times each day is my home. The contents beneath my neatly folded, beloved blanket of muted browns -- a dictionary, a bible, a book of crosswords and another of Sudoku, spiral bound journals of the artist, gratitude and morning-page variety, a gratitude rock, a lavender sachet, my rice pillow, a mechanical pencil, two Pilot EasyTouch Fine point pens in blue and black, and books -- memoirs, fiction, non-fiction, humor, education, inspiration -- these contents fuel and ignite me. Paul refers to this beast as my Kindle. Mine is an early model. It is bulky, cumbersome, old-fashioned and heavy laden. But happily, comfortably -- gratefully -- I bear it, because it is my peace and my joy. It brings me back. It brings me home.
A week has passed since I began this post. My sister has officially become an M.D., and I have officially done Kansas City. My trip was inspired and an honor, yet it also felt difficult to be away. Home was far too large and liquid-laden to carry-on, so I left it -- with my husband, my children, my composure and my comforts -- behind.
It is written that perfect love casts out all fear. Perfect love scares the hell out of me sometimes. No, it has never forsaken me, but it has often called me forth to step out in my skivvies for a while into the nondescript and the unknown. For me, this space between is a scary place.
In the time that has passed since this post's genesis and its revelation, Grace drew me away, transcended and took me along a scenic route. I have departed, laid over, checked out, checked back in, and I've once again been moved and unfurled by this perfect love. Oddly, it hardly resembled perfection. Rather, this love was awkward and simple. Comfortable and uncomfortable simultaneously. Neither black nor white; Nigerian, nor American. It was both-and. It lingered with neither pomp nor circumstance. It was rainy and gray. Bulky. Cumbersome. Familiar. Beautiful. I would choose it again.
On my last morning in Kansas City, I walked in the drab day's spittle along State Line Road. For days and miles I lingered in the space between Kansas and Missouri -- a curious thing. I am back home now and just over halfway through, right? Still, I miss home. My hair is shorter, the days are longer, the clouds have parted, but little has really changed.
What do I do? What have I done? Nothing and everything.
Yes, Mr. Frost was correct; I am pushing through. But the longer I linger, the less I want out. I'm in, and I'm alive. I am in-progress, unsettled, old-fashioned, dehydrated and feeling ten steps behind where I was when I left. I'm hovering. Recovering. Tingling. Inching ahead and settling back in -- slowly, sloppily.
My keyboard is on my lap. My Kindle is at my feet, and thankfully, Grace has brought me home. I'm neither out nor through, but I'm here, and I'm in.