Saturday afternoon my girls went swimming in the creek by my parent’s house and forced the rope swing out of retirement. No one got stung by a jellyfish, though my dad did scoop one up in a crab net, its oozy mass and tentacles spilling from every hole. All my worries about the weekend were extinguished in one perfect afternoon with the people who are forced to love us best, but you feel they might anyway.
And what I didn’t even write about, and what wound up being stressful, was a visit to my 85 year-old grandmother. My girls and I spent the first night of our trip at her house. I laid awake late into the night and thought about all the dust mites sifting through the shag carpet below the bed. I imagined them with sharp if microscopic teeth and tucked my feet and arms safely in the bed, which felt oddly cramped. I went to pull the sheets up around me and met resistance because something was pulling them away from the foot of the bed. It was my oldest daughter, who just as quickly left through the doorway like a ghostly apparition. She was sleepwalking. I do not like sleeping at my grandmother’s house.
I should feel grateful to even have a grandmother at my age. My brother and I are her only living heirs. Instead I spent most of the visit bracing for what she would say next. She brightly commented in broken english that I have a lot of gray hair and asked “You still trying to lose weight?” which translates to “You still need to lose weight.” She did tell me twice that I look taller, which I took as a compliment and which might explain why my feet hung off the bottom of the bed. Some of her directness is cultural. Some of it is a complete lack of tact. I am thin-skinned and she has no filter but is thin-skinned herself. I am not sure how to work around this problem. God grant me the serenity to accept my filterless grandmother and the courage to visit more often and hold my own tongue. Or, Serenity Now! which sometimes work faster.
Speaking of, this week I take a licensing exam for work and I am very nervous. If I don’t pass, it won’t be for lack of studying but rather lack of comprehension, which is far worse. I am trying to switch gears and take a more positive/hopeful approach because bracing myself for failure won’t help lessen the blow if I do fail. It will only make me more anxious until I take the exam.
I am grateful I am not drinking through this. My brain feels spongey in a way that maybe doesn’t absorb as quickly (desperately?) as before, but offers a better chance of retention. All of this stuff is hard though…these firsts in sobriety that I am still feeling more than a year later. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my first year of sobriety was just about getting through it. Now I have to figure out how to want to live through it sober, if that makes any sense. And I do want to live through it sober, very much so.
I took this picture on my brother-in-law’s boat yesterday and I really like how it turned out. So thanks, instagram. I always took crap pictures before you came along. What I like best about this picture is how it feels calm and choppy at the same time. I can relate.