Sorry. Really. Many people were kind enough to share how much they enjoyed this blog. And, then, after all of the hullaballoo about the move, just when you wanted to know what was behind Door #3, I disappeared.
I tried. I started a few posts. But none of them moved me. Truly, I didn’t have the heart to force myself to finish. I have reached a hard stop on berating the soft part of myself until it submits to tasks it wants to avoid.
All I can say is – sorry.
By way of recap, the move was challenging. When is any move, cross-country or otherwise, other than challenging? I personally can attest to the fact that hell hath no fury like a forty-hour drive with two Havanese zipped into a crate and high on doggie Xanax. Or, put differently, some circumstances underscore our vulnerability and remind us that we are one small human at the mercy of an unimaginably large universe. Even more plainly, there were moments when I wondered whether I was crazy to think that a woman who never even liked to drive could pack up herself, a child and two ill-behaved dogs and drive from California to Kentucky. Moments like the one when I said to my daughter, upon realizing we had stopped at an abandoned gas station to walk the dogs, “this is that scene at the beginning of a horror movie where you try to tell the blond girl that she should just get a new dog rather than look for the one that ran into the tall weeds.”
More meaningful than those moments, however, were moments when we witnessed lovely parts of humanity. Empathy. Understanding. In Waynesville, Missouri, I sent my daughter to walk the dogs while I pumped gas. Just as I headed to the restroom and called out “the car is unlocked,” I made eye contact with the gentleman getting gas at the next pump. Maybe he was a deacon in his church. Maybe he donated blood at every blood drive. And took his homebound mother beef stew on Wednesday nights. Maybe. Or maybe not. In any event, I have read the Berenstain Bears book about stranger danger a few times. And I had a vivid image of the parade of horribles that might unfold while I was peeing. I immediately lowered my gaze, locked the car and began walking in the direction of my daughter and the dogs as I called out “I will be right there.” This statement was quickly followed by embarrassment when the gentleman in question smiled and said, “Ma’am, I would have done the same thing.”
Since we arrived, things have been great, many things better than great. The house is more perfect than I ever could have imagined. Such a pretty dollhouse. Our whimsical furniture looks like it was purchased to fit this exact space. The sense of belonging extends well beyond the furniture. We have been showered with love and support since our arrival. And, perhaps unbelievably, Kim Reeder, the hopelessly paranoid insomniac, actually feels safe. I am hesitant to write it down lest I jinx whatever good magic seems to be in my corner, but for the better part of the last two weeks I have slept for at least five consecutive hours each night. I haven’t had that pleasure for almost three years.
I still have days where I feel like I am trying to kill fruit flies. Smacking everything that flies in my face but feeling stuck. (For effect, imagine these statements laced with expletives and spoken with a twang that is a bit more prominent than a few months ago.)
For example, the smoke detector attached to the security system went off last week, which was incredibly unfair because, although I was cooking, nothing was what I would consider burned. I missed the ADT call and the fire department was summoned to my house (luckily, because I called ADT back, the fire department turned off the sirens, but not the lights, before they arrived). My daughter was mortified. I walked out to meet the truck wearing a baseball cap and a puffer jacket over my pajamas. I apologized. They were kind. When they asked, “did y’all just buy this house,” I smiled and said “yes” but wanted to respond “Y’all? You are looking at all of y’all.”
I also lost my mother’s meds last week. We recently moved her to a facility closer to me and I dole out her medication during my daily visits. Until I lost the pill organizer. It’s not like the woman is diabetic and has to have her meds every day. Luckily, my daughter, and her younger brain, came to the rescue.
I guess that these tidbits signify that, as transformative as the move has been, my life is still just that – life. But it is a good life. And, regardless, it is mine.
I am able to have daily contact with my mother and, I believe, substantially improve her quality of life. As I spend more time with her, I am able to understand her better. And I am so grateful for the opportunity to understand her. Many days she sings “God bless Kim Reeder/She’s a good little girl” (to the tune of “God Bless America”) when I bring her coffee. I’m sure those memories will give me solace some day.
My time with my daughter is also very special. During her fall break, we went to a modern art exhibit in Columbus. We didn’t have to ask anyone if it was OK. Or if the trip would create any inconvenience. We just decided we wanted to see the exhibit – and went. Earlier this week she told me I was her favorite person and then said “when I see you in the car line at the end of the day, it makes me really happy.” How’s that for a good life?
There are a multitude of rich, textured experiences that come together to make up the mosaic of my world these days. Spending time with my brother and his family. Catching up with people who have loved me for decades. Reacquainting myself with a place I left 27 years ago. Ordering the lingering chaos in my life.
Through everything, the most important task I focus on each day is being. Not being more or better or even more better. Just being.