Thursday – November 18, 2010
WHERE TO BEGIN???
Bringing home the boat that I received as a gift, was one of the happiest moments I have experienced in a long time. It was the manifestation of a dream that began in 2008 when I became friends with a rower from Connecticut. That was back in the time when I had what was considered a “real” job. It was also before I made the decision to move home to care for my mom, who is now 89. Thankfully, her need for help to remain independently in her home coincided with my need to radically shift my life.
Many wonderful and horrifying things (the stuff of future blog posts) have happened since first coming to terms with the fact that the life I knew, while informing the present in some ways, no longer even remotely exists. In that world, I was well paid to be responsible for staff who held the fates of families living in the South Bronx in their hands. Juggling the children, families, staff, administration, and multiple funder or regulator needs was challenging. Yet for the most part, competent, effective, and supportive are words that I would have used to describe the way I functioned in that world.
The latest day in this life consisted of taking mom to be interviewed for Sizzling Seniors, a local cable show, multiple loads of laundry, a trip to the bank, grocery store, meal prep and clean up. It appears deceptively simple, who wouldn’t want this life. Spending time with an amusing, articulate, lively individual, a dream job, right?
Watching my mother on the stage, hearing the effort behind a once strong voice, with it’s new faded soft tone, listening from a new perspective reminded me once again of why I am really here. I am the witness to her descent. With each day the tide goes further out to sea, taking with it yet another piece of a woman who served her country in the military and then my family with her love, in her own stubborn, uncompromising, and dignified way.
Loving her with all my heart, I row. I row daily because it is a way to release a pain otherwise to burdensome to contain. After one dazzling season of learning to row in a quad, I have now spent an entire year rowing only indoors as life has required, to sustain, to remain, to continue to do what day to day becomes harder.
Living for the most part without disposable income is challenging, especially in the glaring light of well intentioned others who do not see the minutiae contained in each moment of the days that look so easy. I am employed full time, I work on a 24 hour shift with many breaks and mealtimes. It is a position that is paid in intangibles, an invisible currency that while not guarenteeing my fashion will be up to date, does ensure my future. And that future is reinforced everytime I go in the garage for even the smallest item, and smile at my shell, sitting on it’s slings dreaming of being on the water this coming spring.
Blessed Be. Beth