The first couple of days that Grace was here I had to push my sluggish body into keeping a baby's schedule and crawling around on the floor. I heard my knees pop a couple of times. My hip made a few cries for mercy as I tried to multi-task while holding a squiggly baby. By the third day I think I got my groove back. My arms remembered how to enfold a baby as if the memory was embedded in the unused muscles. Rocking soothed me as well as the baby. Tiptoeing past the sleeping baby's room reminded me of quietude's sweetness. Old pleasures returned as Gracie experienced new things. Watching a little girl learn to pull herself up and wobble on unsteady feet. Listening as she discovered her song by beating on a Tupperware tom tom with a wooden spoon. Repeating words like kit-tee, ma-ma, G-Pa and Hallelujah Jesus! to help build her vocabulary. Okay, so she didn't quite catch on to Jesus words, but she did laugh whenever we shook our hands in the air. That's a good start I think. As I reconnected with the glories of caring for a baby, I think my heart came alive again. I felt useful, no longer at wit's end about what my life's purpose might be.
I don't know if it's coincidence or not, but Dad has been on my mind a lot lately. It sounds goofy and spooky, I know, but I swear he stood behind me one night as I washed the dishes. Ashley mentioned his name and a door moved as if he walked in to say hello. I look around at "his" house and think if he weren't already dead, he'd probably die at the changes I've made and things I've left undone. The garage alone would send him into cardiac arrest. I know none of the things I worry about are major things, more like little nuisances that build up to a big headache - or in my case a heartache. Last week after Johnson pointed out that the roof needs to be replaced, the siding has holes in it, the driveway is cracked, the window seals are dried out and outside light fixtures are fire hazards I felt myself growing angrier by the minute. Angry and not the least bit grateful for a house with any kind of roof, and air conditioning that works in record breaking heat. Being angry at a dead person is not the most productive use of one's time or energy. Being angry like that always leads me to the blues. I couldn't be blue while Gracie was here, but I sure slid into a funk after she left.
I guess I'm still in transition. And I am beginning to realize it's not good for me to have too much time on my hands. I may tire easily when "working" but it's a good tired, not an emotional one. So I pulled out an old resume yesterday to see what it will take to make it presentable to future employers. I'm pretty sure I'll need a fairy godmother to wave her magic wand over it to bring it up to speed. The caregiving field is probably my best bet, yet for some reason I shy away from it. Fear is involved. Fear I haven't figured out yet. Fear I held at bay while Grace rested in my arms because my abilities spoke for themselves.
Dad kept a journal of everything he did in his house from 1962. I read it yesterday to figure out the age of the roof, etc. Why does it come as a surprise to me that this house still belongs to him? It's his history, not mine, although mine is entwined in many ways. Do I expect too much of myself when I try to turn his 60 year achievement into mine in only 18 months? Is it reasonable I can turn 16 years of stay-at-home caregiving into a job that will fit into a technological savvy world where a degree or knowledge of I-things and Excel are pre-requisites?
Maybe what I need to do is talk to the scared Little Me. Maybe we need to sit in Grandmother's chair and rock for a little while. Then maybe I will encourage myself to stand up on wobbly feet until I get my balance, and let go of the couch to take a tentative step into the open space in front of me.
Wishing for you trust in your abilities,