August 2019

Tonight my second floor is more or less tidy. I’ve washed my dishes, after a dinner of leftovers and steamed wax beans from the Ashfield farmers’ market, reminiscent of home in Western New York. Does anyone else call them wax beans? Can you buy yellow beans in stores?

My daughter left for her dad’s Friday after dinner. I dropped her off to an empty house where we piled her bags for back to school in the living room and I tried on things from her bags of clothing culled from her client’s closets, the remnants after Buffalo Exchange and Urban Exchange and my daughter took their picks.

I found a black tuxedo blouse, a pair of black sneakers, a black woolen circle skirt and a black fancy cropped jacket and tucked them in my car before saying good-bye to my girl with a warm hug and a kiss on her cheek and a text between her and her dad and stepmom who were hanging with the neighbors in their hipster hood, where my daughter would continue her evening.

For awhile I’ve been wanting to dance. Friday after dropping off my daughter I came home, changed clothes and headed to Boston Swing, where I’d been once upon a time with a date, a good dancer who guided me well enough I had wanted to go back. Friday nights there is a lesson at 8 and dancing until midnight.

I made it through the lesson and three dance partners before escaping near 10, not convinced I would be back, happy to have tried. It’s hard and takes courage for me to do these things alone.

That is life at the moment. It requires a fair bit of courage to break into new routines, to try things on my own, not to feel badly about being solo again, to find the joy in the experiences when they’re mostly mine alone.

Saturday I visited the farmers market, bought veggies and flowers for myself, maybe for a meal to share with my son and his partner, maybe for a salad for my day care staff, who I’ve promised pizza and for whom I might make a salad to go with it for our meeting Wednesday evening as we begin our new school year, one new staff person, one here six months, the other nearly six years.

This is the first school year in nineteen years I’ve started without my day care partner, who left suddenly last September. Its been a super hard two years. I’m hoping to come out of that trend this year, to find a new rhythm with new staff I hope will stick around, with mostly returning kids, with only one little guy and his parents entering this fall.

This is also the first school year I’m starting with none of my own kids at home, one of the few school years I’ve started without a life partner. I’m making up a lot as I go. I have fantasies of getting the house in order, of reading and writing more, of meeting someone new, of finding a new rhythm for two.

That takes courage, too. I’ve been trying in fits and starts this summer, reaching out, trying to connect. It’s pretty confusing, pretty hit or miss, pretty difficult, scary sometimes, exhilarating sometimes, affirming and discouraging, hard, tiring, and maybe not the right time yet.

Tonight the house feels good, if quiet, if I feel a bit unsettled. I’ve been away so much this summer. Even this weekend I was out a lot, running errands, walking and sharing a meal with someone new, spending last night with my sister on the Cape, sharing conversation, breakfast, walking and attending Quaker Meeting with her this morning, driving back in traffic this afternoon.

In between I’ve been trying to get the house in order, washing towels and bath mats and the shower curtain, clothes, day care laundry, dishes, cleaning out the fridge, tidying up the kitchen counters, cleaning the baths, finally folding up the tent and organizing the camping gear from our vacation, opening piles of mail, paying a few bills.

There’s lots more to do. I hoped to sort out my closets and armoire, to shelve piles of books, maybe to set up more book shelves in my room, to clear out and de-clutter, to make room for whatever comes next.

Instead of all that I took a short nap, read the New York Times, texted and e-mailed a bit with friends, listened to music, thought, sat down to write here.

Change requires rest and time and reflection as much as doing. I’m going to remind myself of that, hope to find my way without too much struggle, notice where I’m lead. Taking photos, writing, and quiet slow down my heart and mind and give me space to feel my way.

Thanks to whoever reads. I heard from a friend yesterday who expressed gratitude for my posts. I never know who reads. Not many do. Still I keep on, less than I used to, but still it feels like home here, eleven years this fall since I began!

Who knew my goal of starting a new school and my questions about how people learn would be the beginning of eleven years of writing and taking photos, of trying to understand my life and all that’s happened since here on this blog? Someday maybe I’ll go back and reread and polish a piece or two. For now, that’s not right for me. Writing my way into the future compels me more than rereading where I’ve been. How about you?

Today is the day I drip cherry jam on my pink skirt.

Today is the day my daughter sleeps in and I get up early to prepare for my first day as co-clerk of the Trustees Committee attending the Facilities Committee, lots of words to say, Today is the day I begin to take on a new responsibility at and for the Meeting. And I’m a little scared.

Today is the day I do three appointments in a row after the meeting.

Today is the day my two more experienced caregivers care for the children while I attend to other things.

Today is the day I return to writing here, after a long time away and yearning to be back.

Today is the day I remember other years: when my husband moved out at the end of August ten years ago, making a new home for himself and our kids, when I was alone after a summer apart from Richard three years ago, still missing him, shortly before we reunited for our final year, when I was starting a new job twenty seven years ago, before my children were born and I was a second grade teacher in Mansfield, getting my classroom ready and figuring out how to teach on my own.

Today is the day I put on a blouse and skirt, after days and days of shorts and tees and a day or two of jeans.

Today is the day I empty the dishwasher from Monday’s dinner with two of my kids and my soon to be kid-in-law.

Today is not the day I have lunch with my son, as I had done many Thursdays over the past year, when Thursday was a day we both had free to meet at a coffee shop and talk.

Today is not the day I drum with my drum circle, as it is the last Thursday for a long time my daughter will be home, as she leaves Sunday to go back to boarding school.

Today is not the day I meditate, do a little yoga and write for myself on paper at the little green desk in my son’s old room, mostly tidied up and freshly painted.

Today is the day I put my words here, more publicly, if tentatively, a bit unsure of what I have to say or share, also earnestly, wishing for an audience, perhaps, wishing to find my own way in words again as in the past I’ve found my way here, writing into a place I longed to be.