I start writing; I quit writing.
I start; I quit.
Start; quit; start; quit.
Eh. That’s okay. I mean, it has to be, right? So of course it is.
I feel mostly like I’ve found my groove again . . . everywhere except for here. Because here? Well, here is where I’ve typically come to do my overwriting about all my overthinking. Which makes it hard to not think too much. Which makes it hard to write.
Really, I haven’t been starting and quitting so much as just allowing myself to get washed away in distractions. And life with The Four-Why-Oh? FULL OF DISTRACTIONS.
My sweet, beautiful, charming child has some kind of rhyming disorder.
It goes like this:
“Mama, dog rhymes with hot dog!!”
“Well, yes . . . but not exactly. It’s the same word, ‘dog’ and ‘dog.’ Dog rhymes with log. Or bog. Or hog.”
“And hot dog!!”
And that’s one of the better examples. In the months (MONTHS) of her not-quite-always-rhymathon there has also been:
Me: “I had a thought, but then I forgot it.”
She: “What did you think, Mama? You had a thought but forgot it. HEY! THAT RHYMES! Thought and it!”
So achingly close. So not rhyming.
Several times a day she pronounces something as rhyming. Girl is trying.
Sometimes she gets it right:
“Sung rhymes with lung! Mama, what does lung mean, again?”
“Kite rhymes with . . . LIGHT!”
And then other times . . .
“Mama!! You know ‘goning’? Like gone, but goning? It rhymes with yawning!”
I had to applaud her creation of a word to get to a rhyme. After all, I sometimes make up words for no purpose whatsoever. My kid? She makes them up to create rhymes. She’s so deliciously weird.
She, this blazing source of sunlight in the last couple of months.
It’s hard to know how much she understands and how much is stuck in her central processor, bouncing around and around and around between her ears.
A few days after Daddy died, we passed a car like his in town.
“Hey! That looks like PaPa’s car.”
“You’re right. It does.”
“Why didn’t he take his car with him to Heaven?”
“Well . . . I don’t think he needs it there.”
“Yeah. He’s probably riding a horse there.”
I don’t think my dad ever in his whole life rode a horse. At least not ever in mine. But, sure, why not?
She had some questions early on, questions about ‘why was PaPa too tired to stay here any longer’ and ‘why was PaPa so sick’?
I’ve tried to answer her honestly, but in a watered down, preschool-level version of the truth.
At first, and I mean the day after Daddy died, I kind of panicked about what I was going to tell her. How would I explain her grandfather suddenly being gone? I read through every one of the whole TWO books available at the book store about explaining death to a child. Not helpful.
My panic was unnecessary. She hasn’t grilled me on death or dying or what comes after or why it happens or any of the big, hard questions that I guess I expected, accustomed as I am to her typically relentless interrogation style.
She’s taken it so easy on me, gently spreading her questions over the weeks, sometimes letting them dangle in statements.
Me: “Who loves you, baby?”
She: “You, and Daddy, and BeBe . . . and PaPa. Except he’s in Heaven now. And we can’t call him because he doesn’t have a phone. But we can talk to him . . . .”
Me: “Yup. He loved you a LOT. And we can talk to him any time we like.”
She: “Also MeMe and Pa love me. And Aunt Kearby and Cousin Brandon and NaNa and Holty Holty and . . . .”
And she’s known, somehow, just when to move in beside me, just when I needed a lift.
Like at the end of May, when one evening I was in the kitchen alone and was caught off guard by a wave of grief. I sat down beneath the sink, hidden from view by the island, head bowed over my arms, tears quietly falling. Not even a minute passed before I felt her snuggle up beside me.
“Mama, you don’t have to miss PaPa.”
“Why is that?”
“Because I’m pretty sure he’s just looking down and watching us.”
Yeah. Me, too.
She’s my little sunshine.
Not my only sunshine, though.
In recent weeks I’ve been randomly sunshined by a variety of sources.
One group of girlfriends, knowing of the therapy that has been working in my yard this year, sent me off to a local nursery with a generous gift certificate. (Basically? They sent me to therapy. Bless them.) I’ve been digging and planting . . . and, somewhere in there, healing I think.
And then a different group of girlfriends left a huge basket of sunshine on my doorstep last weekend.
It was packed with kind words, sweet treats, fun indulgences, and silly just-becauses–all in bright yellows and oranges, like the sun.
And on another day I found a book in my mailbox, the note signed simply, “A friend.”
One thousand gifts. This book, an abbreviated version of the author’s journey in chronicling one thousand gifts, one thousand blessings.
One thousand gifts.
In one place the author writes:
“I am bell and He is sure wind, and he moves and I am rung and I know it for what it is . . . .”
I am bell . . . and He is sure wind.
My friends are bells.
“A friend” is a bell.
My child, a bell, most definitely.
I recognize it in them, their bellness, although I don’t always recognize it in myself. Don’t always hear my ringing. Don’t always see me for whose I am.
Sometimes maybe I fight the ringing. Out of stubbornness or pain or anger, I resist making the kind of noise for which I was designed.
Oh, but He is sure wind.
All I need do is ring freely.
Quit worrying about the sound, whether it comes off as senseless, tuneless clanging;
quit worrying that if I write about grief I’ll miss writing about the joy;
quit worrying that if I write about the joy then I skip past writing about the grief;
quit starting and stopping, starting and stopping,
and just ring.