Last week. Last week was something else. It was a lot. Not just a string of regular days. Rather, it was a string of stuffed days. And I’m not sure why yet, but I know it’s important for me to look back on those days, to write something down about them. To process them. Or to begin to process them.
Sunday 4/22. In the morning, I sit down to write something I have wanted to write for almost a year. Memories and emotion bubble up about a hard time in my life, a hard time that wasn’t long ago.
At noon, we take my big girls for their first haircuts. The tears are there. Behind my eyes. I hide them. I come home, sink into the couch, think of many things that happened the week before – my friend in the hospital, my friend who is in the middle of a terrible divorce, my friend whose mother had a breast cancer scare, my girls’ baby hair floating to the floor, my sister moving, my Dad being gone – and I succumb.
There are tears. I cry them in private. Into my pillow. I feel better. I feel. The hard thing, and amazing thing, about taking away your numbing tools? You actually feel everything.
Monday. Early in the morning, I hit publish. And I feel a surge of sunshine, and freedom. The response is immediate and extraordinary. The comments come all day long. I hear from people I know and those I don’t. Certain bits are said over and over: You are not alone. Thank you. Your story is my story. I attend a lovely Earth Day Celebration for Big Girl at Preschool. I stay up late that night – emailing people, thinking, writing, feeling – and hit the pillow hard, but I am literally smiling as I drift off.
Tuesday. A private lunch at the museum. We sit in a small room with a beautiful view and talk to research fellows about their fascinating and important work. We chat about bats and figs, about critical thinking and biodiversity.
That night, we attend the Tribeca Film Festival. We linger by the red carpet sipping our complimentary lattes. The film – Searching for Sugar Man – is breathtaking and bursting with wisdom. The story is unbelievable and there is a surprise live show after. I have a new favorite musician: Rodriguez.
Wednesday. Another lunch at the museum. This time it’s hundreds of people. We sit. Under that big and beautiful blue whale. I sit next to the man I love, the man I danced with under that whale seven-plus years ago. I think of our first song, its title still apropos, especially apropos, today – All I Want Is You. I roll new facts around in my brain – Teddy Roosevelt had upwards of 60 pets in the White House including a badger named Josiah. He was a caffeinated bloke; drank a gallon of coffee per day. He wrote books – plural – while he was president.
On Wednesday afternoon, we take Big Girl for Kindergarten Orientation at Dalton. We chase her around the school where my learning began. Her smile is small, but unmistakable. She leaves with a red “blast-off to Kindergarten” lollipop and a blue hat. I look at her, my tiny tiger, at the beginning of so much and my heart swells.
Thursday. In the morning, I publish a post about Dad. It’s a bit sad, a bit somber, but it’s real and I’m a fan of real. And I put it together only after the fact, but I publish these words on the very day I am due to attend a “cancer lunch” at NYU with Mom. I meet her there and am shocked to see it is a very intimate gathering of promising NYU cancer researchers and top members of the American Cancer Society. I sit there in my twirling chair, eating my humus, sipping my Diet Pepsi, amazed and utterly thankful that people out there are working so hard and thoughtfully to fight this dreaded disease. We tour research labs, winding between young people in white coats, trays full of beakers. It is all nothing short of incredible.
On Thursday evening, we attend my godmother‘s art show in Chelsea. Her paintings are beautiful, as poetic as the words that inspire them.
Friday. In the morning, I post a story to my blog. A true story about life and love and my family. A story about my niece, about listening to life. And, again, I am blown away by the responses. The kind words. The stories. The exquisite human sentiment.
Saturday. I ferry the big girls to back-to-back birthday parties. There is the standard fare of cake and chaos, balloons and mighty sugar-soaked smiles.
In the cab between parties, we zoom along the West Side Highway. My girls get weepy and car sick, but I roll with it, cracking the windows to usher in air. And soon. Their hair is tangled with “car wind” and they are both asleep. And I look down at them, slumbering so sweetly, on me and against me, and I feel something elusive and utterly profound.
I finagle my phone from my bag and take pictures of their legs in those itty-bitty skinny jeans. Something that never ceases to make me smile.
Homeward bound from party #2. They skip ahead of me with their matching purple balloons.
On Saturday evening, eight of my high school friends come over with their husbands. We sit around and talk and laugh and remember. We eat jelly beans for appetizers. The fancy-ish catered food quickly runs low and so. We order pizza. It comes in its cardboard boxes and we dive in.
Sunday. In the morning, we huddle on the floor, all five of us Rowleys in our pajamas, and work on a 100-piece princess puzzle. We go out in the garden even though it is cold. Big Girl tapes errant flower petals to a piece of paper. Little Sister – wearing that blue quilted coat that both her sisters once wore – toddles around, a grand smile on her face, cheeks pink from the chill. Middle Girl does her Middle Girl thing; twirling wildly, flipping sloppy somersaults on our new outdoor couch. Husband and I navigate the channels of our beautiful chaos clutching coffee cups, trying not to spill.
Around 9am, I put my baby in for a nap. I shower. And then I sit. At the little desk in my bedroom. In my bathrobe. I sit. And soak. And turn to the screen. To this place. I go back, day by day, and I begin to process them, my days, my week, all of it. In the happy haze of retrospect, it feels like a big week. I don’t know what that means, but it means something. And so I process it.
And I am still processing.
And one thing keeps slapping me, one small sentence. A theme, perhaps.
It feels good to feel.
I want to thank you guys. For coming here, for reading my words. This is an important time for me. I literally feel myself changing and maybe that sounds odd or dramatic, but I mean it. I feel like I am in the throes of some kind of evolution/transition I will only begin to understand and make sense of when I am able to look back on it, these days, these weeks, this year.
Anyway, I know this is getting a bit long and unwieldy, but again: thank you. For being here, for reading, for responding, for letting me feel.
Do you allow yourself to stop and feel things? Are you disciplined about sifting through your days and considering what happened during those days and what those days mean? Do you understand what I mean when I say it feels good to feel? (Because I am not sure I do.)