I bought two things in the last few months that were decadent (for me). Both are indulgences that I had wanted but put off, money being tight for most of the last few years and such purchases seeming, to me, unnecessary even if desired. The story of my first pair of Dansko shoes is a saga of its own. More than once I ordered and returned. (It’s true.) I had a particularly hard time looking down and seeing them on me after many decades of bulkier clogs, and once I finally decided to keep a pair, after debating for days, I walked to the car and promptly fell out of them on the steep slope of our hill. Home again, I took them off, again unsure, and kicking myself for having worn them outside only to be unable to walk in them! Today, they are my luxury. I love them as if they have always been mine.
For me to wax poetic about a pair of shoes seems out of character, it’s true. I will chalk it up to menopause.
The other purchase is even more ironic only in the fact that it took me so long. I am surely one of the most techy/geeky of people. I consider the iPad I share with the boys an indispensable part of my nights. And yet I didn’t have an iPhone. Not for lack of wanting one. I just couldn’t really justify it to myself. (Plus, I was super attached to the slideout keyboard of my old non-smartphone.) Debating about my iPhone purchase in the days before New Year’s almost pushed my family over the edge. But now… I could not be happier. I am like a fish in water far too long deprived. Why do I love it? Sometime I will count the ways. But last night, after getting up at 2AM to do my son’s glucose check and injection, I could not sleep. I tried and tried. So I grabbed my phone, and I browsed the app store for various ‘list’ apps I might try. (I’ve already sampled a bunch of blood sugar apps, and none of them is the way I would do it or really what I want. How I wish I could program my own!) I searched and then made a list and then, finally, I slept a few minutes before I was woken by a little boy at 4AM who knew suddenly his blood sugar was too low. After testing and drinking juice, I grabbed my phone and set a timer for the 15 minute interval before we needed to test again. In those few minutes, I slept. In this moment, little could possible be a better fit in my life than my new phone.
And I am thankful, very, that I bought it when I did. Had I waited another two weeks, I would not have felt able to buy it or justify it or the increase in my monthly service. That I did not order the treadmill I suddenly was determined I must have over the weekend, on the other hand, was probably fortuitous.
Several times recently, I’ve thought about an Ali Edwards post I read in November: “Ali Edwards: Ten Things I Am Thankful For Right Now.” At the time, I admired (as I so often do when seeing Ali’s work) the simplicity of the idea combined with the elegance and poignancy of its execution. In explaining the things for which she was thankful, the rest of the year came out, beautifully told. When I read the post, it was before the trip to the ER and the stay in the PICU. And that was before new threats to the financial and insurance stability on which families (even in good health) depend. Back then, I thought of what might make my list. It is a list, in its generic subheadings, that many of would approximate, each of us with our own nuances, differences, and reasons, overt or covert. Ali’s list was her own, and I found it a powerful piece to read. Despite the adversity it hints at, there is a thread of life, friendship, and wisdom that comes through–a list worthy of thankfulness.
As the year wound down and the new one began, I thought through the “markers” of 2012, the “big” things that would make a list around which the year seems to have taken its tenor, ebb, and flow. It’s not a rosy list, which is partly what kept me from making it. It contains things like a hit-and-run in July, nerve-wracking days without health insurance, and then the diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes for my son. It contains other things, too, some good, some disappointed, some lonely, some increasingly self-aware and resigned. More and more I realize I am too old for some things to ever change!
These lists have been on my mind. Despite the adjustments we are making to diabetes, the last few weeks were ones with moments in which I felt the glimmer of the me that once embodied the blog, the podcast, my sketchbook, my journals, and my quilts. After the fear of early December, the weeks during the holidays were light, positive, forward moving. There were many hours wasted dealing with prescriptions and pharmacies. There were shock-filled moments realizing how much insurance was saving on prescriptions. There were amazed moments at the cinema and, on a different day, at a major chain restaurant when we discovered there were no caffeine-free, sugar-free drink options. Airplanes, in my experience, always have diet 7-Up or diet Sprite. The same is not true on the ground! There were moments, but there was a kindling within, the edges of story new and different, but intertwining, connecting, blending with other threads and pushing to find a path.
What a difference a day makes.
Again, in the last few days, circumstances have changed. Things I feared would happen, have, indeed, happened. There is so much to worry about and so little recourse. I must be thankful, I suppose, that there were a few weeks for me to begin adjusting to the new diabetes routines and making it as “okay” for him (and all of us) as I can.
I do not know what this year will bring. I am saddened, shaken, and scared that it has started off as it has. It feels like a redo of the year before, but with added responsibilities that complicate and magnify everything.
One thing I know is that I have to write my way through it. I have to record what is happening, whether there are readers or not. For some, a cup of shared coffee offers the chance to connect and regroup. For others of us, those of us who dangle mostly alone, there must be some outlet, some way to disperse the weight, even if it only amounts to scattering grains of sand to the winds.
I have to write my way through.
And in that, I welcome the new year.
[The photo, snapped on New Year's Day as I took a bunch of blocks from various plastic baggies where they have sat waiting attention, represents blocks from a collaborative 2012 project. There is a lot of work needed to bring it into the shape I have in mind. But I like seeing these blocks on the wall. I agonized over the palette last year at the outset of the project. It was the right one.]
Guesses as to the color of my iPhone case?