This is not the way I expected it to be.
I feel like this is pretty much what should be written on the tee shirt I’ve been wearing for the last while. Finding a way to restructure the family, figuring out a new way to get the hang of all the changes, trying to let go, to move forward. I keep discovering myself standing in the middle of a something I’ve never lived before, usually with a trashed kitchen and a lot of laundry, one or more people in the family crying or laughing either literally or figuratively, and thinking “this is not the way I expected it to be.”
Grief, grandmotherhood, parenthood, taking down wallpaper – honestly, almost nothing is the way I expected it to be, for better or worse, and I am just so glad that at some point in my life I decided that flexibility (both physical and spiritual) was something I should try to cultivate, and I both went to yoga and tried to get down with new points of view. I admit, this has had limited success. I accept now that flexibility isn’t going to be the whole secret to happiness (although I swear it helps) and I am now convinced that the rest of it lies in what you choose to say right after you think “This is not the way I expected it to be.”
I’ve been trying really hard to be someone who sort of good naturedly looks at getting a surprise like that and thinks “Good golly I wonder what magic will happen next! Maybe we’re all getting lollipops!” but it turns out that the best I can do might be to surrender all hope of knowing what’s going on, all sense of being invested in my own expectations, and trying for a weakly uttered “Ok then. If someone will bring me a scotch while I take a bath, I think I can re-orient.”
Take today, for instance. Today is my fourteenth blogiversary. I have been sitting down at my computer/laptop/macbook for fourteen years, as of today, and writing to you about my knitting and my life and my everything, as often as I have been able. I am pretty proud of this. I love this relationship between us enough that in the days leading up to this blogiversary, I kept thinking about what I would do to celebrate. A big post. Maybe show you some beautiful pictures, maybe a long letter to you, telling you about the amazing impact you’ve had on my life, and what it means to all of us that you’re here. (I try to do this every year, because it’s a really hard thing to explain.) Then things changed, and plans got altered, and my sister and I played a game of WWMD (What Would Mum Do) and voila.
This blog post comes to you from a hotel room, where I’m by myself, having trouble connecting to the wifi, hotspotting from my phone at a cost of wool knows what, after a drive to Ottawa that should have been a simple mission, but wound up being a two day affair involving an ice storm, all so that I can be nearby and present for someone in hospital, only to end up sitting here, more or less quietly, realizing that the universe isn’t done with the edit to my family and that things are pretty hard here, and that I don’t mean to be vague, just to protect the privacy of someone else and it’s all really sad and ending up with… this is not the way I expected it to be.
I thought that my blogiversary would be different, but as I got to working up a good head of self pity, I realized that it’s actually sort of good, because Blog… when I thought of having a blog, this is not the way I expected it to be. I thought I would write, you would read and I don’t know what I thought would happen after that, but not this.
I never ever would have expected that after fourteen years, I would sit in a room by myself, a little bit lonely, trying to figure out my next move, realizing that there is no next move, just a simple endurance game, and the magic of showing up, and that what I really need is patience and strength and to hold right on tight and maybe to knit a bit… and to talk to my blog and realize in that moment that you, my blog, you make me less lonely, and one of you is always up, and you always know what to say when things are down, and wing of moth you are so funny, and…
This isn’t what I expected it to be.
Thank you for fourteen years of making this wild ride better. I love you, and I can’t tell you what it means that you’re there.
Now take a gratuitous picture of my grandson while I get on with it. See you tomorrow.
(PS. If you are feeling traditional, this is the day that donations to my bike ride in the amount of 14 dollars (or a multiple thereof) freaks the daylights right out of PWA. If I’ve entertained you $14 worth over the last fourteen years, let it rip.)