Putting on a play
I have been so absent lately. It’s the logical, inevitable side effect of a week of evening activities, then a weekend full of catching up from the missed evenings, and then a week pressed with work deadlines. In the midst of it, I missed commemorating my seventh wedding anniversary and my sixth blog anniversary, and that bad blogger fog settled on me. You know, that feeling that you are behind, behind, and you will never catch up, and you are a bad wife for not writing a post about all the things you love about your husband of 7 years and posting a picture of you looking young and pristine in your white dress and then going over the stats from 6 years of blogging, and has it really been that long? Because, no. I could not bring myself to it because the weight of all of my immediate obligations weighed so heavily and urgently and I was still failing at a good portion of those, too. And I could see the priority of this little corner going down, down, and I knew that it was logical and inevitable, and I did not stop it, because I couldn’t.
But now I am in a beach house in a light blue room with white wainscoting and a silent ceiling fan. When I heard JG get up and go to the kitchen, I considered taking my book and going with him. But the thought kept tugging me, “Write, write.” And I thought, “I can’t. I’m so behind. No one posts on a Sunday. There is too much to consider. I haven’t made a list of posts to cover. I haven’t outlined anything.” But no matter: write.
So here I am. It is too early for the 17 other people in the house to be awake and boisterous, so all I can hear is my own fingers against the keys.
- – - – -
Yes, we are at the beach. The first of five days has elapsed, and I am already as brown as a Brazil nut. My camera survived its first trip to the sand with no major incidents, and I hope that I am not taking worse pictures than in other years. The 11 cousins-and-significant-others who are already here played games and watched Olympic Trials last night, and it was all very collegial and pleasant.
But right now, all I can think about is how very wrong it feels to be here without Mimi. I can’t extricate her from the beach; the 2 entities are too thoroughly enmeshed in my mind. The best example of how it all worked is that we would all go to this tiny clam bar for dinner at one point in the week, and we’d wait for maybe 2 hours to get a table for 18 or however many of us were there. And someone would always nudge her and say, “Do these guys all belong to you?” And Mimi would roll her eyes, with a kind of fake exasperation, and say, “Oh, yes.” All at once, she was the impetus and the focus of this beach week.
No one has mentioned her.
You will find me in the morning light
You will find me in the ocean’s tide
Every tear you shed for me we’ll leave behind
‘Cause I will take the long way home
My eyes filled with tears, and I blinked them away quickly so that JG wouldn’t notice.
We are in a different house than in past years, and I think it helps. There is the sense of a clean break, a fresh start, a moving on, a forming of new traditions, and that’s all fine. I don’t expect people to break down. It just feels odd. Like we are putting on a play and collectively ignoring the fact that our leading lady isn’t here.
- – - – -
I’m going to try and write during this vacation. It’s hard for me to remember that the time is also for me, and not just for me to put in time with the family. I need to get out of it what is good for me, like: sleep, food, reading, and yes, writing. And that’s okay.
But after we get back from the beach, I know that I will continue to fail in this way until I figure out (again! still!) what my new normal is with this job, and I am still frustrated and wringing my hands and fretting that I do not have it together yet. The reality is that I am doing really well in my job, and I helped our team get through a big deadline, and that is so good. But you guys know me. All I can see is my failure to clean off my dresser, scrub the bathrooms, exercise, spend quality time with JG, respond to e-mail, read what I want to, and write what is in my brain. Failure all around!
But this is self-defeating, and I will not defeat myself.