I have been telling Haley to pay attention to every single thing in her day. “Walk from your math class to the bathroom and pay attention to every little thing you notice because it’s the details that will make you a good writer because they are YOUR details and no one else can take that same short walk and have the same experience.”
Yet, I have had a writers block for two days (quite possibly because everything around me seems to be falling apart) so I am going to take my own advice, pay attention, and start here.
I started the week by wearing a sweater that I bought from TJ Maxx. The pattern looked like this:
Sean said it looked like I had been raped by a seagull.
I packed school lunches, again and again:
and on a terrible night of a terrible Tuesday, I made these:
Which all the kids loved and made me wonder why I ever bother with fancy recipes when they are happiest with hamburger meat under the broiler.
Tuesday was terrible for a million reasons, none of which I remotely feel like getting into here, but I will say that the day tugged at my heart a lot and I knew I did not want to talk or write about any of it, so I just texted Susie, who is the only person in the whole world that I can just complain to and she does not try to fix it or change me or tell me all of the reasons I shouldn’t choose x, y, or z. She just agrees that some days are like that and jokes about my new “rock bottom”. If you don’t have a best friend, you should get one. Find one, make one somewhere, and no, of course it cannot be your husband or your mother. Get a girlfriend. A GIRL FRIEND.
On Monday, the theater director rushed up to Luke and was freaking out that one of his characters had laryngitis and might Luke be able to quickly learn the lines and show up for an all night dress rehearsal and possibly opening night. Luke was elated. He has not been in a play for almost a year now and when he got into costume and make up and the lights hit him he told me, “Mom, it was like, “I am home.” But on Tuesday, the laryngitis went away and the other kid was back (a kid, who I am sure is a perfectly wonderful boy, but from now on I will decide to secretly scrunch my nose at). I had totally prepared Luke for the laryngitis magically disappearing, but I did forget to prep myself and so my heart dropped and flipped and I got teary at a faculty meeting thinking about how Luke would not be in this production. My dad reminded me that Luke is “loved and healthy and growing,” and so I tried to push it out of my mind, but I still cried when I thought about the chicken sandwich that I made him for the second long rehearsal that he never got to go to.
Here is Luke, performing as Hal (the lead, the lead, the lead) in Picnic last year:
Last year, when we went to this play, tulips were already in bloom and it was sunny. It has been raining here for over a week and I love the rain (except for the part where the bottoms of my jeans stay wet all day, after stepping in the many parking lot puddles). I love waking up and it is dark and stormy and to the noise of wet tires. I like driving at the end of the day and watching children trace window drops with their fingers, pink raincoats, peeking out of back seats. The rain, does however, make a heavy heart even heavier, and I am just finding myself, I think, in what might be a midlife crisis. Life is in speed mode and I am panicking about never really accomplishing anything big, panicking about never having traveled, panicked about our old, crumbling, messy house.
I am torn about what to do with my life next and I cannot sleep or sit still or focus long enough to make a move. A cliche, but it is like the song Landslide, and if I close my eyes, I just picture myself as Stevie Nicks in a shawl, spinning in circles, singing about faces in mountains. I almost applied for a job in Kenosha, a job I would likely get, because it paid a shit load of money, and then I thought about driving to Kenosha everyday and just got sick to my stomach. I don’t want Kenosha. I want a well lit, sunny studio over a garage. It has fresh flowers in it, new ones everyday and when I walk in I hear faint wind chimes and percolating coffee. I want a studio dog and fancy soap, a place to write and draw, and greet friends. And I want, in that space, to earn a lot of money. A lot of money.
In between all of my hemming and hawing, Lizzie decided to tryout for a musical. Awhile back, she was humiliated in a music class and since then, has not sang in public. She sings and hums every two seconds at home, but if I go to see her at a school concert, she stands like stone cold medusa and mumbles now and again. I could tell, though, that she really wanted to sing for her teacher. She spent nights youtubing clips of the song, watching others perform it. I heard her singing it in the bathtub, in the back of the car, in front of the mirror. When I picked her up from school today, she jumped in the car and was beaming and said, “Mom, MOM! I did it! I faced my biggest fear and I did it and guess what? She clapped and clapped and was so excited and even called me back later in the day to do it again and she said ‘Where did that come from?! You are amazing,” and Mom, MOM, do you know what that means? It means that maybe I really can do this. It means it is in me.”
Even my food is talking to me. Pay attention, pay attention, pay ATTENTION Kelly.