Sometimes I disappear. For a few days or weeks things feel dark and heavy, and I become a turtle. I don’t say much on Facebook or Twitter. I don’t return calls or texts without hesitation. I don’t feel like visiting. Very literally, I cover up with this fleece Patagonia turtle blanket.
Sometimes it’s just a state of emotional being, but now it’s a state of physical being.
For all of my internal cussing and feeling ready to exercise several weeks ago, now I can’t stand or walk for long before there’s pain, so I sit quietly. There will be a surgery soon, but meanwhile, I sit. It’s perfect timing, since we’re all sitting through winter. Last week the kids were out of school for 5 days in a row. I sat. They ran amok. Inside, outside, sure, you can shoot arrows in the house.
Otherwise, things are very, very quiet. My boys play outside or go sledding with their dad or make appalling messes upstairs. I sit, and in that, I’ve captured some of the quiet things that give me joy.
This is my University of Evansville sweatshirt, circa 1997. Call it old; call it full of character; call it loved. The countless classes attended, mornings thrown on without a second thought, tears wiped, places called home, phases of shelving and pulling the old standard back out again.
The letters on the front are cracked. The style is large and boxy. If you forget how you wore sweatshirts in 1997, just remember Brenda from 90210.
These are my slippers. They are super cozy and stretched out because I often wear thick SmartWool socks with them. They may have cooking stains on them. The dog seems to think they smell good.
Imagine how many times feet must sleepily slide in and out of slippers to rub them bare. The children’s coughs that need water, the calls for mama, the shuffling downstairs for a forgotten blankie, the surreptiously wearing them to preschool dropoff.
It’s hard to believe that my first baby is now big enough, at age 8, to help shovel snow. He shoveled 3 inches of fresh powder by himself one day when my husband was at work and I was too hurt to do it.
I’m so thankful for the bits of growing green things in my house. Last month my dear friend Sarci and I visited a greenhouse together and I bought this Norfolk Island Pine. Walking through a greenhouse in winter is one of the healthiest things we could have done. The smell of dirt and living things, the humidity, the sun’s warmth intensified by taught plastic walling.
I highly recommend a dose of green for your winter blues. The homemade Valentines in the background don’t hurt a heart, either.
My life and I have fairly taken over my husband’s reclining chair and the table beside it. Pictured from left, clockwise: A Valentine, an Army figurine, my favorite handmade mug by my friend Amy at Mudroot Pottery, multiplication flash cards, a Chinese inspired lamp, Entertainment magazine, The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet, and a coaster that says Eat, Drink, and Be Merry.
Let me tell you, The Pillars of the Earth is not just a fabulous book. It also saved my sanity during a 7-hour ER trip. The idea of leaving those characters after decades of life together (their fictional decades; my real-time week) almost broke my heart.
When he came inside from the snow, this sweet face drank hot cocoa out of his favorite super hero mug.
Even when things hurt and feel dark, there is always the hope of a thaw and new growth. This reminder hangs across the room and is still legible, even when the sun reflects off the snow and glass.
What are the joyful things you see while sitting?