Sunday, April 19, 2009

It's (Almost) Time to Open the Doors

We live in a drafty old house with high ceilings; in the winter, we don’t heat all of it. We’re getting to my favorite time of year when it’s time to open all the interior doors again. I love this house in the spring and summer, when one room pours into another and the lines of sight are expansive. Michael, always in charge of our use of resources for heating and cooling, hasn't yet opened up the house, but it cannot be far off. The wildflowers he and Shea planted last fall are blooming in our front yard so we have flowers beyond the daffodils and crocuses. Even better, I’m listening tonight to the April showers that are bringing us May flowers. (Does anyone other than old people say that any more?)

April’s schedule makes it hard to tell if we’re coming or going. The price paid for being over-tired is clearer all the time and, since I don’t like anything about it, skill at managing my energy is improving by leaps and bounds. Except that I still want to do more than is apparently possible. How can it take this long to get back to what used to be? The travel of the last few weeks has had a cumulative wearing-out effect, so Saturday, for the first time in a long time, I did not a lick of work all day. The day was frittered away napping, web-surfing, reading newspapers that had accumulated, doing laundry, napping some more, snacking... and then the day was gone. It was peaceful and very quiet. Michael and Shea were off looking at colleges, so other than talking to the dogs (and Michael on the phone, but he is a man of few words, so those were short conversations), it was quiet here. I wouldn’t want to spend every weekend that way, but it surely did help me regain balance. Good thing, too, since this week brings more travel. Did I mention that I might have over-scheduled April by a wee bit?

In Michigan, a woman at the reception after the event (that’s the one in which someone with my book in his lap had to remind me what I was trying to say) chided me for what she perceived as my minimizing having had brain surgery. I’ve been thinking about that on and off ever since, and it seems like a bad rap. After all, here we are more than seven months later, and I’m still not functioning at full capacity. No one is more acutely aware than I about what the effects of this adventure have been. (Well, let’s be fair about this: it’s entirely possible that Michael is.) The possibility of losing myself in the surgery was very real, and it was scary. On the other hand, we don’t get to choose what happens to us, only how we respond. What purpose is served by making this more than it has been? There was a tumor, it needed to come out and the only direction we had to go was forward. No one said “wanna go back before you got a tumor and try not to grow it this time?” At least, if they did, we missed it.

Maybe my feelings are defective? Or my sensors? Maybe I don’t feel enough what’s happened, or intellectualize it too much or... whatever. I can only experience this as I have, and for me, once the result was known, that they got it all and that it was benign, the drama part was over and what was left was the hard work of recovery and cultivating patience and grace. Those efforts haven’t been a totally unqualified success, but the process has been interesting and even fulfilling in a lot of unexpected ways. What else would have created the paragon of patience and calm I now am?? “They” say it takes weeks to months for adults to learn new habits and burn new neural circuits to support them. You cannot say we haven’t practiced our new habits with a vengeance.

As I told that reporter, if you leave aside the brain tumor part of this, it’s been a good experience. We feel more connected than ever with the many truly fine people we know and we’ve experimented with a new pace of life. We like it. (Well, most things about it.) And, it’s spring. Almost time to open the doors. Cheers.

No comments:

Post a Comment