Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jack Spratt and his Wife Embark

We’re off today, and life is feeling pretty good. In contrast to some years in the past, it seems--right now at least--as if we’re going to achieve a departure without last-minute goings on. We’ll see if the center holds. In fairness, we’ve both improved in our preparation systems and, as we’ve aged, gotten much more able, as a team, to function in advance of deadlines, so the last few years have had little drama at the end. Something yesterday brought to mind a year in which Ernie was taking us to the airport; he sat quietly and thought his own thoughts (thankfully not shared out loud with us) while we rushed about trying to get suitcases and girls ready at the last minute. Having those years behind us is a gift--the rushing about at the last minute part, not the girls part. Watching as a stream of photos ran by getting imported into iPhoto recently brought back just how magnificent it was to have little girls. Having big ones is good, too!

Otherwise, I’m feeling big and clumsy. I did something to my knee a while back, though I’m not sure what (see earlier remarks). It was improving and on its way to being forgotten when one of the dogs (never Hattie, who is so coordinated and athletic, but Sophie) smashed into it trying to get away from a noise that startled her. Or something. It’s sometimes a little hard to tell with Sophie just what makes her skittish at any given moment. Anyway, that re-aggravated it, so it’s back swollen and sore. The combination of that and getting out benadryl for Shea to give it to Sophie all summer reminded me of what life was like last year at this time. I was unsteady on my feet, and as the summer progressed, began to fall down more and more. It was disconcerting to say the least. Plus, the summer featured a lot of benadryl for what, at the time, we thought was allergies and congestion. One thing’s for sure: we have accumulated a great deal of evidence suggesting that benadryl does not cure brain tumors.

While I’m limping around, Michael is, of course, lithely weaving his way through all the mess. The contrasts between us are strong. I know this isn’t a novel thought for many of you. Many times over the years, in one form or another, people have wondered, some quietly, many out loud, about how this partnership of so many differences can work. (Note how charitable I’m being, as this so often gets expressed in terms of compassion for Michael, and that’s not coming up here. Very much.) It’s true that we couldn’t be more different across most dimensions: temperament, physical grace, interests, you name it. He’s calm, I’m wound tight; he’s deliberate, I’m quick; he’s good with numbers and machines and let’s just say, charitably, that my strengths lie elsewhere. He’s also disorganized and STILL hasn’t found the most recent brain scans showing the filled tumor void and no recurrence; while falling down recently, the desire to look at that again has become strong, to reassure myself that it really is just clumsiness and not a reprise of last summer. He says he’ll find it soon.

Whatever. Whether it’s in spite or because of the differences, it is a great love story, as we’ve had, since we first met, a connection to each other that is powerful, enduring and always growing. Amidst all our polarities, we’ve always been on the same wavelength about values, raising children and money, items that hang up so many couples. Thus, holding hands, we prepare to go off on our great adventure.

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