Photo: I’m sure there is a perfectly good explanation for why the yard has disturbed places like this. However, my whimsical mind wants to believe the fox and other animals had a dance around the dormant fire pit last night, enjoying a quieted world and a clear sky. I took this photo this morning, and good thing I did. Right now, my yard is covered in a half inch of snow.
I’ll tell you what: it’s mighty difficult to get creative when the world is covered in yet another blanket of snow. It’s charming and adorable or whatever around the holidays. It’s sufferable during the designated “cold” months. I know that I wrote about trying for awe and finding my appreciation for the winter season. I had my moments. But now, it’s Spring. I fiend for color.
The cherry blossoms are out back home. There were live streams of the bloom on my facebook feed. I shed a tear or two every single year when I see them. It feels so unfair that the rest of the universe gets Spring and we’re all sitting up here just waiting and waiting. Spring is the most unsatisfying of the New England seasons: it’s not as colorful as in other places, it’s certainly not as warm, and it’s brief. Summer does indeed come and it is glorious and it lasts. Autumn is the beloved season. Winter is powerful and long in duration, it brings on the “heartiness” everyone around here is so proud of. Winter earns you something. But Spring? It’s just so terribly meh.
Ok, ok… I’m sorry, I’m bitter. That was all bitter talk.
Truth be told, bitterness has been the main feeling of the week. I was planning a lovely beach vacation at the Outer Banks in July and it has to be cancelled. I was so desperate for a “real” vacation that I decided to plan one with my in-laws, with each of us investing a pretty penny but getting a week in a luxury ocean-front beach house as a result. My in-laws aren’t my favorite people, but anyone can be endured when sun, beach and booze are present. Besides, the boys would be able to spend the week with their cousins. It was going to be pretty magical for them and thus tolerable for me.
Well… my brother-in-law decided to blow up his marriage. Without getting too much into the catastrophic details, it’s a complete and total mess. The four children that my brother- and sister-in-law produced are displaying signs of trauma. My brother-in-law is on a kamakaze mission for his life. My sister-in-law seems to be paralyzed.
Exposing my two children to that would be incredibly irresponsible. That’s assuming the brother- and sister-in-law even make it to the beach, which I don’t think they would. But let’s just say they made it. It would be so irresponsible to expose my two boys to that.
I said as much in a carefully worded email to all parties. I detailed the money, the prospects and, most importantly, the exposure of this adult situation on the children–4 of whom are already being exposed, 2 of whom have not, need not and should not be.
The response was, frankly, incredible: My mother- and father-in-law want us all to go down to North Carolina and play pretend. “Is it so hard to believe we can do this with good behavior? If we can, all the kids will benefit.”
I have been waiting for wisdom for well over a decade. It has yet to be found.
The Husband has decided to remain as neutral as possible. As you can imagine, him not standing on the same shore as I am is causing a bit of tension. But that’s okay because:
I’m thinking clearly.
My name is on the lease.
I’ve got the power.
This ish is canceled.
We all lose our deposit. If I act fast, we might not be liable for the remaining portion of the vacation that we still owe. No matter what though, the most heartbreaking thing about it all is that I have to tell my two boys they aren’t getting the big beach vacation we were all looking forward to. We all really could have used the R&R. I’m pissed they are being punished because my brother-in-law is the worst kind of person. (All 6 of the children are suffering here. His children most of all. It’s just… disgusting… what my brother-in-law has done.)
My Quiet Thoughts this week are about fighting the good fight. I told the few people I’ve given the full story to that I feel like one of those people on a corner downtown holding a sign that says “The End Is Near.” Everyone is treating me like I’m crazy. No one wants to listen. No one wants to see me. But I know. I know, Dear Reader. It’s a crappy, stupid position. All I’ve been trying to do is the right thing.
Fighting the good fight is hard, it’s often thankless, and many times it ultimately comes with more loss than gain. But, my God, it’s still worth fighting. What matters is that we show up and say our piece, serve our blows and, yes, even take our licks. Some of us are fighting good fights that are extraordinarily public and require bravery and risk. Others of us are fighting private good fights, that come with risks that are more intimate, but just as important. To boldly stand between my two young boys and the absolute insanity happening in the family is worth every ounce of the fight.
I’m here for it. I know my ideas have consequences. I’m here for it all anyway.
It’s an evening after a daytime snow. The sun is setting in a glorious concert of orange and purple on the western horizon. The half-inch or so of snow that fell is already melting off of the trees and roofs. The cold remains, outstaying its welcome, but it will leave. We know it will. I had two encounters with my fox this week. The kits must be impending or just born. He saw me and my boys, ran away, but always stopped to watch us. “I knew your mama and probably your mama’s mama,” I told him. “We’ve a long accord. Don’t worry about us. Take care of your babies.” He watched us and we walked on. I can’t wait to see the babies emerge from under the barn when the weather gets a little warmer.
It’s Friday, Dear Reader. Fridays are inevitable, but some of them are hard won. This is one of them. It’s a Friday to stop and breathe, to assess and retool. I have wishes for that, because Fridays are for wishes. May a few come true for you, Dear Reader. First, I wish you color. Lord, I wish you so much color, Dear Reader. Head out to a florist if you have to. Get a bouquet and bring it home. Find something alive and blooming and beautiful this weekend, Dear Reader, and treasure it. Matter of fact, I wish you two kinds of color: the living and the created. Head to an art museum or dance studio or theater if you can this weekend, Dear Reader. Even if it’s a free public performance somewhere at a mall, I don’t even care: experience color this weekend, Dear Reader. Be the Spring we’re yearning for! I wish you colorful food, too: light and fresh plates filled with tender new veggies. Indulge in the deep flavors of roasted meat (observing too, of course, the rich color), but try to balance that deep winter taste with something new and fresh from this season. Give in to the temptation of a pastel pastry made with enticing spring color schemes. I wish you balance, so if we’re exciting the senses of sight and taste, do stimulate your ears as well: a new audiobook, a new album, simple birdsong through an open window. Ah, I suppose I must wish you touch as well: I wish you a hug that is tight and warm that lingers for a good moment. We all need one of those.
When you’re fighting the good fight, I believe your light shines at its brightest. You are so loved, Dear Reader, and there are people who admire you more than you could possibly know. Even when you aren’t able to share your fight and no one else can help you, it doesn’t mean you aren’t seen, and it doesn’t mean that what you are doing doesn’t matter. Fight on and shine on, Dear Reader. Be the example so others will feel brave enough to do the same.
Until Monday, Dear Reader, take care.