TOP ELEVEN REASONS WHY I HAVE NOT POSTED â€œMAY DIARYâ€ UNTIL HALFWAY THROUGH JUNE:
1. My sonâ€™s service dog Stanley threw up seven times yesterday.
2. I broke my baby toe hanging up the laundry.
3. There is a buzzing in my ear that the doctor says is allergy-related, but acupuncture and allergy meds have not yet stopped it.
4. My son graduated from college and my daughter turned 21, cause for great and joyous celebration. Party prep, clean up and after-clean as well as delightful partying and ceremony took up a wonderful lot of time.
5. There have been multiple and varied other events, including but not limited to a 60th birthday tea party, a Cancer Connection party, a Forest Moon workshop, a premier screening of a Young Adults Advisory Council video, and Buddy Baseball every Saturday morning.
6. My son has been without an assistant for the past several weeks.
7. For a while it was too hot.
8. My four times a week writing workshops have ended for the summer so I am not writing regularly.
9. Thanks to my sonâ€™s former assistant who started doing crossword puzzles at our kitchen table before he relocated to Oregon, I have to solve the newspaperâ€™s puzzle every day
10. My daughter and I have been planting a vegetable garden after several years of not having one in the old garden spot by the compost pile.
11. There was a big storm yesterday with hail like mothballs thrown from some huge wind hands.
May 9, 2008
On a day like this, spring fever is a contagious disease that absents you from work or ordinary life just as surely as the flu or a cold.
Pink blooms on peach trees and white ones on the apple are like germs. Lilacs sneeze out their sweet fragrance while the earth coughs up asparagus spears and a profusion of violets.
There is no remedy but to just give yourself over as you would to the flu. But instead of taking to bed, the cure for spring fever is to take to the outdoors- to hie yourself over to the perennial garden for an inspection of the progress of the phlox and irises, bleeding hearts and peonies. Or to traipse through the meadow, plucking the last of the daffodils growing at the edge of the field where it meets the woods, planted in memory of a friend who died a decade and a half ago. Or to sit on the porch in the sun and rejoice.
True spring fever requires no work at all for its cure. Do not take up the rake to last yearâ€™s leaves still matted against the corner of the house. Do not grab a shovel and turn over the garden soil. Do not straddle a garden tractor and begin the first mowing of the grass.
You may let other more industrious folk tend to such matters. Those who have been vaccinated, perhaps, by vacations in warm places. Or those whose constitutions are stronger and can resist.
Know that you will one day soon be like these other sturdy beings. You will plant that garden, clean the outdoor furniture, rake the winterâ€™s silt. Maybe you will even wash windows!
But not today. Today you are feverish with the folly of spring. And on a day like this, all you can do is enjoy the delight of your befuddlement.
I am grateful. I am grateful to have all systems go in this life of mine and of my children. We are collectively experiencing good health, no financial crises, no emotional or spiritual woes, no major physical complaints. There were years when I could not have imagined this possible, this bounty of well-being.
As the grass grows tall and green and already in need of cutting, my son is wheeling towards his college graduation and my daughter is dancing towards 21. On Memorial Day weekend their paths will converge at the end of this arc of childhood.
We will have a party to celebrate and I will remember a party 21 years ago when our friends gathered in the shade of our big old sugar maple tree. I was 9 months pregnant and unable to eat. Wendy said, â€œThe baby is coming,â€ and by the wee hours of Memorial Day morning she was here, arriving into the world looking like a punk rocker with black hair that stuck straight up.
At this yearâ€™s Memorial Day weekend party, we will toast my daughterâ€™s birth 21 years ago and mark my sonâ€™s graduation after seven long years. It has taken him this long because attending class part time is all that his condition would allow. I am grateful.
There was a time when I sat on their beds in the middle of the night and prayed that I could be so blessed as to see these milestones. No, my prayers were not that specific. My prayers, 14 years ago after a diagnosis of breast cancer, were that I could live long enough to raise them.
And here we are. Time has passed as quickly as turning the pages in a family photo album. In a few flicks of the eye, my childrenâ€™s baby faces became gap-toothed then adolescent then full with young adulthood. My prayers, the prayers of this former cancer patient, crazy with desire to survive, have been answered.
My gratitude is beyond words. Even though I profess to be a writer, even though I lead workshops where I scribble on couches with other cancer survivors, or with those who are suffering loss, even though I gather with peers every other week to write, I am unable to find the words that express fully how deeply appreciative I am of this gift of life and of being able to share this auspicious weekend with my children.
I can only borrow from my son who said, twenty-one years ago when his sister was born, that he was so happy he felt like â€œclimbing a tree.â€
I would like to climb with him and my daughter up to the very top of the 200 year old maple that shades our house. I would like to sit up there with them at hawk level and look out over the Green River valley, south to Greenfield, north to Vermont, east to the hills of Leyden and beyond. I am sure that we can see all the way to the Atlantic Ocean from our leafy perch.
We will be on top of the world. We will feel our hearts soaring with the hawks. We will be there together to appreciate this momentous occasion in our collective lives.
We will breathe in a sense of accomplishment. We will breathe out joy. We will pause for a moment and take in fully the blessing of this spring light.
And then we will climb back down, back to earth and feet back on green grass, back to the phone calls and emails, to the garden waiting to be planted, back to the daily decisions and squabbles, the disappointments and happinesses, but bringing with us this moment of splendor, this moment in time that will settle into our beings with a golden glow.
I hope that this moment will stay with us, will be a place to visit, to return to when things in our lives are not always so auspicious, and we can breathe it in and remember, hold it close, and say â€œyes.â€
Â© Pam Roberts