It’s morning. I’m looking around the house thinking about everything that I have to do and everything that I have to decide, from what clothes to wear today to what the heck I want to be when (or if) I grow up. You’d think at my age, these issues would be resolved. You would think I’d be wearing flowing dresses with grandchildren clinging to my skirts and Grandpa sitting in the rocking chair beside me.
Instead, I scroll through yoga poses trying to find one that I can do despite my degenerated disk, my CNS deficit, and the dizzy spells that eighteen specialists can’t explain. I watch the clock and contemplate whether there’s time for another cup of coffee before I have to jump in the shower and head to work. The level on the Bodum drip-pot grows lower as I shuffle from room to room, barely making a dint in the to-do list which somehow got neglected yesterday in favor of strolling around the yard and sitting on the porch with a lousy novel and cup after cup of sparkling water.
But I’m not complaining.
Listen: When I was eighteen, a doctor told my mother that I would be bedridden by 25. At 30, other doctors cautioned me that a pregnancy would kill both me and the child, and that I’d never carry a baby to term much less be a mother. At 44, a gaggle of white-clad men gave me six months to live. Along the way, each of those prognosticators met their own mortal veil, and I keep plugging. My son will be twenty-six in a few weeks. I stand on my own two feet, shaky but enduring. I remember what my mother constantly droned into my ear: If you walk every day of your life, you will walk every day of your life. So keep walking.
The weeds rise in the backyard while the grass out front staggers toward its inevitable July death. I stood beside the failing fence yesterday, admiring the tenacity of the hedge we removed twenty years ago which might require yet another round of poison. I realized that I have a lot in common with that burgeoning vegetation. I have no bloom. I do little good for anyone. Nobody invited me to the party. Yet I keep rising from the stony earth, with my tender leaves raised heavenward, drinking the sun and swaying in the heady fragrance of the evening breezes.
It’s the twenty-sixth day of the forty-second month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
Dedicated to my sister, Joyce Corley; and to Lori Hooten Roller. They know why.