I’ve spent the day doing what I do: Answering e-mail, writing parenting plans, juggling comments from parents who don’t like how I’ve done my job as their children’s attorney, and eating piccalilli.
Before the week is out, I’ll be calling Katrina to beg for more of the stuff. My mother’s blood runs through my veins. She made her own, as did her father. I never learned the art but I still appreciate it, and my friend Katrina sends a jar my way every year.
Towards evening, I calculate that I’ve sent enough emails in my personal life and my work life that I can take a rest. I’ve even penned one missive recounting a time when I enthusiastically affirmed my desire to be the best possible version of myself. My earnest retelling garnered only silence. I sat in front of the inbox waiting for an acknowledgment. I should have known better. I’ve scrolled through years of email history looking for answers to my bewilderment but found none. In silence, I nonetheless understand that compassion flows like thick lava, lumbering downhill to my valley. I let it go.
My best self seems attainable now. Stripped of all artifice, I recognize that every man, woman, and child who has found me lacking in some essential quality will keep walking, trudging through that lava flow to the other side of the mountain. I find my peace on the river banks. I recognize that all this pain, all this loneliness and longing, this letting go — these coins of my realm pay for my re-entry into the world from the dark of my cocoon.
When the earth turns two more times, the work will be done on this house in which I’ve made a home for the last twenty-four years. I will be able to tender its keys knowing that I leave it better than I found it. In the meantime, I’ll keep hammering out the writing that my profession requires and my relationships demand. I won’t let go. From my perch at a tray balanced on a half-opened drawer in a Brookside kitchen, I’ll hold on.
It’s the twenty-eight day of the forty-seventh month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
Pink & Kelly Clarkson Perform: