This is a test.

Yesterday morning unfolded like a cloud rolling through the sky in slow motion.  I scooted around the house in my soft slippers, sipping coffee and trying to suppress annoyance at the stumbling voices of the volunteers in the KCUR pledge drive.  Berries and yogurt, a long stretching session, write and send the WBRC Board meeting minutes, ten minutes in a hot shower, another ten to get dressed.  I walked down the driveway at 8:55 thinking, Where am I supposed to be this morning?

And realized that I had court at 9:30.

I drove the Prius faster than I should have to make the frantic drive to Juvenile Court, muttering to myself, Good God woman how can you forget a court appearance? At the red light near Operation Breakthrough I watched parents unload their babies without noticing the sweetness of the chubby kids, the strain of tired parents, the raggedy cars and wobbly strollers.  I jumped the light and my purse spilled onto the floor but I made it to the handicapped parking space on Cherry Street by 9:15.

The JO’s attorney called our case two hours and fifteen minutes later.  We finished putting the stipulation on the record at 11:40 and I headed for the restaurant to take my favorite brat, Miranda Erichsen, to a belated birthday lunch. Twenty-four years old!  I’m almost three times my secretary’s age.  Well, two and a half times, any way.  She sat next to Jenna Munoz, the estate lawyer in our office, and I took the bench across from them.  Together they did not total my age.  I realized that halfway through my kale salad and my disposition did not improve.  In fact, I think it sank.

I did more work in the four hours after lunch than I had done all last week; necessity being the mother of moving faster than the speed of aging bones can tolerate.  By 6:00 p.m., I sat in my driveway finishing a call to a faraway friend.  As we wound down our catch-up conversation, I admitted that I had grown so weary that I was not sure I could climb the driveway.  Call me when you get in the house, he admonished me.

A half-hour later, another friend called; I sank into a rocker to listen to the cheery cadence of his voice, thinking, I am one with this chair; I am one with this chair.  I nearly fell asleep twice during the conversation.  But luckily I stayed awake long enough for one last call, from my son in Chicago.

I tried to read before sleeping but my eyes would not cooperate.  The soft dark closed around  me and I thought, Am I old before my time? My time.  My time.

I have an eternal litany which keeps me going like the energizer bunny which I’ve been called.  It consists of all the medical predictions that I’ve gathered over my lifetime.  Some my mother repeated to me years after my body exceeded them; some I have heard first-hand.  Never walk again.  Bedridden by eighteen.  Dead by twenty-five.  Crutches all her life.  Wheelchair.  Six months to live.  

I made a list of all the things that I cannot do.  On the other side of the paper, I made a list of all the things that I have done which I had been told would be impossible.  At the top of the second list, Carry a child to term.  True enough, my one surviving pregnancy had to be taken six weeks early, but he turns twenty-five in three months.  I don’t use crutches or a wheelchair, though several doctors nearly make me sign a statement every year acknowledging that they cautioned me to do so.  My mother made  a prediction about me that has in fact come true:  If you walk every day of your life, you will walk every day of your life.

So keep walking.

It’s the twelfth day of the twenty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining.  I almost fell off the complaint wagon yesterday, but I passed the test.  I only cried a little.  Life continues.



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