days like these

The other day was one of those days in a week that was one of those weeks. Steve (not his real name) came home and we ate supper and then I simply had to get out. Ever notice that sometimes in order to want to come home you have to leave for a while? Like peel-out-of-the-driveway leave? And kickin’ up gravel in a mini van is so totally cool, in case you’ve never had the pleasure. Once I had proceeded into the wild blue yonder and found nothing satisfying on the radio, I popped The Fresh Beat Band CD out of the player and shoved in the first thing I laid my hands on that was recorded with adults in mind. It happened to be Ten by Pearl Jam. I kept turning up—louder and louder. And louder. And—need I say?—louder. I could just feel the tension draining from me. The experience prompted this Facebook status update:

After a day like today (and a week like this one ... ) sometimes you need yoga. And other times it's Pearl Jam blasting in the mini van on the way to Market Basket. Today was the latter. God gave rock and roll to you ...

Life has grown a little too real as of late. I almost didn’t write a post this week because there seems to be gravity every direction I turn and I thought that anything I could possibly say would fall short or somehow trivialize reality. Surgeries and serious illnesses and a child who seems to have inherited his mama’s troubles with anxiety, manifesting in it’s own complex, convoluted pattern. People who are suddenly facing their mortality which cannot help but turn the head towards the fragility of life.

It’s a fragile thing, this life we lead ...
Pearl Jam

I love that line. I love that song. It is fragile. Not only our mortality, but the ways we perceive ourselves and others, our dreams, our hopes, the illusions we hold. Our hearts. The ways in which we hold each other mean everything. The way you hold the ones you love best (who are often those you take most for granted), the friendships that uphold you, the ways we hold our children. That might be most fragile one of all. The ways we hold the strangers with whom we share our communities, our countries, our planet. All delicate. Brittle glass, tender petals, thin skin. How do you hold these?

I’ve been thinking a lot about that.

By the way, don’t be fooled by the narrow glimpse into my life I provide here because I get it wrong all the time—shards of broken glass around my toes. But I try to hold tight to the moments I recognize the light.


The other night when I had to leave home for a while in order to want to ever be there again, I figured I’d better go ahead and pick up a mocha at Starbucks. I really needed that mocha, let me tell you. The Starbucks kid informed me that they were out of mocha mix. My face must have reflected my dismay.

I said, “Oh, I really wanted one. I have had the hardest day.”

“How bad was it?” he said.

So bad.” That was the most I could muster.

“Okay,” he said. “I’ll open up tomorrow’s supply. Shhh ... “

“Really?” I said.

Then he made me a venti and only charged me for a tall. Never, ever underestimate small kindnesses. Ever.

So on a night I had to leave home for a while in order to want to ever be there again, I did go home and I looked at my sleeping children. I fell asleep holding my husband’s hand. I will remember to hold them carefully, I will remember to hold them carefully ... I recited to myself as I fell asleep.

I went home. And I was so happy to be there.

Visit the elders in the hospital, answer your friends’ calls even when you are busy, cook a supper for someone who needs a night off, let the guy take a left even when you have right of way, assume the best in people, look at your children when they are speaking to you, take out tomorrow’s mocha mix for a woman who’s had a hard day. Help each other remember to do these things because if one thing is for sure we are going to forget. It’s a fragile thing, this life we lead ...


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