Airstream

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I have these moments that I call Airstream moments.  It’s when I visualize myself selling everything, buying an Airstream trailer and heading west into the sunset, streaming some air, homeschooling the children out of the trailer.  I don’t have to play house anymore, the husband doesn’t have to play the banker anymore.  He can just play husband.  The one who is devoted to me more than he is to his emails and conference calls.

I expect the real husband lives there.  In the Airstream.  With the real me.  The one who doesn’t have to go to PTA events and cocktail parties.  The one who doesn’t have to pick up the dry cleaning and make sure there are clean undershirts in the drawers. The one who doesn’t have to make sure the kids are on time and well practiced in the art of everything.  The me who lives in the Airstream is someone I long to be for what she is not and yet I have no idea who she is.

I imagine her to be wearing the same comfortable shoes, jeans, and beloved fleece day in and day out.  She eats her yogurt and grape nuts every morning.  A simple sandwich at lunch.  Tea somewhere along the way with fruit and nuts.  Bread and cheese. Salad with a glass of red wine.  She reads books, she writes, she takes photographs, she walks the dog and listens to the news on the radio.  She gets plenty of sleep and drinks lots of water.  She reads stories and plays chess with anyone who will oblige her.  On Wednesdays and Saturdays, she washes her hair and does laundry.

The husband that lives in the Airstream is a man who gets plenty of rest.  He breathes deep and long while contemplating the light.  He doesn’t need as much exercise as banker husband does because he doesn’t overeat like stressed out banker husband does.  He cooks on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays and we eat what’s left in between.  He has time for kisses on the back of my neck and hugs that convey what words cannot.  We share passages from the words we read, listen to radio segments together and have time to question and ponder.  We hold each other close and we dance.   We go to bed early and we wake up late.

I’ve envisioned all kinds of scenarios that correspond with the potential number of riders in the airstream.  One.  Me, alone, solo.  Mom’s taking a sabbatical of sorts, to sort stuff out.  You guys are old enough to fend for yourselves now aren’t you?  Two.  Just us, me and him like it used to be before kids, like it will be after they are gone, which won’t be for another 6 years.  That scenario has to wait.  Three.  Me and the two youngest, after the oldest leaves for college this fall.  Husband can continue to work crazy hours while I go on with my crazy dream.  Four.  Husband quits crazy hours and joins me and the two kids in my crazy dream.  Five.  Oldest takes a year off before going to college and the five of us go on down the road, exploring how we belong together.  As one.  As two.  As three, four, and five.

None of these scenarios are possible right now.  Now I must pick up the dry cleaning.  Now I must practice belonging here.  The Airstream will wait for another day, week, month, year.  Another time.  An other time?  An other me?

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The other side of 2012

This is the Year. Dream. Don’t Ignore The Signs. Create Workspace.  Focus. Natural. Light.  Home Organization.  Experience Change.  Be Love.  Quietly Practice Hoop Peace.  Create some space.  Get organized.  Hoop.  Plan.  Think organized.  Hoop.  Jazz. Save Time.  Rhythm.  Stay organized.  Complete the cycle.  Hoop.  Shine On.  You can do it.

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And I did it.  Well, kinda.  2012 was the year I dreamed.  I didn’t ignore the signs.  I created workspace by getting a job. I focused on the natural light within me.  I experienced change, while quietly practicing hoop peace.  I created some space to hoop in.  I tried to get organized (again).   I tried to think organized (again).  I didn’t stay organized (again.)  I hooped.  I listened to jazz, rhythm (and blues) and tried to save time to be on time but instead found time to be myself.  I hooped some more and I really did shine on.

Then the storm hit.

Twenty twelve was the year the world was supposed to end.  When Sandy blew into town three days before Halloween, many were spooked enough to think it could be true.  I tried to focus on gratefulness and Thanksgiving, which by the time we got our lights on in our area, was quickly approaching.  This year, our stories of gratitude would focus on how we made it through the storm.  No one we knew lost anything but power.  For us, that was enough.  Enough to make us step back, take stock.  We lost power, so what?  Far too many lost everything they had.  For everything that was lost, many will step back and say, “we lost our home, so what?”  They will give thanks that they have their health, their life, each other.  The world did not end.  We are grateful to be here.  Now we can tell our children, “see? the world did not end, it all works out, don’t worry, you’re safe with me.”

Everything changed.  The trees were broken.  When we got power back after twelve trying days, so much had shifted.  I found myself looking harder and longer out my bedroom window at the trees, wondering what they were saying.   After moving through Thanksgiving with a deep gratitude in my heart, I looked back at my vision board.  Did the words and images change me?  I don’t know.  Words and images are the very things that change us, everyday.  The images we see, the images we look away from, the words we read, the words we hear, the words we say.  We look, we listen and we change.

So much happened in 2012 that catapulted me to the point where the Mayan calendar runs out; the point at which some feared meant we would run out.  Of time.  Of stability. Of earth’s resources. Of money. Of compassion or understanding.  Of love for one another.

Then, the Newtown shootings took place and it began to feel that it WAS all running out.  I was running out.  My clarity was running out.  All that I was trying to hold together just started leaking out, hemorrhaging.  I had nothing to say.  I could only cry.  We had lived in Newtown for 14 years. We moved closer to family 5 years ago.  I thought of all the times that I too, sent my child off to school, knowing they were safe, wishing them the very best of days, waiting for their return home.   This time, I was unsure if we could hold our children close and say, “see? it all works out, we got through the storm, the world did not end, you’re safe here with me.”

Will they remember what it looked like after the storm?  How it felt?  Will I remember?  It seems I will never forget what the winds of 2012 blew in.  Then again, many times we forget.  We forget the lives lost, the things that floated away, exploded into the ether, were gone with the wind, the voices that echoed down the halls, and the bullets that richocheted off the walls.  Will we remember how cold it felt without power?  That there are some that live everyday like that?  Will we remember the eerie dark streets night after night?  The vacant buildings, the empty supermarket shelves, the abandoned houses?  How the trees were broken, splintered and torn?  The ten feet high walls of debris on either side of the street that threatened to stay long into 2013, if it ever came?

Will we remember the type of town that Newtown was like?  How it felt?  Will we preserve our childhood memories in all the quiet serene towns like Newtown? Or will we remember how cold it felt to be without power again?  Powerless to keep our children safe.  What happened in Newtown can happen anywhere.  Will this be something that stays with us long beyond 2013?  By the end of 2012, I was beginning to think that maybe the world was going to end.  How could we go on?  How can this world go on?  To those who lost someone, it must feel like the world has come to an end.  I didn’t lose a child but I felt so deeply that I did.  We all lost children that day.  We all lost brave heroes that day.  If 2013 comes, which we all know now that it did, can we prove that we remember, that we take away the lesson, expanding compassion, putting down the guns in favor of time, precious time spent together?  We are all here now.  We got through the storm.  The world did not end.  Look.  Listen.  Go.  We are naked in the wings.