There’s a metaphor in my title. Please bare with me.
My life is going in circles, or rather, it’s a veritable roller-coaster. We’ve so much to celebrate this year. And yet. And yet.
My 91 year old father battles health issues. This stalwart man who drove up to 100 miles a day until June of this year has been battling his betraying body. A pacemaker, a stroke, another stroke, a blood clot. And my mother, equally strong at 88 but on her 89th birthday we found ourselves waiting for her to get out of surgery for a broken hip.
My roller coaster starts the ride back up. I sing each morning to my pup. Usually, it’s a pop song with the words “black and white dog” and “Jersey” and “found him in a cardboard box” substituted for the real words. He allows me to serenade him every morning as I dress to take him on our two mile walk. Rain or shine, I walk the boy. These days I’ve started singing Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” to him with no word substitutions. Because, your true colors shine through in a crisis.
The Husband and I have done our level best in this crisis–these crises. We’ve rallied and we’ve found ways to be present in my parents lives while also finding ways to ease them into this transition of being more aged and less able. In the process, we’ve decided to rent our home. It is a financial move. I want to be at the ready to make sure my parents stay in their home as long as they can. If it means paying for their home health, we will rent our home of 21 years to afford that for them.
In the home we have decided to rent out, I have a closet for sewing and another one for my home decorating projects. I have an entire wall of cabinets full of painting supplies. My garage is half full of power tools for tiling and woodworking, the other half is full of golf equipment and bicycle gear. I’m a hobbyist. A creative. Whatever label you need to slap on me, that’s me. That’s who I am. Or was.
As we pack our things to make the move to a home with, literally, no storage space, I find I’m having to let go–Let go of things. Let go of identity. Let go of grudges. I’m not just a hobbyist. I’m not an invisible child to my mom (as I’ve felt for most of my life). I’m mostly just my mom and dad’s daughter. And if that’s who I choose to be, you can bet I’m going to do it with gusto.
Lord, here I am. Send me.
Walking Jersey this week with The Husband we spend the entire two miles lamenting about what still needs to be done–for my parents–for the move. It’s overwhelming, really.
When we got home I noticed one of my diamond earrings was missing. I knew immediately it had dropped out of my ear at some point during our two mile walk. My heart sunk. The earrings had been bequeathed to me years ago by a dear family member. I wore them nearly every day for more than a decade.
I have to say, this is not the only time I’d lost said earring. Oh, no. Not by a long shot. I’d lost one in Paris, but found it. I left both in a Las Vegas hotel but they were still there when we went back to claim them. I lost one on my bathroom floor which took me several hours to find (rolled into a hidden niche). In each of these occasions, I was bereft. Yet somehow, in this autumn of my parents’ lives and me now cloaked in this new identity of mine, this time I didn’t start to cry. This time, I mostly scolded myself for not getting the earring backs fixed.
I said out loud but to myself, “You didn’t deserve them anyway. You’re a Cubic Zirconia Girl from now on”.
Still, I sang “True Colors” to Jersey yesterday morning as we started off on our walk. It was a frigid 23 degrees. I found myself looking for the earring even though the odds were ridiculous. I even tried not to look.
“Don’t be stupid Zirconia Girl. You lost it. You lost it.”
Among the fall leaves, the smashed walnuts and berries, this was an impossible task. How many times did I stoop over to investigate what I thought was my diamond earring, only to find it was white bird poop? True colors, indeed.
Zirconia girl. Stupid irresponsible Zirconia Girl. And then. My diamond earring. Right in the middle of the sidewalk where dozens of people would have already walked were the day not so frigid.
I promised you a metaphor and here it is: When life seems insurmountable and crap is in your way, find the diamond. Cue music.
I see your true colors shining through. I see your true colors and that’s why I love you.
I am a hobbyist without a home for hobbies, I am the child of aging parents, I walk my dog every day and sing to him. I look for diamonds. Those are my true colors.