Wednesday, April 29, 2009

you can do anything for a month.

you can do anything for a month.

that, i am sad to say, has been my mantra these past few weeks. i guess it's better than when i would tell myself, "you can do anything for a year" when i was 22, and teaching in a crazy classroom complete with race riots, theft, and 35 kids who were 10 years old going on 18. (but that's another story.)

so, you may wonder where i have been these past few weeks. well, sometimes life just doesn't look the way you had planned it. {i think i've learned that over and over this past year, as if the 33 years leading up to this past year hadn't already taught me that.}

i am knee deep in the detritus of my parents' divorce. that is to say, that i have been helping my mom clean out, pack up, and move everything out of the house. (and when i say pack up and move, i mean everything, from the 20 year old nordic track to my sibling's elementary school report cards.) the euclid house is 100 years old, and big, and has a lot of issues. so the past few weeks have entailed scraping wallpaper (really old and stuck on wallpaper covering every freaking inch of wallspace including closets), fixing walls, painting, tearing out bathroom fixtures, rewiring the electricity, filling a dumpster, hunting for ancient bathroom tile, priming, sanding, painting, hammering, running to home depot and salvage stores, organizing volunteers, and on and on. it's a big job, and i know i mentioned it in my sole post last week. it's a big job that keeps getting bigger, because well, the house is 100 years old. it's such a big job that, honestly, it is hard to explain. 

i have been living and breathing getting this house finished and ready to sell, and the rest of my life has stopped momentarily. last week matt's mom came up and was on little m duty all week. she did an amazing job, since i was working at the house from 8 every morning until at least midnight every night. now we are back to our routine of little m taking her naps and getting put down to sleep in a pack n' play until we are done working around midnight and we scoop her up, put her in the carseat, and bring her home to her crib. 

and yet, there is still so much to do. so. much. it overwhelms me if i think about it for too long. there is no way to sustain this pace of life for long, but we don't really have a choice. there are moments when i am working that i grieve the loss of my parents' marriage, the loss of the good memories that that house holds, the loss of who my dad was to me. some days i am just really sad, realizing that all of these hours of labor are leading up to a finality. my parents are getting divorced. i haven't talked to my dad since october. at times my heart feels like an open wound. this isn't the way i thought life would go. 

at the same time, there is something healing about the physical act of laboring, repairing, renovating this house. there is something healing about all of our friends who have come to labor alongside us, in a physical and tangible act of love for my mom. some of our friends don't even really know my mom, but they have come anyway, sacrificing multiple days or a few hours to muck through this mess with us. 

it is humbling. 

it is these acts of grace of the people in our life that remind me that i can do anything for a month. this season will pass - the house will become a home for someone else, our family will mend, and soon i will get to play with my daughter, cook meals with my husband, make art, spend saturday morning at the farmer's market, catch up with friends, go on long walks, bake, finally get back to my blog, return to my life.

for now, i work. 


  1. I hope one day we get to meet face to face, your strength is truly inspiring.

  2. i hope we get to meet too! :) thank you for your kind words. don't feel very strong, but am leaning on the everlasting arms...


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