Middle picked these flowers on Wednesday, when it was sunny and warm. I love these spontaneous bouquets—their delicate size, the translucent colors, the smile that came with them.
Thursday it was cold again. Raining.
And Friday—I told myself it was rain I was running in, early in the morning, but what hit my face was hard and biting, and there was sleet on all the car windshields.
The world around me is very, very green. Tender green leaf-lace on the trees. Tulips, magnolia blossoms, even a few first lilacs. But the air is winter-cold. I hold on to the reminders of spring around me and tell myself I can hold on, as well, for warmer weather and open windows and best of all that feeling that comes with it. It will come. We’ve had tastes of it. The flowers are proof. The warmth will come.
* * *
On the way to school yesterday, Youngest and I had a conversation we’ve repeated many times. She does not feel well. Her tummy hurts, has been hurting for months. We don’t know why. She is not too sick for school—she actually functions beautifully. But still it hurts, and we haven’t been able to stop it.
Often she thinks nobody believes her. She doesn’t talk about it much anymore, but when we ask nothing has changed. I tell her over and over that we believe her.
“The hard thing about this is that we don’t have any answers,” I said, trying to address the frustration.
The hurt itself is hard. But it seems doubly hard to feel or offer comfort when all you have is “I don’t know.”
I don’t know how long you’ll have to wait.
I don’t know why.
I don’t know how to fix it.
There are some strong words for how I feel about “I don’t know.” None of them are strong enough.
* * *
What I do know is that there are seasons for this kind of thing. I know people—so many of them—who have either been in this place recently or are in it right now. Walking through the cold and dark, waiting for the warmth to come back.
It strikes me that this endurance walk is a very quiet thing. But when I see others doing it I find strength. Little things bear witness—a hug, a handful of flowers, a note from a friend—they all testify that the warmth will come. And every person holding on to that belief gives me strength to walk it, myself.
There’s more out there than this cold.
What if we could actually see all the ways we keep each other on our feet?
* * *
Friday the sleet on my face made me fast—it made me fight.
This morning—Saturday—after a long night with a child who not only has a constant tummy ache but also now an infected tooth, I had no fight left. But I had a friend running beside me. I ran mostly because she was running. And together we covered a lot of ground. It’s still cold outside, and the tummy ache remains, and other things too, but there are flowers on the table, and I had the loveliest hot shower when I got home.
And we are still on our feet.
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