The day greeted me with little sleep and two writing prompt options, so I did them both in the darkness before the world stirred. The second prompt focused on breathing and allowing the body to soften. The words were used: “Grief is a contraction” and with those words my entire being tensed up and would not release, since my daughters were both born to the contractions of labor. After the comparison was made between grief and a contraction, no amount of convincing would allow my body to soften.
Instead I’ll focus on balance. A friend attended a conference this past weekend and shared the following tidbit: It is difficult to find balance in your life. Trying to find balance is trying to make everything equal and some things can’t be equal. Some things are more important than others. If you are constantly trying to balance everything you will feel frustrated and won’t be able to to pay attention to what matters most. You should focus on the things that are most important right now. Other things will take their place at the front when it’s their turn. You have to let the guilt go because you can’t possibly take care of everything that you have to take care of all the time.
In my mind, I pictured a seesaw, one of those old-school variety that are probably illegal now for fear of injuries and that parents would sue. One one end right now is my grief and it is heavy. On the other end is everything else and I am slowly trying to add things so that they can be even. I have to focus on the grief because it is keeping my seesaw off-balance. But perhaps as I add more weight to the other side, they will even out. And someday, grief will be on the lighter end.
The suggestion was instead of looking for balance to look for harmony, but that word feels too offensive in its optimism right now. I do not have harmony, I have discord. Someone fell asleep at the piano and is leaning on a bunch of keys, nothing harmonious there.
But perhaps the harmony is beginning to peek through. On the random day when the public schools were closed yesterday, I enjoyed the day at the museum with my friend and our two sons. Lots of laughter. I sent a tweet: “Today I went to the Chicago Art Institute while wearing a PBS t-shirt and an ‘I voted’ sticker. #winningatlife.” So my humor is returning. We even took the kids out for ice cream and patted ourselves on the back for our parenting prowess, not letting the kids damage the priceless art, and not losing either kid in the bowels of the Art Institute. A glass of dry Riesling at the end of the day helped me to relax and breathe more easily. The heavy moments of the evening were balanced out by the light moments of the day.
Grief is a contraction. From within the contractions of grief were born my daughters. True harmony seems like such an abstraction but maybe I am not giving myself enough credit for the little things. Like enjoying a day at the museum