Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Nearly Normal

The stuff of our daily lives seems barely worth writing, and yet I do know that I have created a sense of prolonged crisis with these postings. Most days, we slog along as if our lives were like others we imagine. On almost all days, Tim is safe, ensconced at his rehab facility. Most of what we hear from him is confined to small troubles: getting his school assignments, trying to spend enough time at the gym, making doctors' appointments, needing spending money. In truth, drama has been rare, and perhaps I have created a false sense of calamity by crying out so loudly when things go wrong.

Tim kindly called me for my birthday. I can honestly report that he made my day. Most of the day was spent in anticipation of driving home from New Hampshire to see whoever might be present in Connecticut: Emma, with whom I share the birthday, Mark, Kathryn and Roland, Clare, Buffy, Molly and Mary Ann. Just looking forward was all I needed to get me through the routine at the office. Tim's call caught me by surprise, and I was delighted at how well he sounded. He announced that he has progressed to the second phase of the rehabilitation program: he resides at a different house; he has more freedom for study and for athletics, and he spends a little less time on the necessary rituals of self-care. His enthusiasm caught me a bit by surprise, and it gave me real joy.

Dinner was simple and delicious, a pasta salad with fresh tomatoes, basil and buffalo mozzarella. Chocolate cake for dessert. Our classic birthday celebration. Mary Kim called as we were sitting down. She is anxious about her new job but happy to be working. She understands that, having primed the pump, she will get a sudden bit of water spitting at her: delightful but a bit out of control, not enough to drink but enough to taste. Enough to feel hopeful about. Between the calls, the kids and the food, my evening was complete.

Two nights later, Tim texted just to say "I love you." Of course, the effect was almost salvific. My ostensible vacation has been filled with work that cannot wait. I find that I am more resentful than I had anticipated. But Tim's simple text made me understand how much I have to feel grateful for, and how silly I am to resent the inevitable busy-ness of my job. Tim's outreach gave me back my perspective. I realize that, since his illness, I have been consumed with fear and anger. Now I am working to let those feelings go and to feel real gratitude that he and we are in recovery.