Orange October has brought way more than the awesome San Francisco Giants to the World Series. A tiny life lost in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, a brave army reservist senselessly gunned down in Ottawa, nationwide Ebola panic, a beloved friend quietly battles a ventilator, and another awaits a worrisome surgery. Is surgery ever not worrisome? Strep throat, Halloween mania, lost teeth (finally!), a very skinny dachshund, and nothing screams frightening 40s like smooshed boobs at the first ever mammogram.
In full spin on a very wobbly axis, I whiz through this agitated orbit. It takes a lot of output, seemingly limitless energy to keep that axis spinning. Even though it’s wobbly and erratic. Not only to make sure it doesn’t all fall apart on its unpredictable, hurtling journey through time but also to keep the love, the happy, the optimistic going, and going strong.
But of course everything, everybody reaches a limit eventually.
The very old, skinny dachshund is definitely not my favorite right now. For all his supposed inability to see, hear, run and jump nothing stops him from brazenly climbing onto the dining room table to gobble the last of the chicken, from gingerly pulling himself into the dishwasher to sneak a last lick of the stew, and if I said he peed in my bed the other night that would be TMI.
But after all is said, done and cleaned up he snuggles his warm small body right up next to mine, like he did in the days when Pretzel made three… and I smile. Breathe deep. Feel the crazy spinning axis slow some. “It’s the little things,” I think.
It’s the rare morning coffee date with my always-traveling husband. He is mostly somewhere, and hardly ever here. But a travel schedule includes flights that leave at off-hours, so I get a bittersweet hot chocolate and an hour of Just Him before the 11.35am to Arkansas.
It’s the news that my niece has an imaginary friend. G-d bless the child, she is too clever, too busy and too chatty for her three-year-old self so she invented a friend for the overflow! Wonderfully creative and imaginative, inspired and whimsical. And simple. To create what she wants, how and when she wants it, using only the power of her 38-month-old imagination.
This beautiful photo, taken by my mom, of the jacaranda trees in my hometown squeezes my heart and lifts my cheeks with a smile. Pretoria is famous for these blossoms that tint the air lilac and carpet the wide roads with messy purple every October. This scene makes me homesick, but in a good way. In the way that feels warm and comforting, even though I am far away.
These hilarious-to-me texts from my friend Stephanie, who thinks I am the “challah Jedi master” (her words). Her confidence puzzles me, since the one time we did make challah together my dough was too sticky, the braids were misshapen, and the end result was edible but definitely not delicious. Be that as it may, my weekly attempts at rise-to-perfection inspire her inner Princess Leia to text me these hashtags. Even the rising dough laughs: #ChallahJediMaster #MayTheYeastBeWithYou (my favorite) #QueenAmichallah #HansSchlomo. Her hashtagging rules the Empire. Yep, #itsthelittlethings.
Hengry. This is what my little guy calls his friend Henry. Somehow, his five-year-old tongue gets stuck at the back of his throat when he says Henry, and this delicious modification provokes a giggle every time. Luckily, Hengry isn’t bothered by the creative slip.
The surprise purple cauliflower in my salad (purple again – love it!), the 4am blood moon moment with my son as we caught the lunar eclipse together, the garden-fresh rosemary I pick for the lamb chops, this amazing song from Hozier (the way he says Honey makes everything better):
All give me pause, and clear a space in the chaos, a tiny space big enough to find a few ounces of me in the heaviness of everything else. These little things, these small moments remind me to turn in instead of out, to breathe, to find the calm and the happy. To replenish before I reach my limit.
After his cataract surgery last week, my father the optometrist marveled at his suddenly clear vision: “I can’t believe how much brighter the colors are!” The little things between the not so little. Bright orange October.