This blog, my struggles to keep at it despite, well, everything, is exposing an insecure side to me that I'm not sure what to do with. I do know that I cannot, will not, give up on it, especially when I least know what to do with it, so here I go, again--is that a song title, too? Anyway.
A new friend, someone I liked from the instant we were introduced, wrote to me recently that, "...the line that separates happy stages from sad is always rather narrow...along with our age seems to go a sense of deep vulnerability." This struck me as astute and even somehow comforting, not to mention the fact that "deep vulnerability" is such an apt way of describing how I am finding 40 so far. These girls, my fierce, open-hearted, self-possessed Lily and my merry, sharp-eyed sponge of an Annika: they fill me with awe, make me laugh until my eyes water, cause me to lie awake consumed by their well-being until the sun rises and it's time to fill the milk cups, leave me dazzled and drunk with exhaustion, and raw. Vulnerable. Deeply, deeply so.
Tonight at dusk, the three of us set out for Sadie's "dog job," our therapy work at Gilda's Club, into a perfect early spring evening, the kind when the air feels so clean and new on your skin that you almost want to lie down and sleep on the sidewalk. A loud night--ambulances, more dogs than ever, it seemed, strollers swerving, pizza parlors open on all sides to the world, radios blasting, even a bagpipe player in front of the art house on 6th Avenue, wearing a kilt and sending piercing honking notes out over the sounds of the voices. "Mama?" Lily said, flushed with pride on our way home as passers-by commented on her leash technique and praised Sadie more extravagantly than usual. "Yes?" I said, suddenly a little bit shocked that she was old enough to be walking beside me like this. "Is it mean to say I find that music a little annoying?" I just laughed, and she laughed, and Annika, who loves nothing more than when we are laughing, laughed, too, and we kept walking, and laughing, and becoming, I saw later, when I thought about it, a part of the beautiful chaos of the evening, the street, the city, and in that moment, on the happy side of the line.