When the Sun Comes Out

The phone rang and it was my friend. “I just called to see how you’re doing.” The call was a kindness from her, because she has been the person to listen many times in the past weeks when my heart was full and my eyes overflowing. This time I breathed in to answer her and realized I had nothing in particular to tell. Or rather, I did have things to tell, but they were all light in comparison with the struggles which I’ve aired in our last five conversations. I carried the phone onto the porch where the sunshine could warm my bare feet. Then we chatted about my things and hers. It is so nice to chat instead of discuss.

Kiki had a list of errands, a few last minute acquisitions that were necessary before prom tomorrow, so we went in quest of hair pins and boutonniere materials. Earlier this week I read an article stating that the average amount spent on prom is $1100. This year we’re among those bringing that average down, borrowed dress, hair and nails done at home, and using the family car instead of a rented vehicle. Kiki was quite pleased with herself when we walked in to the florist and requested a single flower and some filler so that she could make the boutonniere herself. The florist was glad to sell her the supplies, I think they were a bit tired of assembling corsages, at least based on the stacks in their glass fronted refrigerator. Including the flowers, dance tickets, dinner, and day activity, I think our total expense for prom is less than $100. Kiki has already had fun, hopefully tomorrow will bring even more.

“We need to do my history report!” Gleek told me with wide eyes just as she was departing for school.
“Yes.” I answered. “We’ll do it this weekend. Don’t worry about it.”
Gleek nodded, her shoulders relaxed, and she walked cheerfully out the door. This in sharp contrast to the science fair project where I had to coax for extended periods of time for her to believe it was possible at all. Gleek’s internal landscape has become a navigable place instead of a dark and foreboding forest. Finishing the project this weekend is going to require some hustling, particularly since Patch also has a big project, Kiki has prom, and I’m teaching at Writing for Charity. Yet even that feels possible, which says much about my internal landscape as well.

“Do you have a minute?” Howard asked. He then flipped through the test print of Body Politic, showing me places where he needs me to move strips around. These two go onto the next page so that there is room for a footnote he wants to write. That forces this one onto the page after that, which reduces the white space. Together we flipped through the book, drawing arrows and instructions. Nudging the book ever closer to being publishable. I was so very glad for this morning’s conference, we are past the point where the project feels impossible and have instead moved in to the last rush toward the end. It feels like running down hill.

My front lawn is freshly mowed for the first time this year. I took a few minutes and did the job myself instead of spending energy negotiating with children. Afterward I felt accomplished. Next Saturday I need to declare a family yard work day so that we can remove all of the tall grass from the flower beds. I begin to believe that my garden is not doomed to be a weedy mess forever.

Winter is long and sometimes spring is chilly, but then there comes a day when the sun is warm and I step outside barefoot with no jacket. I look around and realize the grass is green, flowers have begun to bloom, and spring has stopped teasing. After things were hard for what seemed like a long time, suddenly they are lovely. It is enough.

1 thought on “When the Sun Comes Out”

  1. The $1100 number comes from Visa, so it’s kind of crazy. I suspect that most people come in under $300, and I hope the only ones who need to charge anything, are the ones putting down a deposit on a limo to share with friends. Congratulations to her for keeping it under $100. Did she already own dress shoes?

Comments are closed.