Thursday, October 31, 2019

Seeds and stuff

I've documented for the past few weeks that the going has been tough.

I'm pleased to write that I feel the tiniest bit of reprieve this week. This is the first moment I've had in nearly a week to catch my breath, to have a few moments to myself, and to take stock. I talked myself out of going to the grocery after work. It was drizzly and cold, and I'd forgotten my reusable bags. Those were reasons enough to drive straight home. I made chicken and noodles for dinner and enough for two leftover meals. While that was happening, I did dishes and laundry.

My daughter had asked if we could roast the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin she carved last night. I told her I would do it later. Doing these domestic tasks had an unwinding effect on me, and though I was tired, I was determined to get more done including cleaning the gunk off the seeds and roasting them.

I ate and folded laundry while the seeds roasted in the oven. I added more time for the seeds to roast and tidied up around my house more. I checked on the seeds and finally decided they had achieved what the recipe called golden.

As I pulled the two baking dishes from the oven, I felt a surge of pride. How far I have come! Simple tasks used to feel like too much. For years I have lived in various vice grips of stress and complicated dynamics, which utterly exhausted me. These scenarios became normalized to such a degree that I didn't register the exhaustion. On some level, I knew I was climbing uphill both ways. But from day-to-day, I simply kept one foot in front of another and hoped that one day it wouldn't be so hard.

Today, I am able to see that what seemed impossible or improbable is finally happening. In working hard to heal and to create healthier spaces for myself, I find that daily living is no longer the slog it has been in the past. I am delighted that something like roasting pumpkin seeds for my daughter would gift me with this flash of insight.

My daughter and I have been lamenting the difficult situations we find ourselves simultaneously in lately. One evening I told her, “We're both struggling. How about each day we look for one good thing that we see, do, or have done to us that is a bit of sunshine?” I wasn't sure how this would go over, but so far we've discussed our good things each evening—always prompted by her. I hate that she's struggling. I hate that I'm distracted by my stresses and that's dulled my ability to support her. But that's life. What I am happy about is that in the midst of all of this, I've been able to demonstrate in real time how to navigate tricky situations. I'm even more grateful that she's so receptive to what I have to offer.

I'm excited to surprise her with these roasted seeds when I go trick or treating with her. It really is true that what we look for, we will find. Tricks or treats. I choose to look for the treats. Happy Halloween!

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