One of the great joys of my apartment has been watching the Hudson, especially the sunsets, for the last two years. As both the month and the time for me to pack get shorter, it is nearly six o’clock and the sun is still lighting the sky. It has dipped below the highlands across the river, but it has left a glorious peach hue on the horizon and blue, purple and golden tints on the ice-covered river.
My views are best without the trees’ leaves to interfere and I won’t get to see them leaf out this season. I should not be admiring the scenery. I should be packing and sorting. I did this just two years ago which will make this easier in many ways. But since I don’t move often the upcoming relocation is harder because it seems to me as if I just did this. I’m getting past seeing this as a disaster, rather, to use a current tech term it is a disruption. However, by both age and predisposition, I am disinclined to disruptions. When the kids were younger it was common parlance among parents to talk about a child’s ability to deal with transitions. It was years before I recognized that it was I who had trouble with them.
After we had rented for a couple of years in our “wait-and-see” phase of suburban living it came time to buy. I said that we had to stay in same small school district because D had been in three schools in four years, and she shouldn’t have to go through that again. She was eight. No, I admitted to myself, I didn’t want to start over. I was feeling at home, had friends whom I cared for. I had a life that I wanted to keep. And so it went. We bought our house, watched our children grow and thrive. We watched them in their sports, attended an enormous number of concerts, plays and exhibits. We entertained, walked in the woods, celebrated many birthdays and holidays.
We endured financial difficulties, sent our oldest off to college and felt our marriage fraying. When our middle girl, M, was hit by a truck three weeks after she arrived at her college, she sustained a hideous traumatic brain injury (TBI) and nearly died. All five of our lives were irretrievably altered by that incident. Life since then has been a series of transitions. I would like to think that I have managed them better than I did those between vacation and back to school. It is absurd, of course, to put them into the same category. One of the advantages of having endured the days, months and years of M’s recovery is that most other upheavals seem insignificant.
I worked in unpleasant circumstances that drove colleagues mad and my attitude was, hey, nobody’s dying! I have been out of work for a year and I’m getting a divorce (homeless,loveless and jobless), but I am satisfied with my life in general because the kids are all great. So here I sit watching the colors on the horizon deepen and the room in which I sit grow dark. However, the boxes that surround me are not packing themselves and the time I have to manage my next transition is slipping into the shadows.