For quite awhile, my youngest was obsessed with Paris. When she turned twelve we naturally had a Parisian themed birthday party complete with French movies, a fashion show and crepes for breakfast. While I think visiting Paris would be lovely, someday, I never shared her obsession or wonder over the fantasy of what she believed Paris was. Her Parisian focus certainly did not come from me, but we homeschooled at the time and I think our lives (as such) blurred the lines between where Gen ended and I began in areas. Many of my friends assumed I loved Paris, and Gen simply mimicked me.
For one of my birthdays, amidst of France phase, my friend gave me a french coin inscribed with a phrase, (in French), a turned into a pendant and put on a chain. The inscription read “The joy of life.” It was very unique and I loved it simply because I love my friend, though honestly the French aspect meant nothing to me. Then, last year when we moved to Michigan, I lost it. I hadn’t realized consciously that I wore the necklace every day until I was forced to go a day without wearing it. I felt vulnerable and unprepared. One day, some months later, it mysteriously appeared in my night stand drawer. While that’s a whole other set of stories for another time, I can honestly say I’d never been so happy to see a piece of jewelry in all my life.
I deeply missed my friend.
It felt like home…
I took the necklace off, in Chicago, to put on something a little more fancy for a small date with my husband. Since that day, those weeks ago, I’ve made the knowing decision every morning NOT to put it back on. It felt to big, somehow. Like choosing to wear The joy of Life around my neck was simply more than I could take on in that moment.
Last night Chw and I had dinner with dear friends whom we hadn’t seen in years and years. They have walked the parenting road we walk now, and it hasn’t gone lovely for them. While they understand how hopeless and insurmountable life, right now, truly seems/feels, just talking with someone else who gets it was reassuring. I can honestly say, in all my life, I have never felt more alone. There are several ugly, regret filled conversations that have filled our lips these past weeks/months, but there is no room to dwell on such things. Instead we must stand up, brush ourselves off and move forward. The Joy of Life. I don’t know how to have it today, but I do know I’m in charge of choosing it.
This morning my husband flew across the country for work and I got up, got dressed, washed my face, walked my dogs and then came inside and put on my necklace.
The Joy of Life.
I will have to remind myself with every tear fall, with ever ice pick twinge to the head, with every second that reality crashes around me… but even in the seconds when I forget that I do have some choices and that joy is one of them, the reminded will be there whispering its French inscription to my heart. Not only tying me to such a truth, but to my beautiful friend and a time when motherhood wasn’t so overwhelmingly dark.