Written a week ago while waiting for my daughter to finish swim practice.
Things have changed since then, for the better, as things often do.
My therapist asked today when I want to come back. I flipped a page in my weekly planner considering that I might need to come back in a week. No, I thought and flipped to the second page and offered three dates. She responded that she was gone for half of that week and so had nothing then. I turned another page and read off two more dates, one of which worked. There was an unusual tone in her voice throughout this exchange. It had been a heavy duty session. I was writing the appointment in my planner, head down, when she said, "if you need to see me sooner, you can call." It was the first time she has offered that option so far as I can remember. My memory may be failing me. I've had other times of trouble. She caught me a little flat-footed. Had I seemed that far gone? When she said it, I felt a weighted bar laid across my shoulders. Maybe it was there before and I was just now really feeling it. Whatever the case, I felt myself sinking under it.
At home, my younger daughter was phoneless after having dropped hers in soup this morning. A high school girl living without a phone feels strange and awful. Easy for me to imagine surviving without one. I grew up in another time and now have a phone in my pocket nearly always. I didn't say, this might be good for you, because it didn't feel good to her. She said, friendships hurt. Sometimes, I told her. She reminds me too much of myself, wanting love that seems unavailable from others and which she can't muster for herself. I wondered how to help when the air seemed to have gone out of the world. "Secure your own oxygen mask before attempting to help others." I gave her a hug and my phone to use for the next day.
My wife's stomach went into revolt and she hasn't slept in days. Her allergic eyes swelled one quarter shut and no one seems to know what to do about that. She has seen all the doctors but her maladies remain mysteries. She's also working a new job and that too feels like trying to get through each day without enough rest and too many things going wrong.
Then my older daughter feels unnoticed. As a child she didn't quite say "you don't love me enough" but we read between her silences. Telling her, holding her, doing what we can for her, these things are and aren't enough. Love is wondrous but too often we worry more about it running out, going down some drain. She swims laps in the pool to prepare for her next meet and I wonder does all that work strengthen the metaphorical heart too?
The odometer will tick over to 173,100 within the next mile. It may only be feet away from this parking spot or perhaps longer than I can go tonight. I'm just so tired.
The paycheck came and relieved some of the worries. I've begun to see possible ways of moving on from my current job. We have gone out with friends. My younger daughter understands that some things come from within. My older daughter knows that some things are coming to her from without. My wife got an eye cream and knows some of what happened with her stomach but still can't sleep.
The odometer is approaching 174,000. The car starts every morning. Even when I'm tired, it's nothing at all to drive the miles and a joy to take my girls and myself toward our destinations.
A week and a half from now I'll return to therapy and see what's next.