December 12, 2010

In Which I Embrace 15

The sun's shining through my windows.  My stomach rolls over before I do.  I spent too much time face down to the toilet bowl during the night.  I roll over slowly, trying not to disturb the ocean in my empty stomach. An uncomfortable contradiction. Slosh. I had the two a.m. luxury of whining to my mom, "I think I'mmmm dyyyyyyiiinnngggg."  She tells me Life Stress is catching up to me.  Not the response I wanted.  At 2 a.m. I make a promise to myself to start doing yoga again.  At 10 a.m. I take the promise back - I still don't feel well, and this definitely isn't stress.

The Portuguese painters are conversing loudly outside my window.  They whistle and laugh, and I find myself smiling.  They're working on a Saturday morning, trying to beat the winter freeze - a race the boss orchestrated.  They've been here for weeks longer than it should ever take to paint a house, and I've become accustom to their language I can't understand, to their company.  I'm sure they've become accustom to my hooded sweatshirts and messy hair, my life unkempt.

Downstairs we have boxes of my (and Brother's) childhood lined up to condense.  A year-long project fit into Saturday mornings and Thursday nights.  She looks up from a pile of my first grade papers and asks how I'm feeling.  "Tea, please," and I sink into the couch.  I can't imagine another place I would want to be when I'm sick.  Even if this sick is only a little sick.  I'm home.

We have other boxes downstairs, too.  And boxes lined up in one of the vacant bedrooms.  These boxes are patiently waiting to move.  We are moving.  Home is moving.  We carefully planned this move, and every step towards this move, last fall.  I came home at the start of summer and unpacked the latest chapter of my life while packing up the decades that came before.  While planning to paint the house, making appointments to re-finish the floors, and looking at new houses.  While I figured out how to return and leave at the same time.

The painters knock on the door while I'm sipping the tea too hot to gulp.  "Painting door. Open," the One Who Knows English tells me.  I light up, "Oh!  Okay!  You're painting the door, and I need to leave it open?"  They nod yes, and I'm thrilled.  I want them to know I like them; I want them to like me.  Our days intertwine and I want them to know that maybe I think of them as almost-friends?  Ifthatisn'tooweird.  The cold wind blows through my pajama pants, and I grab my hat from the front closet.  I'm already freezing.  And my stomach is arguing with my decision move.  "Settle down, you," I'm grumbling as I find my way back to the couch.

I'm not there for long when a car drives up the driveway.  The flooring company has arrived to give an estimate.  I envision an old high school classmate walking through our downstairs evaluating the floors (and everything else), while I'm sitting on the couch wearing my pajamas and a scowl.  An older man walks up the front path at the same time my stomach somersault and chill runs up my back.  I do not want to be sick.  I do not want to be friendly.  I put on the knit hat and pull it down to my eyes.

He walks in and barely looks in my direction.  I know how ridiculous I look sitting on the couch in pink pajama pants and a knit hat.  He doesn't seem phased.  I suddenly want him to look at me and crack a smile.  Or talk to me, too, about moving the furniture before re-finishing the floors.  I want the front door closed and the authority to send the painters home to enjoy the weekend.  I want my stomach to stop churning and to be settling in a place rather than moving out.  If life has to exist in boxes right now, I want it to be in a single box with a pretty bow.

I'm scowling.  On the couch.  In my pajamas.  Under my hat.  I'm positive my maturity is peaking at fifteen, and I'm about pop myself up off the sofa, make a friendly comment - "Haha it's freezing in here, right? Would you like a hat? Haha" - and generally act like an adult, when I realize: I don't have to.  He certainly thinks I'm in the 10-15 range, especially dressed like this, and my mom is handling anything and everything that needs handling.  Including me.  I sink into the couch and let my hat make its way farther down my forehead.  I start to pout, because I'm way too old to be sitting on my mom's couch, complaining about an upset stomach, wearing my pajamas with a hat pulled down to my eyes, worried about where the boxes of my childhood will land, wishing for "adult" approval, watching my life tangle with my mom's, when it finally sinks in: this is the good part.  I don't have a single ounce of responsibility this Saturday afternoon.  It does not matter that I do not feel well.   I do not have to proceed on with my day.  I can sit on the couch and feel terrible.  My mom will even put up with my complaining and take care of me.  Even when I'm just only a little bit sick. This, this is the good part.

Living at home comes with a roller coaster of ups and downs.  Some moments I love it and other moments I hate it.  And some days I think I have more mood swings than I did as a teenager.  I'm learning to let go of the bad and embrace the good - the couch, the pajamas, the hat, and luxury of a bad attitude.  Although, when I tried to sink back into the scowl and the pout and the negativity, surprise-surprise, they had disappeared.


  1. I really enjoyed reading this, as I usually enjoy reading most of what you write.
    Also, I just noticed the link to your 365, and checked that out. Such great photos!!! I have attempted that twice now, but I just get to somewhere between 30 and 100 days in, and lose the motivation.
    <3 Kiersten

  2. Thanks so much for the nice comment, Kiersten! I'm so glad you're enjoying my sometimes coherent thoughts. =) And I completely know what you mean about losing motivation for the 365 project... it's so hard to keep up over the long haul. At the rate I am going, it might take me 3 yrs to actually take 365 photos... does that still count as a 365 project? =)