Posted by: Kate | May 31, 2009

A Little Perfection

I think I’ve had enough good days, since about mid-April or so, that I can comfortably consider myself well out of the depression and back into my own self again. But that nasty, dark time – which I will not reread yet, even though it’s all right here and organized on the blog, because it really was just so much worse than I even realized at the time – is still recent enough that I appreciate each day that rolls by and leaves me smiling.

I’m remembering to make a mental note of it, when I have those moments of reasonless happiness, in the middle of the afternoon, when Willem’s at work and Emily’s at school and Jacob’s reading quietly in his room, and I’m typing and earning a little money. When I feel pretty good – mid-mornings to early evenings are the best times for me, backwise – and I know I’m accomplishing a little something each day. When nothing special has happened, and yet I still feel just fine.

And so when I have days that are beyond the normal goodness, I’m extra-careful to acknowledge and appreciate them. I don’t want to be someone who lives my life spouting off about appreciating every moment and never taking anything for granted, because, seriously? That just feels like bullshit. You just can’t appreciate every moment, because some moments suck. Sometimes the kids behave poorly. Sometimes I have PMS. Sometimes Willem allows words to fall out of his mouth that just get my knickers in a twist. Sometimes I feel unwell. Sometimes… you get the idea. Not every moment is wonderful, and that’s OK. As long as there are more good ones than bad ones, I think you’re doing pretty well.

Besides, if you spend your time trying to absorb the wonderfulness of every moment, you’ll end up missing the moments because you’re so busy trying to sing the praises of the moment.

But still, sometimes, I do remember to wallow a little, and really enjoy just how good things are.

The last several Saturdays have allowed me to do exactly that. There was the weekend in Boston, and even the hospital-part was kind of funny, now that the headache and bruises have faded. There was the weekend of the convertible – for which I have been badgered for photos, and will do, sometime within the next few days. Honest. Last weekend, Carolyn took Jenny and I to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, in which we walked around, discovered we have very similar tastes in art (that is: we like pretty things and just don’t understand Jackon Pollock), and just enjoyed each other. We’ve been friends long enough that we don’t need to elucidate just how special our friendship is, but also long enough that we can say something about it without worrying that we’ll sound like idiots.

Yesterday, I had one of those days that contained a lot of little things, each of which was perfect in its own right. Just after midnight, Willem helped me ring in my birthday in ways which were greatly appreciated, and I woke up around 8:00 to a snuggly, fuzzy-headed little boy, all sleep-warm and wearing feety pajamas. Willem took Emily to her double-header softball games, which means they were twice as endless as usual. Jacob and I picked up Gretchen and went out for breakfast, visited L and her kids (oh, my Gawd, the baby is six months old already and is on the cusp of starting sign language – where did the time go?), and then wandered the farmer’s market in Portsmouth. As virtuous and I typically feel, going to a farmer’s market with my reusable bags and supporting local agriculture and buying organic, blah, blah, blah, it’s even better when you go early in the season and buy potted herbs to bring home and maintain for the summer. Gretchen is a newer friend – I think I’ve known her about 2 1/2 years now – but we clicked early and clicked well, and now I can’t imagine life without her.

I got home and repotted the herbs, while Willem and Jacob planted my new bleeding heart plant and rosebush in the front yard. I opened my birthday presents – all chosen with deep care for my preferences, because how else do you end up with a prism (and pewter frog) to hang in the window to make rainbows, a bird feeder, the books Columbine and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a new canvas bag, chocolates and Gerbera daisies? – and got dressed for dinner out. Remembered to wear jewelry, which is a big deal because I have some seriously gorgeous pieces and a wicked case of amnesia when it comes to actually wearing them.

Gretchen and Dan came over to watch the kids for the evening, so that Willem and I could go out and eat dinner like grownups. We talked about serious, parenting-type issues, about how much better we’re both feeling than we did three or four months ago, and giggled at the utter ridiculousness of the wall-eyed guy and his wall-eyed wife behind Willem, and the woman with the acre and a half of cleavage behind me. We walked around downtown Portsmouth and ate, conservatively, four million calories’ worth of cheesecake (though, of course, since it was my birthday, the calories don’t count).

We came home to well-fed, bathed, and happy kids, who had worked with Gretchen to make me a birthday cake – vanilla cake with chocolate pudding poured over it, quite yummy – and dove into an off-key rendition of Happy Birthday. My parents and sisters called me during the day; my mother-in-law did not. We got the kids in bed (with one special, top-volume, happy-birthday temper tantrum from Emily) and then sat and watched hockey and chatted with Gretchen and Dan. In bed and asleep by midnight.

Just good, good stuff, all around. I am grateful.

Today snuck in some extra goodness, just in the simple form of nothing-special-happening. Tomorrow might suck, and Thursday (with a scheduled cortisone injection in my back, and one or possibly two ball games in the evening, and not quite sure how I’m going to manage that all while Willem’s at work and I’m technically not allowed to drive) is a prime candidate for piling on some stench and discomfort. But I had some good moments now, so I’ll go with it.

(And, if you haven’t entered my giveaway contest yet, do so! How often do you get a 1/10 chance of winning something you could sell on eBay or Etsy for a fair chunk of change?)


  1. I’m so glad you had a tasty and otherwise enjoyable birthday.

  2. Yeesh, that reads kind of robotic, doesn’t it? I should at least have thrown in an exclamation point or something. Here you go: !!! Enjoy.

  3. So happy you are feeling more like yourself again! Depression sucks, and I know I’m the last person to notice it when it hits. It’s the slow descent, and by the time you notice, you’re already in it.

    Now, you can appreciate a good day again. Not every single moment (I think there’s a passage in Dostoyevsky’s Idiot where the protagonist talks about a guy who almost got hanged but got pardoned at the very last moment, then decided he was going to appreciate every single moment after that, but of course, didn’t, because it’s just not how we’re wired), but the really good ones. And it sounds like you had a lovely birthday.

  4. So happy to have read this post and so happy for you! I’m glad the bday was great and hope you know I’m sending you good bday and life vibes from here…. πŸ™‚

  5. It sounds like you had a lovely birthday. I’m glad things are getting better for you.

  6. Sounds like a perfect birthday and weekend! You deserve it. πŸ™‚

  7. Kate – Saturday was a little piece of awesome for me, too…I’m selfishly working on Dan to move closer to the north shore than to lowell, simply because I can’t imagine living that far away from you guys…

  8. “You just can’t appreciate every moment, because some moments suck. ”

    I love this. So true and a good reminder as I kick myself some days for not relishing every moment with my kids.

    Nothing-special-goodness is the best kind πŸ™‚

    Nice post – I like you’re writing.

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