I wake up almost every morning happy. I crank open my eyes to assess the weather, then turn to my prayer practice. I tug on wool socks, light a candle because Rumi says, "learn to light the candle." I close my eyes again. This seals the deal on my internal climate. I can handle calamity. Though I have ridden out usual mothering storms and some complicated travails, today's stratospheric turmoil has rocked me. Caused solely by my college-aged son, who'd just spent 18 hours with us, who left at 7:30 AM because he wanted to get back to school to the library. Here I am, saying goodbye, again. He is not off to the military, not off to the fields. He is not off to the hunting grounds or climbing on to a horse or a camel or a tank. He is getting in to his little car and taking his clean laundry and going back to school. But my heart cracks anyway, because wherever the destination, it is away and that changes me.
So I find myself in a curiously quiet house, no alternate sound track running in another room. The girl child is off on an arctic adventure in Manhattan. After 22 years of being accompanied, I am alone. They will be back; this nest is not cleaned out and orderly after the upheaving of babies, toddlers, or teens.
But look who has moved in! Doubt, the cold sister of possibility, has already chosen her bedroom. She chimes in before it is her turn to talk. She tugs away my equanimity and questions every choice. She loves to dangle the "who do you think you are" banner across my daylight. She glories in my prolonged dithering.
Then, Annie Dillard shows up:
The sensation of writing a book is the sensation of spinning, blinded by love and daring.
There is a bootstrap and I will pull it up today. I know what it feels like to show up blind with love, daring to move forward, even when I don't want to, even when Doubt casts her pallor over my day. I have 22 years of experience showing up for two people. Some days, I did not feel like oatmeal or elastic waist jeans pulled over thick-diapered bottoms, but I got them on anyway. Oats and jeans. Doubt. Take a seat. Take a number. Get in line.
Daring and love snuck in and I have work to do.