It is a gray and dreary day where I wander through my work and never quite commit myself to anything other than my own darkness. We are all recovering from a various ailments and disappointments (teeth, kidneys, guilt) and Jessie is home with a cold. I let her sleep in and call in sick for her, ply her with juice and homeopathic remedies when she does awake—groggy and stuffed up , bring down pillows and the rainbow blanket to make a special bed on the couch, place Kleenex and apple juice close by among the books and magazines and the pieces of an Eiffel tower puzzle that litter the coffee table. And then, knowing she could drive me crazy by watching endless rounds of 7th Heaven or Wizards of Waverly Place on YouTube all day on her computer, I tell her just how she is expected to recover. By drinking plenty of fluids and resting—which can include reading, maybe by writing, perhaps listening, but NOT watching TV. She doesn’t argue, which indicates just how tired and run down she really is.
I sit at my desk. Work is slow and molasses-like; I question every sentence or find myself on page 14 without remembering editing pages 9 through 13. I look out the window and see the red and yellow leaves on the tall maple explode as hundreds of starlings fly into the sky. I think, that would be beautiful if I were capable of thinking/feeling beauty. Some days are just dark.
After a lunch of chicken soup (from a can) and applesauce, I suggest to Jessie that we nap together. This is, sometimes, the only way to get her to really rest. Sometimes, just by nestling together under the duvet, she falls asleep in spite of herself.
Upstairs then. We are mother and child again. And I think of all the years when she was a just a young pigeon of a thing and we cuddled in bed as a family, all warm and wiggly and giggly under the duvet. Jessie filling the perfect space between us. And the years in her late teens, when she and I fought all the time, but she would sneak into bed with me in the early mornings after Dan had gotten up and, still sleepy, not fully awake, we would gently nudge ourselves together, a truce of a snuggle in the early hours before words and egos were fully aroused and on guard.
So sometimes, her feeling out of sorts is a small gift. And while I grumble about work being interrupted, on days like today I am thankful for the chance to nap, to love, to hold my grown daughter in the crook of my arm, ostensibly to have her sleep, but more to have her know that she is loved. And for me to know that I love her. Because on a gray and dreary day, that might just be enough.