Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.— Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
It’s funny how platitudes and bromides are the sorts of things I hear when I’m at the end of my rope and my response is all, Yeah, well, fuck you and your ‘this too shall pass’ and your ‘it all works out in the end’ and your ‘everything happens for a reason’ because I am IN PAIN RIGHT NOW and I don’t want to hear about how in a day or two or four it’s all going to work out. But then I woke up and even though I’d only had a few hours of sleep because I (once again) stayed up watching HBO ’til 3am, I remembered what M.M. said about finding the sunny places in the world and I made it a point to walk on the sunny side of the street and sit in a sunny seat on the bus and take just a minute to focus on actually feeling the sun before I walked into work and then the good things started to flow:
- Retroactively since Nov 1, I’ve got insurance through work.
- A student who’s been vocal about her struggles with alcoholism asked for my advice and support today, and I was able to give it to her.
- For unknown reasons my teaching paycheck was $43 larger than usual. It’s not a lot, but it was a nice surprise. I think I’ll treat A. to dessert tonight.
- The student-teacher conference with W.’s teacher went well; once I explained his educational history, we made plans to accelerate him even more quickly and it looks like he’ll be able to get through 6th and 7th grade this year.
- There’s this guy I met over the summer who I kinda ended up blowing off in August & I’d sent him an email apologizing for being an ass and he responded with such a sweet message that when I mentioned it to A., she swooned (well, as much as you can swoon in Gmail chat…) and, well… coffee never hurt anyone, right?
- B. and I are having a sleepover with M., W., and D. tomorrow night. This is the first sober sleepover I’ve been to since, oh, middle school. And it is going to involve board games and pizza and video games and quite possibly a pillow fight or two. The thought makes me oddly giddy.
But then, also, things were, uh, tempered when I ran into the assistant head of the department after my class & asked her how her husband is doing. Her husband, see, is the head of my graduate program, and he was diagnosed with prostrate cancer a little over a year ago, and the last time I’d heard anything he had just started a third round of chemo and he looked not-so-good (so not-so-good, actually, that N. seriously fell off the wagon because he was so upset). And the minute I asked her how E. was doing, her face fell and she looked serious and very sad when she told me he was in the hospital and they hoped he’d be out and back to teaching by early next week but that they didn’t really know.
And all of a sudden none of it mattered — the good news, the insurance, the reassurance, the resolutions, the giddiness, the plans — and all I could think about was how, six years ago, I’d sat in E.’s office talking to him about how to get into grad school and whether the program I thought I wanted was the one I needed and what I had to do to make sure I got in and whom I needed to talk to so I could make the right decisions. I’d brought W. with me at the time — he was four years old and antsy and this was before I found out I was pregnant with B. and it was right after 9/11 and the whole world was collapsing and confusing and I was 100% certain my couldn’t-sit-still four-year-old son was going to fuck up my chances of impressing this rather impressive man and I would never, ever be able to get into graduate school… and what E. did was take out a stack of paper and a package of markers and he sat W. down and asked him to draw a picture, and when I went to his office a few years later, that drawing was still taped up on his wall.