That is mos def one of the vaguest post titles I have ever written and will ever write. It's ridiculous. But so was today.
After a very emotional weekend which included an enormously beautiful memorial service for a friend gone too soon, one of my dearest pals arrived into town last night. This was a balm. I was covered in cat hair and wore no make up. Jack was raising hell about going to cotillion's Holiday Dining Etiquette class which, let's be honest, is the reason I registered him for cotillion in the first place. Eating soup with one's hands? Not appealing anywhere, and yet he persists. Oliver had just split his pajama pants from knee to ankle and was slightly overtired-manic after a perfect day at a pal's house. Tom was goggle-eyed because he'd been to memorial part deux until 2 am.
If a friend can saunter into that fray, you know she's a good one.
As such, Anne and I celebrated with cocktails, and a large skillet of pasta, and laughter and the realest sort of talk. And then Oliver went to sleep, and Jack came home with a large pamphlet from National Protocol, LTD (OMG, that is so intense! But he did learn so much! Amen!), and Tom went to bed because he was drained, and then we exhaled and clinked glasses and felt the same gratitude- for good friends and bedtimes.
She and I are taking yet another online writing class together. That's how we met, and today found us beginning the fourth or fifth one anew. We wrote together this morning, quietly, at my kitchen table, and then parted ways for several hours.
During that time I saw another friend who lost her mother two months ago and her husband on Thanksgiving. The pain of 2016 is unceasing it seems. Oh, and Ben Carson is heading HUD? What? I am struggling to ingest this news. It's like every day brings a new presidential appointment or expose which is rather like ripping a whole body scab off each and every morning; they are all that terrible.
Anne walked back in as I was snarfing salad from the mixing bowl and attempting to roll out large amounts of butter cookie dough to stamp before the boys got home to decorate them. Teacher gifts. It's a good thing I wasn't mainlining Xanax, for christs sakes. I mean, shit, 2016.
We caught up from our days, and I was starting to feel centered again and then two hours later, there was a debacle with an over-frosted cookie and a brother and awful words were screamed from one brother to another, and one ended up with a swollen ear, and both were crying, and I just sat in the kitchen like someone who'd just dared look Medusa in the eyes. Frozen. Stunned. Immobile.
Tears coursed down my stone face, and rage through my icy veins, and I was surrounded by crumbs of the cookies I'd just spent hours rolling and baking and cooling, so thoughtfully and hopefully. And that's really the worst of it, I think. That hope and time all in smithereens on the floor around me with kids crying amidst it all and a friend watching on. As if anyone should see the inside of the sausage.
But of course we all see that, just not together. And we should, and Anne did. And she said, "Well, my goodness, I am right at home." Which is, of course, just perfect because she meant it so sincerely and with such love. Because she, too, has found herself crying and surrounded by crumbs and fighting children and a complete shock at just what the fuck happened on a random Monday night for which you had planned and had such hopes.
It is an hour later now, and I have stopped shaking from rage. I have had some wine. One cleaned the smashed cookies, and I put the others are in Tupperware. Ben Carson is still head of HUD but everyone is standing up for Comet Pizza (as they should), and so many are brave in this fight for our country.
I think about the historical arcs which great countries summit and bend round. I think about how imperialism died and dynasties fell and greatness was vanquished, and I wonder if this is not our time to fall so deeply and so hard. I wonder if the cookie crumbs are the hopes of American progressives, who see the better whole we could be but aren't. Sometimes, hard landings are the only way to learn.
I think about the resistance, the fight for better. Hell, the fight for good. The fight towards a better, more cohesive tomorrow. And I think about how I will always fight for that, even when I am covered in cat hair and my crow's feet are pronounced and my kids are melting down and I am ashamed of my country's leadership-to-be. This is precisely the time to fight, to resist, to march, to stand up and speak out. It is the time to "feel at home" and to find strength in that and to make the perpetrator sweep the crumbs and to all work hard tomorrow. Damned is the one who won't, for he will lose in the end.