Everything’s (just) Okay

For days I’ve been chewing on this one: a moment that offered me proof that everything was going to be alright. I really want to answer this Reverb10 prompt, because it’s a good one, because I like the author, I like her blog and her book, a signed copy of which was among the presents under our tree this Christmas.

Honestly, I cannot think of a moment in the last year when I felt that everything was going to be okay. I can think of many moments like this in my life: for instance when Short-pants was released from the hospital. Even though we had months of physical therapy ahead and our lives were totally bouleversé, I remember the exquisite feeling of relief, pushing her stroller down the central road of the hospital complex toward the main exit; the winter sun low in the sky that was otherwise a flawless blue, literally and figuratively.

But this year, not that things weren’t eventually okay – they are – but I don’t remember ever having that reassuring feeling that they would be. I don’t remember a pivotal stop-in-time moment when it felt like a corner had been turned and things were going to be alright. Mostly I remember feeling like I was drifting from a state of really-pretty-hard to not-awful-but-not-okay, orphaned in my grief, putting one foot in front of the other because that’s what you do; life marches us forward and we manage to keep in step. Pancakes are made, coats are zipped, children rushed out the door and phone calls are made, emails are answered, meetings attended. The industry of being a parent and a professional inches us forward and it’s all like clockwork if you don’t think too hard about it or let yourself feel what’s missing. That’s what the rest of the world expects, not to think or feel too much. Grief is such an imposition, a thing spoken about in hushed tones.

But if you’re like me, and you can’t turn off the ticking thoughts, or quiet that nostalgic heart, it’s hard to answer society’s numbing call to put on a good face and put it all behind you. You do it, but inside you’re trudging along. Yeah, you’re okay, but not really.

I think – at least for me – 2010 wasn’t a year of being alright. It was a year of being rather a bit hard then just being okay. It wasn’t my year, this year. I don’t want to be overly dramatic, I know it could have been a lot worse. There are millions of people in the world who suffer much more than I have. But I think it’s okay to acknowledge that the last year had a heavy cloud hanging over it – at least over my little piece of the universe.

Moving into 2011 isn’t anything but a numeric change; January 1, 2011 is only 24 hours later than December 31, 2010. But somehow the flipping of digits offers a mental satisfaction of a change, a shift, a sense of next. The prospect of a new year means a new start, a clean slate. I will have some one-year anniversaries to move through in the coming months, no doubt, but I’ll forge through them and then, maybe, finally, I’ll have that feeling that things are going to be alright. And when I do, I’ll write about it here.

However, I did share this prompt with Short-pants, who knew instantly what to write. She gave me permission to publish her reply:

I was entering CM1 – the 4th grade – and I was nervous because it was the class that I knew the least about, when you talk about teachers. On September 2, 2010, it was the first day of school and I was worried. I wondered who my teacher would be. When I finally saw the teachers, they both looked nice. My worries escaped from me, suddenly. I knew everything would be okay.

Here we are in the homestretch, winding down the old year, heading into the new year, hoping – and knowing, I guess – that everything will be alright. Let’s hope the new year bring all good things to all of you – to all of us.

I’m participating in Reverb10, and this post is in response to a prompt from author Kate Inglis: Prompt: Everything’s OK. What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

8 Responses to “Everything’s (just) Okay”

  • Rebecca Hurst Says:

    I have also just finished my ‘Everything’s okay’ piece – and spent the past four days mulling over this particular prompt for similar reasons. I especially loved this: ‘you can’t turn off the ticking thoughts, or quiet that nostalgic heart’. Thank you for your post – and for including your daughter’s beautiful writing.

  • Elizabeth Says:

    Sometimes I wish I had a blog so I could follow prompts like this, but I always feel like I could never live up to some of the great bloggers I follow (comme vous, Mom101, et des autres). However, I would like to respond to this. Thank you for giving me the opportunity.

    The moment I knew it would all be okay was Sept. 26, 2010 at 5:05 a.m. I had been pregnant pretty much all year. We had our formal church wedding Jan. 2, 2010, then I went on a 3-week-long business trip and then came home to full blown morning sickness and a pregnancy that left me feeling awful. Add financial stress, a toddler and a step-son (and corresponding baby mama drama) into the mix and 2010 was f-ing rough.

    When Sept. 26, 12:30 a.m. came along and my husband and I were alone with my stepson for the contractions that woke me up, I was terrified. We both were. How were we going to feed and clothe another child? How were we going to make sure our son and step-son didn’t feel displaced? How was I going to give birth without my mom present? How were we going to fit our family into our tiny apartment and too-small car?

    But we did it. For the first time in a long time, my husband and I pulled together as a team and got me through labor without pain meds (no, that was not planned) and without him passing out (this was huge) despite my mom not being there. At 5:05 a.m. on Sept. 26 it was just (the doctor, the nurse) me, him and Meike Teresa, and I knew it was going to be alright.

    2011 can bring it on!

    • MDBlogs Says:

      Elizabeth, glad you were inspired to write your own “it’s going to be alright” moment. It’s helping me get closer to having mine. I’m grateful for your thoughtful comment, you’ve put me in good company. Thanks and happy new year!

  • Elizabeth Marie Says:

    This is a(nother) gorgeous post. I love that you shared Short-pants’ response.

  • Kunyi Says:

    I had trouble with this prompt; I still am. Many difficult things have happened to me without warning, and I know pain can come quickly. I feel more like that Ry Cooder song “Trouble, You Can’t Fool Me” – that trouble is always there, just waiting to jump out at me, on me. And not even to put me in my place. Sometimes just for the amusement of it. That’s the random-ness of trouble -it has no thinking or judging abilities, and it makes me gun-shy.

    I guess this prompt reminds me that time does, if not heal completely, then at least mutes difficulties. Trouble does get behind me and I have been able to see forward and experience joy in the present.

    Wishing you joy in this New Year – Kunyi

  • Bob D. Says:

    A lovely, honest response. And reading a 4th grader’s perspective brought a big smile to my face. Thanks for sharing it.

  • sweetsalty kate Says:

    I’m just seeing this now and it’s lovely.

    This: “…it’s hard to answer society’s numbing call to put on a good face and put it all behind you. You do it, but inside you’re trudging along. Yeah, you’re okay, but not really.”

    Absolutely, beautifully put.

    I was happy to see some people rethinking ‘everything’ and ‘alright’, playing with what those two words might mean, how they could be twisted and rethought. Sometimes, ‘alright’ means having eyes that adapt to see through heavy cloud.

    Thanks for doing this, and happy new year.

  • Franca Says:

    Please tell Short-Pants that I really enjoyed her post (and
    I am not the only one!). Has she ever thought about blogging? I
    would love to read more from her some day.

Leave a Reply