Again, the season is changing. Again, it’s Fall. Every October, I would get this sweet anticipation for the shorter days, the vivid colors, and the cooler temperatures. Every year I would pull our Halloween decorations out of the attic, from the big orange and black bin we bought at Target. I would relive every Halloween I have had since Savannah was born, and the excitement I felt as we purchased each decoration. I pull out the skeleton in his cage, and remember the year in preschool at Hudson Memorial, when she took it for show and tell. This year, she yells at me to leave her alone, She is reading. . The past two years in Raleigh, she didn’t have any desire to put them on display. Yet another indication among many that it was time to leave. Why was I making myself miserable trying to clean 2,000 square feet, keep a nice front yard, and pressure wash the back deck, since Savannah rarely moved from her spot on the couch, and Martin was perfectly comfortable at his desk. Every evening. And on it went. I believe I may have even put up the tree by myself last year, for the third year in a row. Dragging myself up the ladder to the attic to pull down those red and green, heavy bins, building the artificial tree, limb by limb, and carefully unpacking every decoration we have collected over the years to put them on the tree. And for whom? Did anybody really care? I had never done this before in my life until Savannah was born. This isn’t really who I am. Going back 12 years ago, I was lying on my couch at the house on Esher court with my then 8 month old daughter. I was single and not really in the best of sprits, when my mom barged in with the fake tree, carrying on as she put it together. “You have to get up and get with it, girl. you have a child to think about now. My grand baby is gonna have a tree. She deserves a tree. And a happy mother. . Forget about you and help me put this thing up!” Turns out some of my favorite Christmas pictures ever are from that day, with Savannah in her little flannel footie pajamas, her little blond curls shaking with excitement as she picked up the ornaments mom brought over, one from every Christmas of my life. Mom did this so I would have a collection when I grew up. I guess it was official at that moment then, I was grown. And this was yet ANOTHER one of those times when I witness the redeeming power of God. When I break, He puts me together much better than I was before. Every time.
Last night I wake up at 4:00 am, in the most excruciating pain imaginable. I felt like I would to vomit from the sheer agony I feel inside of my body. This is the first time I have had a fibromyalgia flare-up since moving to the city. That year of the diagnosis, I completely lost whatever was left of me, and who knew who that was outside of motherhood? Being a wife was brand new to me, and I sort of sucked at it. The suburbs were crushing my soul, so Savannah and I began our twice yearly trips to NYC, until I finally broke down and rented a studio apartment and made it permanent. My family works well this way. Martin sits at his desk at night. Savannah sits at her spot on the sofa. And Chico has his. We are all the same, just sharing a room like we did when space was abundant. But we are much happier and more fulfilled. We are growing in ways that I could have never imagined. The decorations sit in a storage center near the railroad tracks in downtown Raleigh. I wonder if there would have been a New York for me, if fibromyalgia hadn’t happened but just Gina, stuck in the suburbs, bitching about all of the moms who raise chickens and talk about what they are making for dinner that evening . Not that there is anything wrong with being a housewife and raising chickens. They are both very admirable. It just wasn’t me. I craved a bigger life. So I wake up in a relapse of pain one night. At least I have this people-as-art city, that inspires me to grow and re-imagine my life in ways that I never could have in my little southern world. Again, God gets the glory. He moves in mysterious ways. He didn’t bring me through all of this to sit on it and not share, so now its time for me to get to work.
I have never grown up before. Ive never experienced the simple childhood joys and the beauty of music, the written word, a broadway show, or walking the city streets for hours with my camera. I never grew up before you. Because of you I am who I am. My daughter, my teacher.