The view from western Massachusetts.

Dude, everything here is technicolor. The sky is BLUE (not brown) and the ground is GREEN (again, not BROWN), the oxygen is palpable. Everyone rides their bike around town (in many parts of LA, this is either idiotically dangerous or just plain not an option); even the trash and recycling is picked up by people on bikes (even in 2 feet of snow in the WINTER!). The town is full of adorable boutiques and unique restaurants. The community is close and welcoming and rallies behind its own.

It's hard to imagine why anyone would live anywhere else.

(I should really come back in February and have my year-round tank top wardrobe immediately freeze in place on my shoulders.)

My friend's husband is walking, talking, living, breathing and HOME. It is good to be here and try to be a support; from afar, I could not truly imagine what is good and what is hard and what is REAL here. They have so many lovely friends that I am somewhat superfluous but it helps ME to be here to do something tangible; to wash dishes, mop floors, do laundry, hold hands. To do the things that long lasting friendship requires in times like this and distance prevents.

Yesterday, I held his head as his neck brace was changed and was moved beyond words to have that precious skull, so recently traumatized, so deeply wounded, in my palms. The responsibility and trust inherent in the act reminded me of holding Zoe in the first few weeks of her life. Did I trust my own hands to carry and hold this precious life before me who felt so fragile? Was I wobbly? Too firm? Not worthy?

There is so much healing still to be done here and yet today I must get back on a plane to go home to my family. We've had Ichats on the computer and cellphone chats but I long to hug my hubbie and squeeze and sniff and tickle my daughter. Zoe is apparently doing fairly well, though during all Ichats and cellphone conversations she invariably demands that "Mommy come home RIGHT NOW" or "see Mommy NOW" and I don't envy CG having to be there for the 10 minutes after the phone call ends. I think this would have broken my heart if she were a tad bit younger and if the reason for me being here was less deeply important to me. I know now that she is resilient and her emotions, even the darkest, loudest, seemingly horrendous ones, pass in a few minutes when you pay attention to her with love (and insistent distraction). All in all, it's been surprisingly easy for me to be away from her, and Zoe seems to be handling it well (apparently she is easily calmed by discussion of how many naps are left before Mommy comes home.) Perhaps this is most difficult of all for CG. ALL HAIL THE SINGLE PARENT whether temporary or permanent. That sh!t ain't easy.


Sas. said...

Have you ever heard this Dar Williams song?



Kathleen said...

Blessings rain down upon you, jenna! You were so not superfluous! No one else has mopped my floors or talked to me until midnight or helped me shovel out the office/studio that was a mess a month ago BEFORE this whole disaster struck us. You are an angel.

And just FYI, the beloved Dar, cited above, was a longtime Northampton resident. The song "Are You Out There" is about none other than my (adopted) hometown's alt-pop radio station. Jimmy Olsen and Johnny Memphis are long time DJs. Love it here. Love it here more if you, CG and little Z were here (or near) too.

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