Just grateful

I know, if I looked at my life a different way, I’d be able to make a good case for why I’m doomed. My husband has stage IV cancer, I have two progressive neurological diseases that are both getting worse, etc. But I don’t feel that way at all. I actually feel pretty damn grateful.

One small reason is that my youngest asked me tonight at dinner if we could leave immediately afterward to pick up his girlfriend. She’d had a major fight with her guardian and wanted time to cool off. I said of course.

Then he told me that he hoped I didn’t mind but he already told her it was okay even before he asked me, just because he was so certain that my answer would be yes.

I love everything about that. Part of it is because he and I are close and he can usually predict how I’ll react to stuff. (He’s a lot like J in that regard.) I also love it because there was probably a time—by now long ago—when the kids probably wouldn’t have been as certain of my answer, because I was a lot more unpredictable and stressed out. It shows how much progress I’ve made.

But the reason I loved that the most is because this is always the kind of parent I wanted to be, the one my kids’ friends could come to and know they would be taken in, no judgments and no questions asked.

I discovered that since I had my micro-dosing-related breakdown about my husband’s death, I no longer feel traumatized by it anymore. I know it will happen someday and I know I will be absolutely gutted when it does. But I’m now free to live in the moments that he is still here with me, without thinking about when he won’t be. That is such an absolute relief, I can’t even put it into words.

My youngest asked me tonight if I had tried micro-dosing yet and what I thought about it. Yes, I did talk to him about it beforehand. I was very conscious not to do anything when any of my kids were under 18, just because I was irrationally paranoid that they might be taken away from me. But I have always been very honest with them about drugs and alcohol and so far it has worked to demystify them (which was my intent.)

He asked if I would ever let him try micro-dosing. I thought about it a bit and said maybe. I then asked if he thought that made me the most irresponsible parent in the world (I’m sure some people would think so) and he said no. He guessed that it was a matter of risk assessment for me, which it is, and said he knew that if he ever asked me to try a cigarette, my answer would be a definite no. (Again, he was right—I struggled with nicotine addiction for much of my life and I would never, ever want to risk my kids going through it.)

I just feel like writing thank-you notes to so many people who have helped us along the way. Everyone from my youngest’s guidance counselor, who saw and encouraged the potential in him, to my landlord, who hasn’t raised our rent in five years. (I might send the thank-you note to the guidance counselor but not my landlord; I fear that the landlord might take that opportunity to raise our rent.) Not to mention all the people who made it possible for me to move down here in the first place. I have never forgotten my gratitude about that and make every effort to pay it forward.

I live in a beautiful home. It’s not remodeled to the newest finishes but that doesn’t matter to me. It’s in the neighborhood where I always wanted to live. It was once the up-and-coming neighborhood, where the upwardly mobile crowd wanted to live, but that was 20 years ago.

The character of the neighborhood has changed a bit since then in good ways. Some of the original owners are still here but I’m also surrounded by a fair number of middle-class immigrants, who bring diversity to my life. I can put hippie pro-LGBT signs in my yard and no one ever complains. I feel safe here. I would honestly stay here forever if I could (and who knows, I might, if my landlord doesn’t raise my rent.)

We have enough bedrooms for all the kids. I have an office for myself (or my husband to use when he works from home, which is sadly not often anymore.)

I have a great home life. We all get along pretty well. And every now and then, we get little treats, like the new living room furniture we ordered thanks to a generous gift from my mother-in-law. We have two reliable newer cars for the first time in our lives. We can afford to pay bills when they come in.

Life is just really, really good sometimes. I don’t want for anything.

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