There are some days that feel like one of those nightmares where a loved one dies unexpectedly. It’s like one of those dreams that feels so real, one has to call the loved one after waking up to make sure it was only a dream. Except I never wake up. This is a dark chapter. Nothing fixes it, and this trial is not something I can file away in the back of my mind. Sam is my son. My entire life is touched by this shadow.
Yet a smile still finds its way to my countenance. Laughter is still heard in our house. Nothing fixes it, but beauty is a salve. I am blessed on days I find beauty, even more so on days beauty finds me. I close my eyes when beauty visits me, wondering if little pieces of beauty find their way into my bloodstream, traveling through the umbilical cord, finding their way to Sam for his delight.
A friend of my mother’s sent a package of bath products the other day, ordered from New York. I love a warm bath. I love things that smell good. I close my eyes and imagine Sam splashing in the ocean, and I hold the seashells I keep on the edge of the tub, hoping little puffs of seashells, sunshine, and big beach hats make their way to my sweet baby in some mystery of my connection to him. Thank you, Jolie, for sending extra beauty for bathtime.
Shannon sent pickles, peanut butter, and a Giada cookbook. Oh, Shannon, that Giada does my heart good. Nothing diet about her recipes whatsoever. Beauty.
Steven says he likes coming home when the house smells like spices and bread, and there is music playing to match (think Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore” on pizza night!). I like when he comes home, filthy dirty from work, sighs, and kisses my forehead. This is beauty to me. Steven, my masculine Roman soldier husband, is beautiful. He’s standing in front of me as a write, bowling on the Wii, concentrating on the task at hand. “Found my groove,” he announces, and I laugh. “That’s right,” he says nodding with playful pride, and I’m so glad he’s here to be silly with sometimes. Beauty.
I have had an intense craving for a warm Neiman Marcus cookie and milk. It’s a Grind served them, but we learned last night that the one on our side of town went out of business. Then, after driving to the opposite side of town, found out the other one shut down too, apparently a long time ago. Sad. So we drove to Walmart to pick up ingredients to make them ourselves, and forgot the brown sugar. We laughed. So much driving, so little success, but it was funny. Beauty. A husband who won’t give up, saying over and over, “You’re craving a cookie, we’re getting a cookie.” Beauty. We went home, admiring the clear, starry sky as we drove, and curled up in our warm bed and watched King of Queens till we fell asleep. Beauty.
My mother came to visit, and I didn’t cook or wash a dish the entire time she was here. I could stop right there, and say, Now that’s beauty, but I’ll go on. Pasta with tomatoes and cream cheese… macaroni grill bread and olive oil… beef burgundy… chicken tomatillo soup with sour cream and monterrey jack… Beauty. Swapping curly hair gels with the lady I inherited my curls from… looking at ultrasound pictures… considering crib sheets in Pottery Barn Kids and crying sad and happy tears when we leave the store… Beauty.
This morning, we slept til 9, and as Steven and I began to stir, I felt Sam stir with us, and we all wondered about breakfast. I fried bacon, made star-shaped biscuits served with butter and jam, and Steven scrambled eggs while I cleaned up the mess. A team effort. Beauty. It’s almost lunchtime, and we’re still full. Beauty. I’m still in my pj’s and stripey robe, and I don’t care. Beauty. The smell of my new pomegranate candle. Beauty. Found it on clearance. Beauty.
I spill words onto the screen, publish them on this tiny blog, and hear from people about how beautiful it is, but it’s therapy for me, for just as I need to drink beauty, I need to pour it out. This is how I thrive in this shadow. Beauty. I’ll find you, Beauty, please find me.