The wonder of it all….

I met up with my plumber at my house the other day. I arrived early, and opened my front door, while balancing jugs of water on my right hip. The scent of an old wood burning fire still lingered in my house and is like a welcome onslaught to my senses. I smile.. home…

The insurance company finally agreed to pay for an insulated well line at my house which made more economic sense, then continuing to pay to put me up in hotels after the well line continued to freeze because it was exposed. It took some convincing, but persistence became the key.

I was eager with anticipation for my trusty plumber, Mike to install this line, so I could be sure to always have running water. It has certainly been an education this last few months. It has not been one that I wanted, or anticipated, but it was required none the less. How casually I had just assumed that water that runs from my faucets in my house would just be there. I had not thought to be been thankful for it, just assumed it would be there as a natural well spring magical fountain. I now know just how much water it takes to fill up the back of the toilet in order to get one good flush… the more you know.

The “ more you know” the more I can be thankful for… this much I am realizing.

I had been staying at a long extended stay hotel for the last while, and really enjoyed swimming, and doing lengths in the indoor pool.. nobody used it usually…. but me. I had become friends with the maintenance, and pool guy, and had a few lengthy discussions with him about family, faith, and how nobody just uses the pool anymore… ya know.. the little things.

I was entering onto the elevator on one of my last days there carrying 4 jugs, and a bunch of people were already there as the doors opened. I blurted out…

“ I’m just really thirsty…”….

They laughed, and gave me wide smiles .. but .. then of course moved away from where I was standing…

Now I am hold up at my brother’s house, with some of his family.

Before this pandemic became as it is now, my Mother required surgery. I won’t go into the particulars, but let’s just say, it was necessary to her wellbeing that this surgery took place . She was scheduled for her procedure on Friday the 13th of March, which maybe should have given us a clue that present circumstances were about to get whacky.

Mum post surgery in her fancy blue evening gown

By the time she was released by the doctor, and able to be transferred back to her senior retirement living center, I was not allowed in, as a family member, only healthcare workers.

That felt weird to not be allowed in to see her… a new normal… for now..

I had jumped in my car earlier, and driven an hour to get over to meet the ambulance bringing her back… but missed her… that was deflating… I couldn’t see how she looked.. or say..hi, or I love you, and see you soon. I just handed over her walker, medication, and overnight bag… to the nurse on staff at the Retirement Residence. I had to let go of the control wheel, peeling off my clenched knuckles, and trusting those that were looking after her would actually look after her. I was the act of letting go…. trust.

I stood in the foyer between normally opening double doors, and chatted with the nurse who was screening individuals going in.. we had a great discussion about aging parents, and the geriatric community. She gave me some useful advice. I was waiting for Barbara, my Mum’s private caregiver to arrive. She would be allowed in to care for Mum, but no family members, until the present situation with this virus was eradicated… not sure how that will play out… such unforeseen times in which we find ourselves.

Mum is recovering well, and feeling stronger every day. We are grateful. When she arrived back at her residence, she was kept in her room for 5 days, since she had been at the hospital. Barbara went back and forth to the dining room, and brought her meals back on trays, bathed her, and took excellent care… as she always does… amazing woman that she is.

Netflicks, and watching movies seems to be a natural distraction as I am hold up with my peeps. I had heard of this movie, but hadn’t watched it, or if I did, I needed to again… I knew it would make me cry…

“Wonder” with Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. The main character is August Pullman, “ Auggie.” He was born with a facial deformity. His Mum had homeschooled him up until the 5th grade, then decided it was time for him to be integrated into public school.

After his first day, the kids were already teasing him, and his Dad, played by Owen Wilson said to him,

“ You can’t change the way you look… maybe we change the way we see..”

Just looking on the outside package, and judging the contents therein, never seems to fit.. people surprise you in all kinds of ways, and more often than not, what is on the outside does not match what is contained inside, and yet we can’t help but look first, before we actually seek out what lies inside the person.

This movie struck a nerve with me on many levels. I identified with Julia Roberts, as the protective, and fierce Mamma Bear, looking after her cub, and now letting him out into the wild world to be gawked at, ridiculed, and demeaned. It is horrifying to wait to observe, knowing the pain that your child will face. You would do anything to keep them from it, and yet you know.. it’s a coming.

I don’t want to spoil all the movie, as you may want to check it out.. and I may not be an acclaimed movie critic, but I am a sucker for a good story that teaches me something, that I didn’t know I needed to know, about how compassion and friendship can triumph even when there is hurt and misunderstanding. There is always room to rebuild, if there is forgiveness, and acceptance.

It seems as if often children are the best teachers of this…

The main character Auggie loves the movie, Star Wars, and all things about space. He says this line, which hits home to me…

“It’s not like I blew up the Death Star. No one is ordinary… we all deserve a standing ovation once in our lives.”

Insomnia is something I struggle with, and this night, I found my mind wandering somewhere between wakefulness, and netflicks, and prayer, and then I heard an odd sound.. a buzzing fly.

I know what you are thinking..” squirrel,” Jill… focus … ha… the struggle is real..

This fly had to be drunk, he or she was buzzing crazily about on the ceiling, bumping off the recessed lights, and walls. It looked like a bumper car with no driver, and with the gas pedal that was stuck at full throttle. I kept the lights on, and he found himself caught in an old spider web. He managed to break free, then more spastic flying, and he was caught again.

I was reminded of how easily I become entrapped, then become free, only to find myself trapped again, by easy and usual responses. Making new choices, and decisions, then sticking to them has to be intentional, and consistent, or I am like this crazed fly bouncing off the ceiling. Just an observation.. don’t be the fly.

It’s intriguing to see the ways in which people are connecting to one another at a safe distance. Singing and playing instruments on balconies in Italy, people having happy hour on their porches, with neighbors who are staying on their own verandas.

Taking walks with family members you find yourself sequestered at home with. Family dinner time is back, its hold never have left. Watching movies, and eating jalapeño Cheetos, and taco popcorn, with wine, alongside a roaring fire..taking time together to have late night conversations… it’s the best.

The creativity of individuals comes shining through, and hope bursts forth when people are coming together for the common good, and working to survive. It’s encouraging.

Also food, and food prep.. using what you have, and sharing it with those you love, nurturing through the process.

My brother Dean recommended me watch the movie “ Burnt” on Netflicks , with Bradley Cooper.

It’s a good movie if you enjoy cooking. There are a lot of good shows out there about cooking. I have the feeling that some people will become better chefs now that they are at home.. the possibilities are endless.. your taste buds await.. salivating with anticipated longing… for new sensations to savor.

Homemade corn chowder and corn bread
Spicy, creamy red pepper rotini

Cooking… I like it..experimenting with spices and sweetness…

Wedge salad with blue cheese and bacon, red onion, cherry tomatoes, blue cheese dressing and pepper…

Taking photos of food… makes me happy..your welcome, but creating it, even more.

Did I mention naps… the best four lettered word out there.. I bet people are taking more naps. The luxury of an afternoon nap can’t be underestimated. Naps are good .

Staying connected through phone calls, your kids’ voices coming to you from across the miles, is especially sweet when you are separated by great distances and other countries.

Prayers… the “ wonder” of it all, and without which I could not function. Grateful to be able to indulge in this practice often.. it does not make you fat, it’s free, and it’s benefits are priceless… in my experience.

Books, so many to read, or maybe even write, if you are so inclined. Poems to be penned, and lyrics waiting to become the next great love song, or the heavy medal anthem to calm the storm within..

Barbara and Mum… before social distancing, and her surgery….

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