Life has been quite manic around here lately, and last weekend I had to go to Arizona for a family wedding. With my mother. Anyone who has followed the blog for a while knows that my mother is a very difficult person, with whom I have a fraught relationship. But she wanted to go see the granddaughter of her late sister get married. My cousin Jennifer is sentimental about our side of the family, because she lost her mother when she was just 15, and so, because it was important to both of them, I made it happen. It was a Very Long Weekend.
And so last night, I can’t quite even describe the depth of my gratitude for the most ordinary of evenings. I got to the cabin and Himself had just arrived. We took a small walk out to see if the morels are starting to come up yet, and while they’re not, a little walk along the irrigation ditch, with Hank-dog romping in and out and doing his dog-wallow in the snowmelt was perfectly lovely. Because it was calm, we built a fire in the firepit, and watched sparks from our Christmas sagebrush swirl into the air. It’s been so rainy that we didn’t have to worry about setting the valley on fire. A couple of hours outside, with Emigrant peak rising above us, looking up at the expanse of the valley, with a fire, and some sausages, and the dog happily munching on a deer leg he found somewhere. We talked and watched sparks and fed brush into the fire, then went inside to eat and fell asleep with the scent of smoke in our hair.
My childhood was difficult and unlike my mother and my cousin, I am not sentimental about those times at all. It was not a delight to reminisce about my aunt’s house on the lake, a place we were sent every time things fell apart. Which was often. While I don’t usually mind talking about Patrick, with my mother, who behaved so abominably toward me after he died, I avoid the topic altogether, and so when she and Jennifer moved from the topic of Dead Aunt Lynn to Dead Patrick, it was all something of a trial. (However, it was fun to hear Jennifer’s childhood friends talk about the ENORMOUS crushes they had on him.)
Sitting by the fire last night with my Himself, and then driving into town this morning, I was overcome with gratitude for the life I’ve built. I have a lovely relationship with someone I can rely on (who does not like being written about on the intertubes). I have work I like, that brings in enough money to take care of what needs taking care of. I have a dog and a cat and a little flock of chickens, and a backyard garden to feed us all. There are young people, no longer children most of them, who we’re raising as a village, and who are making their own way out into the world.
I worked hard for all this, and had some good luck. And I’m so enormously grateful to have escaped that world I came from, and to have found my way to this place where my life works. Where things hum along, and we enjoy one another, and life isn’t lurching from crisis to crisis anymore.
It’s a little life I’ve built here, but it’s my little life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.