Monday, March 08, 2010

Contracting, expanding

My social network has shrunk since moving up here to be closer to my daughter and her children. This is no one's fault but mine as I have focused mostly on the unexpected transitions occurring within the past couple years, changes which were not part of the future I had planned when I chose to leave job, hometown, and lifelong friends. The cup was supposed to be half full. I even dreamed of an in-law cottage. Happy couple. Happy grandkids. Happy me.

Instead, there has been a lot of pain and loss. It's not easy to watch a marriage collapse and dreams dissolve. Perhaps the only thing of worth I can offer is my presence. At times, it does not seem enough. Yet, somehow, I've managed to stay on my feet and offer steady comfort during some of the darker moments. I can see this in the eyes of my granddaughters and hear it in my daughter's words of gratitude.

Suddenly, there is a bit of slack in our relationship. My daughter tells me to think of myself, to find what gives me pleasure. My granddaughters smile and lovingly tease me to worry less.

I show up at the local ice-skating rink to take videos of the girls. Jenn straps on a pair of ice skates and ventures on to the ice with Sophie and Hannah. The three of them surprise me. They are sure footed, less wobbly than I had imagined they would be. Even the youngest, Hannah, glides by effortlessly and with such determination. Occasionally, they fall down but bounce up quickly.

I am amazed at their grace and resilience. In my heart, I compare their skating to the larger life lessons they are learning: holding on and letting go, slipping, falling, getting up again, regaining balance.

Watching and waiting. Seasons of sadness but, recently, subtle changes for the better. More laughter, less tears. Something good is happening. I can feel it, sense it. There is a quiet strength rippling under the surface, something new waiting to be born.

My gaze returns to the threesome on the ice. They are finding their rhythm, their speed ... testing their wings.

Dare I think of butterflies?

I want to believe in Spring.