This morning the gray-soaked dawn is promising a blockbuster shitshow for everyone who has plans for the holidays. Well, except for at least two friends, whose planned family vacation was serendipitously scheduled to depart three days ago (I think it was 3 days ago, though the days for me are melting into one another – more on that later). The rain is falling steadily now and the dogs are inside and Todd is off today and we have nowhere to go.

I’m off today because I’ve been off since December 14th, recovering from rotator cuff surgery of my – thank God for small favors – non-dominant arm. Experience has taught me not to put off the inevitable, especially when it involves improving quality of life and – I cannot stress this enough – the long term Q of life. Wisdom has also tried to teach me to plan well for such events and accept the process.

The wind just started blowing like Mr. Snow Miser wheezing on the earth, except that he’s also spitting violently like my 9th grade algebra teacher and the deck outside my window is alive with the percussion of sleet. I’m so grateful to be home today and not sitting in my office listening to the weight of this storm bearing down on the roof above us, dreading the commute home and every phone call asking if we’re still open.

I got flowers yesterday from my office family – an unexpected and welcome surprise. They are pretty and cheerful and have taken their place on my coffee table next to a near-dead vase of flowers from Todd. There is also a ladybug who appeared mysteriously next to it, I’m assuming he hitched a ride and I even asked how far she traveled but she didn’t answer. In any case, he clearly rode the wrong flower.

Where do flowers come from on the East Coast in winter? I googled this and …“domestically, 75 percent of cut flowers are grown in California, with a small percentage produced in Washington, Florida, Hawaii and other states, according to” That’s a long way and leads to other questions about longevity and loss and NO I am NOT looking that up because we all know the domino effect of this activity and the last time I engaged in it I learned that groundhogs are intelligent and “valuable game animals” that are sometimes eaten in parts of the US and that they put up a hell of a fight when hunted “fairly.” (What does “fairly” mean? – no! no googling that.)

Well, Wikipedia doesn’t say it exactly like that but you get the picture. Also, I can attest to the fight club logic of these little Ewoks after one adrenaline-fueled afternoon trying to drag Shuggie away from an adult she’d cornered by the fence whose prehistoric-sized teeth would give the Big Bad Wolf a run for his money.

So my very own sage – Todd – is home today and decidedly not giving me advice on pain management (other than, if you have questions call the doc), leaving the door open for the other high-ranking Sagittarian in my life to tell me what I should do. For the record, she hasn’t weighed in yet this morning.

I used my intelligence – as one parent suggested to a coworker of mine while scheduling an appointment (oh yes, she DID) – to call the orthopedic office for advice rather than fall down the rabbit hole of searches and end up watching surgery videos again like I did at 11:30 last night because I couldn’t sleep and wanted to know exactly how it was done since I’ve got bruises on my arm that look like I might’ve been restrained during a  bar fight. Anyhoo, now I’m about to sit my ass on the couch with the answers in my swollen left hand. Experience has taught me to be kind and gracious to the nurse on the other end, because she has to work today and I don’t.

So yes – I am recovering nicely, in a sling for six weeks, restricted from driving, lifting, moving (the arm), finished my last narcotic 24 hours ago, sleeping okay but waking up feeling like I’ve been in an automobile  accident, periodically exhausted, not terribly hungry but have plenty of chocolate, reading voraciously (got year-end goals and four books behind), and a husband who actually wants to help and doesn’t just lie around demanding a sandwich. No – he’s the upgrade who handles shit and doesn’t act like a big baby and holds me up, and chatters endlessly about cars, the going rate on a 2017 GT CS, and how the upcoming Dark Horse would complete the stable. He never says no to me, but he doesn’t always say yes. And ladies – he’s all mine.

I’m kinda bored and kinda not, the days drag on and fly by, my house isn’t as clean as I want it to be, I miss my coworkers but not necessarily the job, miss the routine and productivity but not the challenges of public service, I’m heavier than I want to be but cannot exercise like I want to, I want to go out but I’m glad I don’t have to. I miss my children but I won’t put my heart on a silver platter to be broken again.

A dear friend once taught me the phrase: fool me once, shame on you – fool me twice, shame on me. Although I don’t think its necessarily correct in all situations, it is helpful in many. I am, I think as characteristic of most mothers, a fool for my children. I kept trying to bridge the emotional divide, over and over, but they were old enough to ignore the texts and too young to have the maturity of owning their culpability. I sometimes fear they will never come back, but I also have faith in God’s work. Just depends on whose voice is louder today. (Today Snow Miser is on the mic.)

God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.

I know so much more than the 16-year-old girl who fell hard, than the 20-something girl who ran through relationships in search of a repeat, than the English student who transferred to New York City on a whim, than the 29-year-old with a suitcase full of reservations who got married anyway, than the 30-something mother who would die for her baby boy or give her pancreas to her baby girl, than that wife who allowed a man to degrade her and insult and abuse her until his voice lived permanently rent-free in her head, than that same woman who – backed into a corner on December 11th, 2010 – finally said, not today motherfucker.

With age comes experience, wisdom, intelligence; however, looking back, how many of us would change the choices we made? How would that have changed the trajectory? For better or worse?

How to be the sage, or embrace its symbolism or, when all else fails,  set it on fire and let its smoke cleanse your universe?

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