Joy, plans gone awry, contentment lost, and hope regained

Three weeks ago when my family returned from Idaho I was very content. I was feeling very homey, too. Inspired my Aunt Cheryl's welcoming and cozy home, and my Aunt Stephanie's beautiful framed prints - all garage and estate sale finds - I had plans to improve this little house for my family by bending my mind to something that doesn't come naturally: decorating.

The main way I planned to make our house more a home was by putting up pictures of grandparents. We have none on these walls. I arrived home, and I couldn't believe that I have neglected to put up photos of my beloved Grandmama, of Matthew's grandparents who have all passed on now, and of all our grandparents and parents. This is a serious lack. Matthew and I have never been great about taking or displaying pictures, but there is no excuse. I thank my Aunt Cheryl again for inspiration, for she took me around her home and showed me the history of our family in many photos set in myriad frames.

I had such plans a few weeks ago for being a "homemaker" in the best sense by lovingly improving my family's comfort, peace, joy and sense of connection to one another through simple but thoughtful means. I was going to labor in the yard, too, planting a lush winter lawn.

And I was going to write about the joy of our Idaho visit. Of how my children were amazed by how many relatives they have on their Paca's and their Grandmama's side. How Berto said the parade of relatives was like an "endless pit" (he meant it in the best way); how my kids asked from time to time in awe, "Mama, how many relatives do you have? They just keep coming!"; how I felt immense pride that I could claim all these great and interesting people as part of my extended family.

I was going to make you hungry by recounting the wonderful meals prepared for us by Uncle Kip and Aunt Cheryl on one side and my Uncle Bryan on the other and even confess how we went to a wonky Asian-Western inspired and golf-themed restaurant called Little Orphan Annie's with my cousins and aunt.

I was going to share that my kids rode four-wheelers for the first time with my cool uncles and talked about nearly nothing else the day after, so thrilled were they by that grand small-town experience.

And there were tremendous surprises during our trip. We missed our flight going to Idaho. That was nerve-wracking, but when we got there my kids saw Paca and Grandmama (my parents) at their great-grandparents place (on my dad's side), a big surprise for them that I almost ruined at least a dozen times. When we went to my Grandpa's the next day, my Uncle Jim was there and I had no clue he would be in town! He tried to teach me to play pinochle once when I was in high school. I reminded him of my inability to learn and my parents frustration and how all the while he was patient. We were blessed to visit with every one of my mama's surviving siblings that Sunday. On the next day I saw my Uncle Ruben whom I have not seen since my wedding 15 years ago when he filmed the ceremony. He used to drive to Tennessee often to visit our family when I was a kid, and he would let my siblings and I raid his cooler full of drinks and snacks and bring his video camera so we could make goofy movies. One even had a Star Trek theme, and Uncle Ruben was Spock!

It was such an amazing trip, the best we have had yet. It was overflowing with family and adventure, better than the excursions we used to make to San Diego to visit the beach.

Then my joy was suddenly stolen because I woke up Tuesday morning of last week with vertigo. It hasn't plagued me in years, but it was just as bad as I remembered.

All my plans as a wife, mother and writer for that week were utterly destroyed. I won't bore you. Instead "let me sum up". I barely touched my husband for several days. I couldn't work or accomplish my simple goals. I was prey to my own caprices.

And I lost my gratitude. I knew I should thank God for my overall health, that it was just a bad case of persisting dizziness. I knew I should remember, "this, too shall pass". Instead I became very depressed, felt disconnected from my spouse and children, and by the end of the week began to have some very unsettling thoughts as I battled depression.

Shudder. I don't really want to dwell on it more. Until yesterday morning I was still battling the after-effects, being blown about by my own mood.

But today? Today I saw a rainbow. Today I caught up on a good amount of work and even sorted my email and hopped on Facebook. Today I am writing.

My thoughts are tame and friendly once more. Thank, thank God.

And I am remembering that trip to Idaho and all the faces of my loved ones.

And feeling grateful and content.


  1. I'm so glad you're feeling better. Vertigo is THE PITS. It slams the door shut on day to day life. I hope you'll still write more about your family trip as the vertigo recedes and life returns to normal.

    1. Leonora, you're the best. Vertigo is truly the pits, and you can't behave normally at all.

      I think I'll sprinkle in little moments now and again from that great trip. I am so grateful my kids got to spend time with their great-grandparents. That was special.

  2. So happy to hear you are better, Hoodoo. Please stay that way.

    1. Thanks, Papa. I hope Mama is feeling much better, too, and will not get sick anymore this year.


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