We are landlords again.
Keith got the call a few evenings ago, out of the blue. The last people to view the house loved it and wanted to move in the next day, and they did.
Looking back now, Keith and I are not sure how we made it through the last five months. It was unnerving, akin to walking on thin ice day after day, hearing it crack a little beneath our weight and looking always for the shore and not seeing it.
Our Christmas this year is still going to be modest and we are not able to travel up to Indiana as we usually have.
We did, however, buy something for Baby- the crib mattress. Keith jammed it up into our cart and then we looked at each other.
"For Baby!" I exclaimed happily. "Whoever and wherever he or she is!"
"Whoever," Keith repeated, smiling.
When I got home, I put away the groceries and then dressed the crib with Winnie the Pooh sheets and bumper pads. The nursery looks much more cozy now. I can imagine a tiny, wrinkled new born lying on those sheets, wearing footed pajamas and looking around with jerky movements and wide eyes.
We are going to take one month to try and do some repairs to our battered finances and then we will take out the loan in February and go active at the adoption agency.
This Christmas has been rough. I always feel as if I am scavenging through all the emotional clutter to get at something meaningful, some small piece of joy or hope or wonder that is left under the pressing anxiety of expectations.
I was cleaning out my bedside drawers recently- looking for something which I did not find- and I came across this scrap of paper on which I had written all the anxieties that had been pressing down on me at that time.
It was a long list and the funny thing was, I couldn't remember a single one of them. None of them mattered, in the long run. All of them were resolved.
All I could remember was how oppressed I had been by them at the time.
I've brought that scrap of paper to mind many times in the last few weeks. I don't know how or when, but I know that everything that feels heavy and impossible, everything looming over me right now, will be resolved and pass away.
As usual, I try always to wake up in the present moment; to be alive here and now, no matter how much I would like to escape into a rosy vision of what the future might hold, no matter how tightly I feel myself to be tied to the past.
Right now, for example, I hear the quiet clatter of the dryer and the whir of the heater, as it fights off the chill of this gray morning.
Keith's sneakers are tumbled at the floor beside my desk and my glasses rest on top of a Christmas card sent from my parents.
The Christmas lights twinkle in a haze of red, orange, green and blue; their reflections shine diffused and soft in the wood floor below.
Lynn sits at the window next to me, intent on some mysterious and pressing matter that only she knows about- a rabbit, maybe.
Right now, I feel worn out, inside and out. And that is okay. Even the landscape around me is resting now, bedded down deep and sleeping in the short days.
After the quietness, a different season will be coming. Right now there is only the promise of it, a light in the dark.