Groundhog Day

Life has felt oppressively the same lately.

Don’t get me wrong. Everyone’s doing comparatively well. No one is seizing tens of times a day and losing critical developmental skills like sand in a sand timer or telling their sweet, first-year 5th-grade teacher to “Suck my mother fucking dick”.

So…comparatively well.

My friend Rachel said she thinks it’s when things are calm, too calm, the trauma starts to process.

It’s after the raging seasons of medical and behavioral parenting PTSD, when all of the detritus starts to make its way to shore, the waves bringing in the garbage from wars waged out at sea over and over and over again.

So….are we comparatively well? If thingsare going well, it makes my brain itch, because I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. And when it doesn’t, then it feels like that game where you have to keep pushing the button on Daddy’s alarm clock as punishment until Daddy suddenly snaps awake and you pee your pants a little bit.

If I had describe how I’ve felt in an independent short film cartoon,

Open on a boxy cartoon of a woman who begins to run through the same routine every damn day as the world seems to get more colorless. Yes, nothing bad was happening but nothing great either. More colorless and colorless.  Also, despite the woman’s notice, the routine changes just a little every day (the boy takes steps holding a hand, the boy uses his eye gaze machine to communicate, etc). The viewer’s point of view is that these changes are obvious but it’s not obvious to the woman, like a stop motion film. God, everything is just the same.

Alex and I got to go to Copper Breaks State Park. It’s a three-and-a-half-hour drive from our home and Alex was so excited. We haven’t been camping alone together for almost 9 years.

CBSP, as the locals like to call it, is not known for its beauty, unless you prize mesquite trees and scrubland. They have 6 of the State’s official Texas Longhorn herd. We got to pet them and feed them and try not to stick our fingers in their nose.

There are mountain biking trails and a very small, very brown lake. We hiked across the dried-up lake bed to a man-made dam and made our way to the water on the other side where Alex caught a few fish

No. People go to Copper Breaks for the stars. It’s an international dark sky park, known for low light pollution.

On Friday night, Alex and I ate burned pineapple upside-down cake and then hiked back across the dry lake bed to a rock-hard beach. We spread out a blanket and waited for the sun to dip below the West Texas mesas to our west. The sun painted beautiful colors while the stars, dim at first, began to dance across the sky. God, how many stars are there?

With our crappy telescope, we glimpsed the face of Old Father Moon. We used phone apps and our eyes to identify different constellations. We read Greek legends of different constellations to each other while the app played galaxy music.

And guess what? The second night, we did it again and it was amazing. I could do it every night without getting bored. Without stopping to look, we might sleep or eat or veg out or stress instead of getting a chance to watch the international space station race by, hurdling itself through space like a shooting star.

God, something majestic happens every damn night and I sleep through it like a fool because it’s a very good, very boring, fucking routine.

I’ve been trying. Trying to see routine as a gift. Trying to see the small things as I can instead of focusing on how progress comes so slowly that it feels like no progress at all.

The road between school to work to home to school to home to therapy runs ruts in the roads and the car tires sink lower and lower until at a routine physical therapy visit, of which you have 110 a year, your son takes his first 7 steps without any assistance at all. And everything snaps back into bright colors.

God, life is very much the same and it’s so good. God, thank you for this fucking routine, this so-good, very-boring routine. That is so-good that it can’t-be-boring routine.

Happy Groundhog Day, everybody.

3 thoughts on “Groundhog Day

  1. My Passionate Sister Beth

    Clearly, you desire more excitement, stimulation, and variety. But that is not in the cards for this season of your journey.

    So you went to the mighty pen to vividly express your chaffing feelings. You used rough language to disclose the nature of the deep discomfort.

    Besides the muse of Angst, there were the muses of Travel and Nature to stimulate your poetic imagery.

    This blog post reminds me of many of the Psalms in the Bible where David started out by calling on God about his terrible conditions. Then by the end, there was a positive conclusion.

    What I perceive in this text includes the real and raw expressions of a hurting person.

    Again it is a delight to read one of your blog posts.

    The keyboard is your friend. Invest quality time to nurture your communication skills there.

    John S. Oliver

  2. I invite you to riff on how you felt in the video.

    And shape with your wordsmithing your internal feelings at each future micro improvement in your life.

  3. I think I’ve watched that video multiple times every time it shows up on any of the social media where we are connected. And I cry every time. Every single time. So proud of that boy and of you, sweet friend. Your boys are growing up and I’m so thankful that you share all the moments with us.

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