She is so wonderful and yet so annoying. Never calling before she drops in to visit.
I stare at my glass of sparkling rosé, tiny bubbles rising to the top of one of my 13 crystal wedding goblets. I was planning ahead, you see. Service for 12, but always get 13 in case a glass breaks.
I was planning ahead.
I planned for broken crystal but not for the events that led to my marriage’s demise.
You might think, reading these words, that this post will be bitter.
Anything but, sweetheart. Because Joy is visiting this evening.
It is Valentine’s Day. I awoke to a handmade card from my youngest with $11 in it and an admonition to get myself something nice with it (he’s going to be a lady killer if he can just up the amount and turn it into a thoughtful sparkling something in the future). He had given me his treasure and drew me a heart. Knowing how much he hates to draw but did so anyway was the best present of all. True love.
My boys are with their father this evening and I have had a quiet night, working late. My pizza, salad and rosé don’t seem at all sad to me. In fact, I’m in front of my laptop, gazing at my glass, feeling Joy’s presence.
These quiet moments with Joy creep up on me.
And I relish in them.
For quite some time, those moments eluded me. Valentine’s Day, weekends and anniversaries come with expectations, you see. And I had them in spades.
As the reality digressed more and more from my expectations, I tried adjusting them.
But sometimes, no adjustment can bridge that chasm.
Joy rarely visits when you’re in denial. She’s a realist, that one. And she’ll give you the cold shoulder if you refuse to accept what is.
Tonight, I am exceedingly grateful for the two small men that share my life. For the furry girl we all love. For being able to make the mortgage payments, work that I love and a family of very dear, fallible humans a few hundred miles away who sometimes wonder how on earth we’re blood-related, I’m sure.
For friends who text and cluck and show up as only good friends do. For those who can applaud without envy, pick me up without judgment and deliver a witty Academy Award red carpet critique.
I mourn what I had many moons ago. Yes. It deserves that.
But I am strong enough now to realize that it is as it should be.
And yet, I feel in my bones, a portent of what’s to come. The timing is divine. I need to focus right now. On my work. On raising fabulous young men. On paying the bills. On writing what’s in me because for some reason, I feel compelled to share it—and that’s usually the universe’s call to my soul.
Someday, I will look back at this night. I will be sitting at a sublimely white-clothed table overlooking a city full of lights. Or, on a beach with the surf in my ears.
And I will realize that without this night, without the knowing deep inside that I am joyous simply because of what is,–even when “what is” isn’t what society would consider enough—well, I would fall short. Of my own standards.
I am joyous with so much and yet so little. I enjoy my own company. So few of my best loved can say that. And it’s something all the more precious because I lost and then found it.
I no longer question the universe. I just fasten my seat belt, throw my hands up in the air and enjoy the ride.
Sometimes with a little sparkling somethin’-somethin’ in my glass.
It’s all good.
I rejoice when I hear the knock. And I answer with a resounding, “Who dat?”
But I know who it is now.
Joy, come on in. You really should have called ahead. I would have poured you a glass.
But, as any regular compadre of Joy knows, she needs no glass. No fancy dinners. No showing off. She is happy, as always, with what is.