The Dense Forgettable Middle

My blog has been sadly neglected--for a million reasons that have disappeared into the minutia of daily life.  

For the record, I had things to say.

I was going to write a funny post about when David read aloud a chapter heading in the Book of Mormon that said, "Moroni is angry with the government."  And Olivia said, "Wow, just like us."  And we laughed our heads off.  Ha.

I was going to write a tender post about how my youngest girl got braces and grew up just like that, and my oldest girl had her first Evening of Excellence and I wondered (again) where the time has gone.

I was going to write a charming post about how David and I watched the season finale of Spooks and how good it was and how if you haven't started watching this show yet then you really ought to and how this was the best season yet.  And how even now David checks every day to see if there is an episode we missed somehow.

And of course I was going to write an obligatory post about how its finally cooled into the 70's here and so my kids have taken to wearing scarves and mittens and trying to see their breath in the morning.

But instead, you've got me where I am today.

Aggravated.  Introspective.  Repentant.  All at once.  Bear with me.

A couple of weeks ago (and just in time), my aunt sent me a link to this poem by Gregory Fraser. 

Essay On Criticism

It's hard not to think of yourself sometimes
as a passing mention in the dense
forgettable middle of a Russian novel,

as the brief description of a minor
character's gesture, the offhand reference
to a body of water, smell of rye bread.

The plot would falter without you,
the grand style momentarily flag,
but you could just as easily be scratched.

Still, you can't help seeing yourself
as the brash initial sentence, those ambiguous
final lines, or dialogue choked through sobs.

Perhaps it's not so awful to settle in
to a small remark on a peddler's
mule-drawn voz, glint off a samovar.

Then again, there's always the chance
of a critic (diligent, not unbeautiful)
prepared to make more of you

than any could imagine. In such a case--
you Aside, Casual Comment--propose 

on the instant, latch on till The End.

I know.

The perfect words in the perfect order to say just what I am feeling.

I have been feeling harassed.  And here is why.  (I'll just say it then.) 

David's unemployment has taken over my life.

I imagine I have that same look on my face that he always had when I was throwing up non-stop for the first five months of my pregnancies.  When my mothering took over his life.  When he had to earn all the money and then come home and feed and bathe all of us because I was too sick to do it.  When he wondered if it was ever going to end and if he'd ever get his real wife back. 

Yes, I imagine I have that exact same look.

It is everywhere.  The unemployment, I mean.  Sometimes I think I just can't talk about it any more--that I can't discuss the pros and cons of this health system or that hospital,  or whether or not we could live in Wichita or Sioux Falls or Kalamazoo, or what this position or that position will mean to his long-term career plans, or what color tie he should wear to his interview.  And every morning when we wake up and every night when we go to bed, it's still there, waiting to be talked about again.  The job.  The one he lost, the one he wants, the one he applied for, the one he's interviewing for, the right one, the wrong one, the golden one.

Sometime last week I asked David, "What do you want to do for Christmas this year?"  He just stared at me.  Flummoxed.  Because that is not the topic at hand. 

And sometimes, between David and his job and the kids who never stop needing (heaven help me), I wonder if there is any space left for me in my own life.  And I start feeling and fearing that my brash initial sentence has disappeared amidst the tiny details of everyone else's life.  That I could just as easily be scratched, as it were.

But what I remember this morning (this is the repentant part) is that in those dark and horrible days of pregnancy, I could not have survived without David.  He was the only thing moving the plot along in our lives.  We would have ground to a halt without him. A sad and ignominious end.

And this morning I wonder, did I say thank you enough?  I doubt it.  I was too nauseated to say anything but, "Help."

Here we are in the dense forgettable middle.  Where you can't see the forest for the trees.  Where you are afraid you might have lost the thread of the plot and you can barely see the outline of your own life. 

And yet, I propose to latch on until The End.  Because even in the dense forgettable middle, I am not too dense to see that I am needed.  To see that he is too sick with worry to say anything but, "Help."  I have not forgotten that he did the same for me once or twice, four times if we're counting.

This is what the covenant means.  That in the dense, forgettable middle of life, we do not forget.  He holds my hair back as I vomit.  I hold my tongue as he talks.  We hold on to each other, to The End.