My boots sunk into the melted slush covering the dirt road. My four-month-old nestled against me, bundled between my overalls and a thick wool sweater that made me feel like a native to the cold.
But it wasn’t cold; it was a mild 43 degrees. I wore no Cuddl Duds, no gloves, no hat.
Patches of snow covered the ground that was shielded from the sun by the pines. But, beyond that, I could almost believe it was spring.
Three months ago, when we moved during Wisconsin’s harshest November since 1898, I would have rejoiced to have a respite such as this.
And yet, over the past month since my husband’s brain surgery, I have barely noticed the weather, as I’ve spent the majority of my time inside.
Instead, I have been focused on merely surviving. Putting one foot in front of the other. Counting my blessings, though that rote phrase made me want to grit my teeth.
The morning after my husband’s horrific pincushion spinal tap, which the neurosurgeon performed to check for infection, I said to my husband’s prone form, ‘There has to be a break in the clouds. It has to get better than this.’
And it has.
Today, I could have wept while walking those slush-covered dirt roads because—one month after I thought I might lose my husband—he is not only alive, but well.
His incision is healing; his hair is growing back; his energy and orneriness are simultaneously returning, so that he tells me, ‘I’m really going to tear it up today,’ just to see the alarm on my face.
I am not a widow at twenty-eight. I still have someone who can help me run this solar-powered farm, replete with its temperamental windmill and quirks.
More importantly, my daughters still have a father, and I am still a wife.
I took these factors for granted because my husband’s not the type to leave, regardless of how many sleepless nights the girls put us through — like last night — or how many items I tack on the Honey To-Do List.
I knew my husband would never leave; I never braced myself for the fact that he might be taken from me.
‘We were just trucking right along. And then this happened.’
My husband said this while lying on the guest bed downstairs. He was no doubt feeling overwhelmed because of the numerous projects that ground—or jerked—to a halt after his diagnosis.
It’s true—we were just trucking right along. Our hours were filled with projects that made us feel efficient and yet stripped the luster from our days.
We made time for everything but found no real time for each other.
Then, life and death faced off, and suddenly time was precious. Everything was precious.
I know the frailty of human nature and am aware that with the blessed return to normality, we will soon return to our more ‘efficient’ usage of time.
I viewed this frailty firsthand, as my toddler daughter stood in front of the sink, splashing in the iridescent bubbles after washing her dimpled hands.
‘I don’t have time for this,’ I said, that old impatience flaring in my voice.
And then I stopped, stared at my startled reflection in the mirror, and reminded myself that I do have time for this.
I have all the time in the world.
Has a life-altering event ever challenging your ‘efficient’ use of time?