The other day, I had a refreshing experience.
It was a small, silly, superficial joy, and because it was so small and eternally meaningless, I held it close to me.
I was working on a sewing project that I took on to give myself something mentally demanding and to keep me from sitting in bed all day reading (which is a great temptation of mine many days). I love sewing, but this is actually the first project I have even attempted since being married. The last sewing project I can remember taking on was hemming the groom’s and groomsmen’s pants just a couple of days before the wedding. And that was hand-sewing. My sewing machine has been put away since probably around the time my wedding dress and the bridesmaids’ hats and all of our flowers were completed. Sometimes I have itched to have it back out again, since I have a long list of projects I could be working on. But pregnancy kept me from taking on even simple tasks like cooking and cleaning; I certainly did not have energy to spare for my craft projects, nor did we have space to justify having my sewing machine out.
Now that I am at home so much, my husband urged me to start one of my projects in the queue. I pulled out fabric and patterns for about 7 projects, so that when I finish one or get bored with it, I will have another one ready to go. I am trying to fight the depression and sloth as well as I can.
So I am working on a dress, hopefully for Pascha, though I know I have a little more weight to lose by then. At the very least, it will be something I can wear in the (hopefully) near future. I am itching to drop my baby weight… but that’s another subject entirely.
As I was preparing 12 darts on the bodice (yes, 12… I don’t think I’ve ever done a project that required 12 infuriating darts–4 usually taxes my patience plenty), I realised how much easier it is to mark the lines with a pen than with pins. I was exuberant that I had finally purchased a disappearing ink pen for fabric last year (when I was working on what seemed like hundreds of wedding projects) since that made the darts so much less infuriating. I got all 12 of them done in one sitting, in probably just 10 minutes. And they were perfect.
I immediately had an urge to pull out my phone and announce to Facebook that disappearing ink fabric pens make life so much easier and why did I put off buying one for so long? Then I laughed to myself. First, because that would be something such a limited crowd would appreciate or really even understand. Second, because it totally sounded like me. Old me. Pre-baby me. Getting excited over little things. Finding small joys in life–no matter how ridiculous or superficial it might be to be excited over such things. These little joys always filled my days and kept me afloat throughout life. These little things are the connectors for the great joys, the little reminders that throughout the metaphorical valleys of life, there are beautiful peaks in the distance to enjoy.
I never posted the silly status–only partially because I was afraid of what people would think of me not talking about the baby. (As an aside, the thought that people will judge me for not talking about my baby is such a strange one since I was almost silent about my baby for months, at others’ insistence. Now that the world knows I had a baby, I suddenly think it expects me to only ever think and talk about my baby from here on out? Or perhaps it’s a fear that others will think my mourning period too short, that a mourning period should consist of only baby thoughts?)
However, just thinking about one of the little, tiny joys in life–one of the first conscious ones I’ve had since Seraphim’s death–reminded me that life goes on and I am going to be just fine. It was such a relief after a very scary, dark day I had last week. Things will go on, and moving on does not mean forgetting my baby or living like he never existed. It just means that I am alive still and must keep experiencing life. In the mean time, I best make the most of it.
And so my husband and I have been laughing more. A lot more. I think we have learned to make each other smile and laugh better since Seraphim’s death than in all of the time combined the three years before that we’ve known each other. Perhaps it’s because we’ve been through such great sorrow that we appreciate the great joy that we bring each other, and the small joys in life?