Sunday, September 23, 2012

Life, Death, Darkness and Joy: A Spectrum

Lately, I've felt an uncharacteristic joy.  A sense of stability, sanity. The past few years have been darkened by the painful loss of both my parents. The dread that came before, combined with the grief that inevitably came after, became a heavy shadow enveloping the joy and love that surrounds me daily. This shadow seems to be lifting and I feel able to begin to see, with better clarity, the beautiful life we have created with this family. The feeling of being alone, cut off from the history of my early existence is still lurking and frightening. But, for the moment, I'm working on being here. Being present. It's all we have.

That's not to say that I've come out of this period as a new person filled with hope and joy. I will never be that girl. There is still an inherent darkness that will always be a part of me. I have not, and cannot, let go of the Sylvia Plath within. Mingled with a drop of Dostoevsky. I could not be myself without the feeling of impending doom. There is something satisfying, fulfilling, about the knowledge of both ends of the emotional spectrum. Neurotic tendencies are here to stay, thank you very much.

That being said, life is good. (Clichés, on the other hand, are bad.)

We grew a butterfly this month. We were given an itty bitty caterpillar by the great folks of Little River Wetland Project. This thing was so tiny when we got her that we often could not even see her as she munched away at her milkweed leaves. The kids enjoyed being part of the metamorphosis, especially Cyd, who insisted on buckling her up in the car for a weekend getaway.
We came home one afternoon and she had transformed from her chrysalis stage...
To this!
It was exciting as hell! Still, we waited for Laura to get home so we could release her together.

Oh, the joy! It was magical.

There are no photos of Fiona with the butterfly because she was afraid of it. Yes, she's afraid of a baby butterfly. Afraid that it was going to fly in her face. 

I totally believe that her fearful nature is due to the fact that she was forced into this world before she was ready. To make a long story short, my doctor secretly induced my labor. Secretly. Without telling us. On my due date. For no good reason except that it was convenient for her. Anyhoo. I have one daughter who's afraid of things and another who is fearless. They balance each other out beautifully. (But I'm still totally pissed off about it.)

On Sunday, we took a scenic drive to visit our "pumpkin lady" to get our annual fall goodies. This year, all the pumpkins and vegetables were inside the barn, so I didn't have much opportunity to capture the quintessential kids with pumpkins photos. I was heartbroken. But then, I noticed a very photogenic tractor.
I still made the kids pose for a photo, even though it lacked the glory that a field of pumpkins would have provided.
They put up with me and my compulsion to capture every moment.

For lunch, it was Pissaladière, a french creation, featuring caramelized onions, anchovies, nicoise olives and, since we had some, tomatoes. I love french food and it will always remind me of my father.

In the words of Sylvia Plath: "I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad. Or I can go mad by ricocheting in between." The most natural option is to ricochet. And it's OK. This is my truth.

I can't think of a Dostoevsky quote to tie this all together. But I'm sure he had something very profound to say about this whole thing.

Peace and love.


  1. Gorgeous photos, Tessa. I know exactly how you feel about that doctor. Tell you sometime.

  2. This is a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your lovely family with us.