Remember those cross-stitch samplers that said things like “Yard by yard, life is hard; but inch by inch, it’s a cinch!” They remind me of a particular friend’s living room, from when I was about nine.
That’s my life right now. I really want to measure by yards, because there are some excruciating things to work through, both the moving stuff and stuff in other areas of my life. But my progress is not coming in yards, it’s coming in inches. But it is coming.
Yesterday’s inches included: finding, unpacking, and returning to its rightful use the plastic bins I use to store dog food. Returning mom’s keys to her landlord— no more trips to the apartment! Yay! Receiving from Amazon after it had been rerouted and figuring out how to operate a converter that lets me use the good cable on my old TV upstairs! It’s alive! And something unexpected in the grocery store.
After returning mom’s keys to her landlord, we went to dinner. Mom was feeling up to hanging out for choir practice, so I promised I’d leave choir practice at 9 p.m., whether they were finished or not, and if she was still up for it, we’d go grocery shopping.
Long-time readers know that Wednesday night late-night trips to the grocery store with my mother are typically problematic. She likes to comparison shop, she likes to ponder. By 9 p.m. I’ve been up for 15 hours and away from the house for more than 12. My animals haven’t been fed, my responsibilities at home are not attended to— I’m very aware of how much remains to do when I walk through the door. But she sincerely enjoys browsing through the shelves, looking for deals and thinking about what might delight her or others. She hasn’t been since before the move, and so I tried to suck it up.
When we walked into the grocery store, she asked “do you think the dog will be okay?” My thought exactly. He’d been outside for more than 12 hours, and he’s social, so hanging out by himself in the back yard is slightly better than hanging out by himself in my old condo, but it’s not the same as an actual life. Was he safe? Almost certainly. Was he lonely and neurotically barking his head off? Hard to say.
As we meandered through the grocery store at her pace, not mine, I tried not to say anything. About 15 minutes earlier than I would have predicted (but honestly, a good 20 minutes after I thought I’d lose my mind), she said “I hope I got everything— I’m too worried about the dog. We’ve got to go.”
There are times in our relationship where she would put herself in competition with the dog, resenting the time I spend walking with him, feeding him, etc. That she has chosen to see the times that I prioritize her needs, and that they are not in competition— it just means a lot to me. It’s her seeing that she’s not the only person who has legitimate needs. That she can see past her exhaustion and hard word to see mine— well, it’s definitely going farther than an inch, for me.