We had a family dinner last night, multigenerational even. My grandparents and parents and my sister and all our kids. It was 4 generations of chaos and calm for a few brief minutes at one table. Dinner conversation was certainly polite. It started with poop. I swear there is not a meal that goes by in my immediate family that doesn't include some potty talk. Maybe it's because we have young children....or maybe it's because I'm a nurse. Regardless, we moved from the bottom of the bum as we filled our stomachs to chatting about matters of the heart. We speculated about a recent family member's untimely death and pondered mortality for some odd seconds then got to the nitty gritty mid-garlic bread. It was deliciously covered in mozzerella and spice and butter and salt. Cut to the asparagus, bathed in olive oil and parmesan and garlic, and of course...salt. My grandma clucked at her husband and chided a bit about the sodium, I guess he loves it a little. And don't we all? My nephew played at the end of the table with the grinder full of chunky sea salt; my 6 year old as'sault'ed her rotisserie chicken before even tasting it. I'm not even sure it counts as a spice but it is the most readily available one on every American table.
It's so easy and quick to grab and sprinkle, those tiny white grains that flavor everything with the familiar zing we've become accostomed, even addicted, to tasting. It was a seamless drift in the conversation from that always loved and yet stubbornly hated salt to the heart failure that plagues my grandparents, usually minimally.
As Grandma lamented their love of salt and the obvious havoc that it can wreak on our health, I immediately turned and muttered, "He's 85, YOLO!"
My brother in law heard it and gave me a sideways look. He asked if I was going to be one of those parents that kept up with kids' slang and while I assured him I really wasn't thinking of it for my kids, I wished I'd had the courage to speak up to the older generations about that theory of living. See I'm in such an awfully awkward mood these days. Not exactly a You Only Live Once type of mood, but more like a 'Dash of Veruca Salt.'
I suppose I'm from the age group that has enjoyed instant gratification. It's like salt, the spice of life, has been sitting on my table for so long...it has been constantly at the ready and easy to grab, and I could pour on a sprinkle to flavor my day or coat the whole of my year with it whenever I wanted something. We dreamed up a life and Aksel and I had found each other so we went for everything right when we wanted it. Wedding, house, jobs in a new city. Then a baby or two or three or four.
Things get a little hazy at that point. The heart failure kicked in when we overdid the spice of life. I don't mean to say that our babies were too much but all of it, the joy and the loss, the health and the chronic illness and repetitive trauma, it has broken us a little bit more than we'd like to admit. We cut back, way back, and thought that starting over could be healthy.
My life went from flavorful though heart wrenching to bland but difficult. It feels like cold turkey therapy and I swear I'm in withdrawal. Lately it doesn't seem prudent, nor nearly as easy, to reach out and grab what I want. I feel like a petulant toddler stomping my foot and demanding the world bend to my will and lately, noone is giving in and I'm not getting my way.
I'm working on my deep breathing, I'm trying to get more sleep and drink more water. I've upped my caffeine intake to compensate and still I feel tired and whiny. I must be getting older because I know that I don't want to be a 'Bad Egg' but man that mantra is hard to kick, when really I want things to fall into place. I want an easy routine again to this life and the simplicity that we dreamt when we were younger. I want space to deep breathe again and patience to plod through the necessary changes that we chose to make. I don't need commentary about our decisions, I just need some compassion and above all time. And time is the least of what I want to pass. I don't care how, I want it ALL now.