They say that things happen in threes. Or for a reason. Or for lessons to be learned. But I recently watched a reel in which Tom Hanks was speaking to his younger self and said, “ I wish I would have known that this too shall pass. You feel bad right now, you feel pissed off, you feel angry. This too shall pass. You feel great. You feel like you know all the answers. You feel like everybody finally gets you. This too shall pass. Time is your ally. And if nothing else. Just wait. Just wait it out.”
On February 4th, I had to be skiied off a Colorado mountain by ski patrol. My knee is healing but I am still not running. On March 27th I had to put my sweet Maple to sleep. Later that week my wallet was lost or stolen and they tried to use all of my credit cards. There have been other hard things, and good. Really good. But then last week Tuesday there was a fire at my house.
The things you leave behind, the things you remember and the things you don’t, are not what you think.
The feel of your daughter’s arm wrapped around you and your bare feet on the cold cement when you take that first step out into the dark of the night. Your instinct to find a mixing bowl, fill it with not-enough-water and throw it on the fire while it is your daughter who calls 911 and probably saved your home and your lives. The kindness of the people who know you, the strangers who don’t and the neighbors who bring you slippers and cover you in warmth, are not what you think.
Watching the firemen pull out their hoses and your home go dark as you sit across the street on the cold sidewalk. The chaos and the quiet and how time stands still. The things you ask for— “where is my wig? I don’t know, mama. I found it”— when the firemen escort you back into your house with their bright lights because it is not safe and everything has been turned off, is not what you think.
Displaced, disoriented, depleted and so thankful, but not sure which one to feel or maybe just feeling it all at once. Heavy and confusing and just wanting to escape— the frustration and fear of an injury, the depths of sadness at having lost Maple well before I was ready, the violation of theft, the bewilderment of a fire from which I, my daughter and keepsakes survived and the overwhelming knowing of how lucky I am. The thing that saves you, that keeps you sane. From being crushed under the weight of it all, is not what you think.
It is a pink wig.
It is a night out in that pink wig with a little tequila, a group of kickass women and dancing at a place called mad planet.
Reminding you that time is on your side, that dancing makes you happy, that community, friends and family are everything and that this too shall pass.