2013, a blank calendar

Our family’s calendar is hung in the tiny walkway between our kitchen and dining room. I love this spot in the house, even though it’s mostly only good for passing through. The hall is sunny, thanks to the northern-facing window overlooking our side yard. I have two little cat figurines there in the windowsill, and occasionally a piece of art class sculpture that my son or daughter made will find a place of honor there. The naked window faces the pantry, and I constantly remind my kids and husband to keep the pantry door closed so that it will stay cool and dark. They rarely listen, so I shut the door behind them.

A few years ago, I hung our calendar, a big monthly flip calendar, always of my choosing, on the bare wall to the left of the pantry door. The calendar I choose each year is beautiful, and this is why I have chosen it. My calendar’s beauty – and its promise of much anticipated occasions and events to come – gives me reason to pause in the sunlight, lingering for a few moments while I glance over the month’s daily boxes and my scribblings within them.

Every year on January 1st, without fail, I perform the ritual changing of the calendar.

This afternoon, while the kids were occupied with a game of pretend involving dolls and horses, and while my husband was away visiting his father in the hospital (he’s improving, thankfully), I took the old calendar down and pulled out my new one, pristine in its shrink wrap. I removed the wrap from the 2013 calendar and placed it on the table beside the 2012 calendar. Beginning with January, I transferred important birthdays to the new calendar, marking each with a little balloon. Month by month, I filled in school holidays, upcoming trips, and anniversaries.

As I flipped the pages of each calendar, one month at a time, I contemplated the year that just ended. 2012 was filled with many wonderful moments and experiences, many of which I’ve posted about here in this space. My travels took me to New York City, Austin, Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Atlanta. We went on our first cruise as a family, and we took the kids to California for the first time. My husband and I celebrated fifteen years of marriage over the summer, and in the fall, our son started kindergarten and our daughter started third grade. And somehow, despite feeling several years  younger, I turned forty along the way.

The year had its share of heartache and sadness, as each year tends to have. For me, though, the good parts outweighed and shined brighter than the bad parts.

My 2013 calendar is no longer unmarked, but neither is it filled. Each month holds promise of things to come and chances for memories to be made. And while not all of the events on the calendar will be significant — certainly, a trip to the eye doctor is no cause for celebration — there may be some gems that wind up on there, written in black ink as time goes by.

I will spend cherished time with family and with friends. There will be trips, both for work and for fun, and there may be a party or two or three. There will be meals cooked and shared with people I love. There will be personal growth and inspiration and creativity. (I am counting on these.) There will be love and joy, and there is likely to be a smattering of sadness and tears – but that’s okay. That’s the way of life. That is living.

Mostly, there is potential in this new year, 2013. Potential and possibility for wonderfulness.

 

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18 Responses to “an intermission”

  1. SMITH BITES — August 6, 2013 @ 7:11 pm

    take as long as you need to, we’ll still be here; grief has it’s own timelines, it’s own ebb and flow and as you know, everyone grieves differently – the important thing is that you go thru it – not around, under, over, left or right, but thru whatever you need to swim thru to get to the other side. and we’ll still be here. cheering you on, supporting you however you need to be supported, we’ll still be here. oh – and i’d totally make you a chocolate cake w/chocolate buttercream frosting if we were neighbors (((hugs)))

  2. Macaroni Mama — August 6, 2013 @ 7:15 pm

    Merry Jennifer, what a beautiful post. I forget that we are all sharing the same feelings and emotions. Tell Sam I have a Gator license plate for him. Love you, girly. I miss you so much.

  3. Kristen — August 6, 2013 @ 7:22 pm

    Take your time… take your time. We’ll all be here with open arms ready when you are ready to share.
    I remember a time when sharing recipes seemed so meaningless in my life… with the loss I was dealing with, I felt like sharing a recipe, or styling the “perfect” photo, or even reading food blogs was just so insignificant. I have moved passed that, however it still creeps up every now and then. But, I love that I have a space to share both those recipes and my thoughts and to get the support and encouragement that will get me through to the next hump.
    I hope you feel that too!

  4. Aimee — August 6, 2013 @ 7:51 pm

    Sending so much love. Take as much time as you need. Of course we’ll understand. xox

  5. Take your time. We’ll be here waiting when you are ready. In the meantime, sending ginormous hugs to you all XO

  6. Have a fabulous vacation!

  7. Di — August 7, 2013 @ 9:16 am

    It seems you have the heart of a foodie, Merry Jennifer, but for me your draw is not the food or your pictures (though I enjoy your sharing both); the draw is the way you bundle and unbundle the black and white spaces we call words. They roll off the page and touch the soul in ways that make me feel better for having been there to catch thcm. They insprie, engage, pull towards an honest expression of what it’s like to be a part of humanity in all its raw, beautiful, form. It’s a gift that’s enviable. Enjoy your beach vacation. I am sorry for your family’s loss and hope being by the sea brings the healing you all need and deserve. I hope you are not holding your breath so much anymore and enjoy exhaling for a while.

  8. Carol Sacks — August 7, 2013 @ 10:23 am

    May your time away with your family be restorative and healing.

  9. Jeannine — August 7, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

    May you all have health and joy in full measure. Enjoy yourselves, and I’ll still be reading when you’re ready to post again.

  10. Eileen — August 7, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

    Kick back and eat those fried foods, drink that wine, laugh hard, and relax!

  11. Lynda - TasteFood — August 7, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

    Take your time to restore yourself and connect with your family – it’s so worth it. You’ll be back when you are ready!

  12. Chris — August 7, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

    Hang in there, take your time, and heal. I am still getting over the murder of my sister’s husband last September. It gets better. Almost every day there is a reminder but it gets easier. Just love your family.

  13. cherie — August 7, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

    Oh my, it must have been doubly hard! I’m glad you’re paying attention to yourself for now and what you need – enjoy your vacation as best you can – indulge in all the small moments and pleasures – they soothe the soul.
    Prayers for you all

  14. Paula — August 7, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

    It was good to read that your family is managing their way through this very difficult time as well as can be expected. I can imagine how much you are all looking forward to your beach vacation and I hope that you and your husband find the rest and relaxation that you need.
    Feeling pressure to write strips the enjoyment out of blogging and in time you will log into your site and the words will flow with ease. Be patient with yourself and know that those that love and respect you and this site will be patient as well. Take good care of you.

  15. Jennifer Hess — August 7, 2013 @ 5:13 pm

    Take the time you need, MJ. Hug your family. Cook with them and for them. We’ll be here whenever you’re ready. xxoo

  16. Frances — August 9, 2013 @ 5:27 pm

    Would love to be able to do something helpful. I’m reassured to know you are taking care of your family and yourself. As others have said, I, too, am sending prayers and thoughts for you all.

  17. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — August 14, 2013 @ 4:25 pm

    Just wanted to stop by and say hi… And let you know that I’m thinking about you! I missed seeing you at BSP this summer. I totally understand the need to just step back and take a break… Sometimes I think that it’s the best thing. Of course, we will all still be here when you return.

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