I had made my way home, a little sore from the accident yesterday and trying to get the energy to buck up for the routine today. I had the kids all home, the kitchen was still a mess, and the laundry almost manageable for the first time in over a week. (Doesn’t mean they put the laundry away, it just means that it’s clean)
We were all tired, all grumpy, and it was just a hard couple weeks.
Everything about this last week has pulled us backwards, but none of us can quite put a finger on why. I know when I write here it must seem like I’m in constant pain, emotional turmoil and just wallowing in every detail of the past never thinking of the future. (Get the song tie-in yet? Do You?) You have to understand, I write here in the dark of night, sometimes in the empty living room with the television on, sometimes in my bedroom with the sounds of my daughter snoring in the next room starting to lull me into an exhausted sleep. It is when the forward motion of the day starts to slow that the pull of the past starts to draw me in. While there is so much talk about dating again or moving forward or starting over what most people neglect to remember is that I’ve spent more of my life with Andrea than I did without her. That’s an odd statistic to fathom, knowing that more than half your life you’ve spent with someone else by your side, there, constant companion. If you have that history, that timeline, why would it be easy to just “move on”?
The funny thing is, our days aren’t spent wallowing and reminiscing and my drinking whole bottles of wine while looking at our wedding pictures or crying over the pinot noir. Our days and nights are fairly mundane. That’s almost what makes it so scary. We don’t sit and wallow, though there are days I think we should. I get home after the kids have gotten home, unless Abbi has a rehearsal of some sort, in which case I’m the one home and she gets home to have dinner with the rest of us. While it seems a strange circumstance that we’ve got a new home, a new routine and a new life, we do it anyway because we have to. Sitting and bemoaning our situation doesn’t change our situation, it just makes it worse.
There are glimmers. The kids watched “Once Upon a Time” with me on the TV last night (God love our DVR) and the whole episode centered around pain and a broken heart. Noah made a comment about me, the other kids looked over at me, the subject sensitive, all of it just danced around a little bit. None of us really wants to be sad, we want to be OK with things as they are. We want to enjoy things. It’s hard, though, not to feel guilty about having fun and enjoying ourselves knowing that she’s not here to enjoy it with us.
But I have two cures for everything in our house: jam sessions and chocolate.
Yes, my friends, those two things hold the key to all happiness. Don’t get me wrong, the kids all have their individual ideals. Sam can’t play an instrument, but he sings. Abbi wants to play, but after decapitating my hollowbodied Dot ES335 some time ago she is loathe to touch any of my guitars.
So imagine my surprise when Hannah asked, after I picked up my guitar with its new pickups (still waiting on that endorsement deal, Lindy Fralin. Money? Endorsement? Hell, new pickups??!! I’ll take a couple Pure PAF”s for my other Esprit!) why you’d ever tune the guitar differently. I tuned to a “G” chord, played some slide (Walkin’ Blues, Muddy Waters, great staple); played “Come and Go Blues” by the Allman Brothers Band. I tuned to a “drop D” and played Just a Little Bit by T-Bone Walker and started to strum the harmonics to a song I’d written Andrea when I started dating her.
Soon after, I looked up and Hannah had her guitar and wanted to show me a lick. Noah had grabbed his and wanted to know if I could “teach him some jazz or blues?” and Sam and Abbi were singing. I showed a D7 to Hannah and showed her that by moving that same fingering up and muting one string, you could play “Soul Man” by Sam and Dave. Abbi sang, we played, Noah strummed. I taught Hannah her first Bar Chord.
The routine was interrupted, but we went on anyway. I asked Abbi if she remembered a song I’d played years ago, one she loved, and she started hollering out “ain’t nothin’ in the world that a T-Bone Shuffle can’t cure!” (Albert Collins, Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland, T-Bone Shuffle )
Then routine started again. We went up, read half a chapter, tucked in, and I came downstairs. I looked in the bare cupboard and realized we needed something different. The routine was changed, so breakfast, just for a day, would too.
So I looked up a recipe and made chocolate waffles. The smell wafted through the house and up the stairs. I cooled them, packed them in the freezer, and readied the plates full so that the kids could have them tomorrow. Whipped cream, bananas, and chocolate waffles, something I’d never made before and new memories.
So you see, we are making new memories. It’s not just some random set of circumstances. We’re not wallowing in self-pity. We, sometimes, are simply stuck in routine. So what do we do about it?
There’s nothing that a good jam session and chocolate can’t cure. That, and once in awhile, a T-Bone shuffle.