New Year’s Eve, 2006.
I was living in my own little house with the kids shortly after my divorce. My sister, Martha, her husband, Jim, and their adult son, Nick came over for food and New Year Visioning at my house. Not quite as new-agey as it sounds. We made collages of what we hoped the New Year would bring. No incense or crystals. Just lots of good food, great music,glue and art supplies, and my favorite people.
The previous year we had found out my mom had cancer and that it would eventually be terminal, but she seemed healthy and life was still normal. I was going to turn 40 and was really excited. I honestly thought 40 was going to be the age of wisdom, the year I would finally feel like an adult– you know, confident in my decisions, sure of myself, calm and independent. That would be the year I would buy my very own house! I was going to begin the process of becoming a Montessori trained teacher. I was going to be my own woman, and my collage was beautifully representative of that vision.
We had a great time! I wish I could remember what Martha’s collage was about… I do remember that she took it very seriously, too.
A week and a half later, in my own little house’s kitchen, I got a call from my mom. I could tell something was wrong. She told me that Martha’s test results came back, and that pain in her neck was cancer eating away her spine. She would need surgery…. and the rest of the call sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher… My life had changed forever.
Now, one thing is very important to this story. I depended on my mom and my sister heavily. Every decision I ever made, even little ones, were discussed with those 2 women. And, if by chance, I decided something without them, I would keep it to myself until I was sure it was a good one! They were my best friends. They were my strongest and most vocal supporters. But man, they would tell me all about it if I did anything dumb!
“Be careful what you pray for, you just might get it.” That’s what you always hear. And I have found out, it is exactly true. That year,wanting to re- create myself as an independent woman, I found that the Universe responded compassionately to that prayer. Sitting here now, at my kitchen table in the house that I bought that isn’t so little, I am not the same person who made that wish. I have had no choice but to become independent, make my own decisions, and finally grow up. I’m sure the wisdom gained from these last years is in here somewhere. I’m sure the calm I seek will be at my beck and call when I have done the grief work. But tonight, when my family and I sit around making collages for the first time since that night, they will be about what we are so thankful for in the last year. Call me superstitious, but I don’t trust my own power quite yet.