A gift and a burden

It’s late on a gray afternoon, sirens in the distance, the chirrup of the neighborhood hawk in the acoustic foreground.  The hot weather of the last few days has gone, probably until spring.  Winds are up, windows are up, wooly socks are up.

I’m feeling much better, despite the grayness and some nagging pain. Just spoke to my friend after back surgery and he sounded good, though he won’t know much about the effect of the surgery for a few days, at least. My son-in-law, on the other hand, is in more pain, is getting the usual run-around about workers’ comp., and just got a paycheck for about half what he usually makes, so they will need help with their rent, which happily we are able to give them, at least for now.

Tolbunt Polish

Spent the afternoon yesterday with my daughter-in-law and 10-month-old granddaughter at a small nature museum high on a rocky hill with ancient cypress and a spectacular view of the city.  My granddaughter’s a bit young for the place, but she seemed to like the raven and crows (rescue animals who can’t be released because of injuries) and the bee hive. But she was not happy at all to find herself in the same pen with the chickens, especially with one that looked like a cross between a Plymouth Rock and one of those Polish ones with the frazzled heads. GD took one look at him and  fled to her mother’s arms.

Later, we sat on lush green grass under a whirling sculpture, shadows flickering over us, and fed my granddaughter bits of avocado and banana that she spread across her face and ours with fierce concentration and dazzling smiles.

I have to remind myself now and then that if I were still drinking, I might never have gotten back on good terms with this wonderful child’s father, my eldest son, and not only missed seeing her grow and change, but also missed getting to know and love my daughter-in-law–a joy in my life–and seeing my son turn into a loving father whom I respect and cherish. True for my younger son and daughter as well who, even though they hadn’t cut me out of their lives, surely would have distanced themselves as my drinking got worse. How could they not have, to protect themselves and their children?

To be present in life is a gift and a burden, and neither possible without sobriety.

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4 Responses to A gift and a burden

  1. “To be present in life is both a gift and a burden, and Neither possible without sobriety”.. Great line, thanks for sharing, Paul.

  2. It truly is a great line. I’ve been trying to figure out some easy way of living while sober — living — and well, there isn’t one. But, that’s not to say that life isn’t amazing. Just hard and surreal at the same time. Thanks for your lovely writing…

  3. Lisa Neumann says:

    Ditto me in … I loved the last line too! Over time, it becomes more of a recognized gift. But I still have moments of burden. Cheers to another day for us all to be sober. :)

  4. Imogen says:

    Alcohol is such a horrible barrier between the drinker and those around her. You were strong enough to destroy that barrier to let your family back in. What a gift you gave yourself :)

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