This week, I walked through many doors. Some, I walk through every day, or nearly so – doorways into the rooms of my home, and into the house proper. In nearly every one of those spaces, I’ve seen things I want to do – projects that have been waiting, and new ones just conceived. But I also see things I have already done – progress made.
Progress is important to me, just now – more so than it once was. Each project conceived and carried through to completion represents a step along the transitional journey from wife to widow…from being half of the homeowning team to the one who makes the choices.
There’s sorrow in some of these changes, and, paradoxically, there’s also liberation and joy. That feels strange; I was not a prisoner in my marriage, and my husband wasn’t the domineering or controlling type. But he was himself, set in his cluttered, comfortable-for-him-but-not-always-for-me ways, and, in the name of family harmony, I accepted more than I wanted.
Moving through these doors, and occupying these spaces in a new and more active way, is part of my becoming something more than I’ve been, and reclaiming my home, my spaces, my present, and my future – for myself, and for the kids…but, in so many ways, more for me, because my teens will be growing into their own adult lives, and will eventually be moving on into places and spaces of their own.
I haven’t walked through the refrigerator door, but I’ve opened it to new possibilities. It’s been many years since I’ve made anything close to a regular practice of cooking. I married a chef, after all. Now, though, there are Plated meal kits in the fridge, a gift from some wonderful writing friends, and I am exploring new techniques, flavor palettes, and working the preparations into my life.
This week, I’ve been in and out of car doors. There was a trip for groceries, and another with the kids to a local restaurant, where we honored Jim’s birthday by taking his motto to heart and eating dessert first. Jeremiah and I also went to Best Buy, where I picked up my long-needed new printer, a far more usable keyboard for my desktop computer, and some items he needs to indulge his new interest in creating live stream videos. I also priced what I hope may be my next phone – I want to upgrade and pass my current one on to Miah, who will likely have his license by the end of spring, and whose current phone is old enough to be all but obsolete. I want him to have something more reliable when he’s alone behind the wheel.
Through my television, I’ve entered many other doors. Doors into other people’s homes; I’ve been watching a lot of home improvement programming – This Old House, Fixer-Upper, and lots of flip shows. I’m not contemplating a career change, but I wasn’t the handy spouse, and I have a great many things I need to learn to maintain my home, and improve it. In that, there will be a new independence and sense of ownership. As I watch, I’m seeing new possibilities, as I see our spaces in new ways. I decided I want to redo the front walkway – it’s not attractive or as useful as it could be, and it’s where it is because it was there when we moved here 16 years ago this month. I’m seeing the potential for more workable changes, and starting to believe that I can enact them.
There’s one last doorway I’ve been passing through – the one that leads to my passion for writing. I was reminded of King of Shreds and Patches, a 535 page Star Trek/Star Trek: Enterprise crossover fan fiction novel I drafted a few years back. The story is still in rough draft form, but it’s better than I remembered, and I got that wonderful, “Wow! Did I really write this?!” feeling in many places. I’m excited to get to the point where I can revise it and offer it up to people who will enjoy it.