Today was spent at my grandmother's house, cleaning her basement in preparation for the influx of relatives she expects next month when we have our annual four-generation family get-together. My grandmother is eighty-eight, in full possession of her mental faculties, and save for a fluttery heart condition, in good health. She does get tired more easily since two rounds of hospitalizations last winter, and while this is a notable inconvenience for her, it is a blessing for me. I'm the family member who is most available, so I get to drive her to most of her various doctors' appointments, run any complicated errands with and/or for her, and drop in several times a week just to visit and see if there's anything she needs done. The entire family treasures Grandma: her gentle humor, steady love and quiet, peaceable spirit have made her the heart of my father's family. Spending a day cleaning at her house is not usually a chore. Today, though, after dropping the girls off at school, I sat in the car in her driveway and fought tears of dread and a rising migraine.
Full weeks are trials for me, and this week is thickening. Today I was scheduled to clean. Tomorrow evening brings a cast picnic and a double run-through rehearsal for the last two performances of Laura's Memories (after five weeks of no performances or practices), as well, we're told, as a professional taping. Thursday I'm working a book fair at the school all day. Friday and Saturday are performances. Sunday church. I know that for many, many people this is a light schedule. Laughable, even. For me it's overwhelming, not because I'm afraid of people or even because I don't enjoy them, but because being with people drains me incredibly, even when I've had a wonderful time. As I sat in the driveway alternately hoping the migraine would and wouldn't get bad enough to make me either throw up or pass out, and provide a handy way out of my life's obligations, I knew (I know) it will be alright. Today would pass; tomorrow will pass; the weekend will play itself out, and Monday will be my own again. I made myself open the car door and start the day.
The hard part, for today, at least, is mostly over. I'm home in front of the virtual brush heap under which, somewhere, lies my desk. The girls are absorbed in the books they've acquired at the book fair this afternoon, and the cat, The Great Golden Sun Cat, leapt into my lap and settled himself there, purring, the moment I sank into a chair. (He doesn't like me to be gone all day, either; my absence deprives him of his favorite piece of warm furniture.) These are today's light: people (yes, The Great Golden Sun Cat counts as a definite person--just ask him) whose need of me is not overwhelming, people who can just sit and be in a room, without making demands, without having expectations. It won't last, of course. In fifteen minutes the girls will want something to eat, and the GGSC will try to climb my leg in anticipation of kitty treats when he hears the cupboard doors open. But for right now, for this single moment, they are light. Light sufficient. Light in deed.