March 8, 2010 was the first day that I did not wear my heavy, dirty, dark brown Northface jacket in many, many months. After the horrendous winter we had( 21 inches of snow for just one of the many storms) I was happy to shove my jacket deep into the closet and not look at it again until next winter. I know there is no guarantee that we will not have another snow storm or frozen temperatures but I refuse to bring out that jacket again even if I wear 7 layers of clothing instead. That ugly old jacket represents winter (actually the last 4 winters) , and feeling cold, tired and old, armed with mittens and scarves and boots and being afraid (really, being very afraid) of the slick ice and the black ice and the ice- ice. The forecast said it would be in the mid- 50’s and sunny and I had every intention of taking advantage of the reprieve. It smelled and tasted like the very first hint of Spring. You could see the pre-blush on the trees, the buds not yet out but inching forward, little by little.
It definitely was a day for doing errands outside, smiling; no mittens, no coats, no hats; no need. It was a- happy-to-be-alive-day, that first recognition that spring really, truly, may indeed happen sometime soon. It was the day to go to the nail salon for a special treat and have them put pink polish on my pretty seashell toe nails. The person next to me was having BLACK polish put on her nails, both hands and feet. Maybe next year at the start of winter, I will do that in PROTEST but certainly not at the END of winter. It was fun to sit with other moms and talk, chatting about colleges for our teenagers, harmless gossip in the neighborhood, new restaurant reviews. It was a day to breathe and laugh and enjoy this special day, that came, unexpectedly, like the purple, yellow, blue crocuses that force themselves out from the solid, rock-hard ground.
Even though the weather was perfect, my medical condition was not. I had quite a bit of trouble getting in and out of the car; my body hurt, but my soul was smiling. When there is a perfect baby- blue sky, 56 degrees and a sunny day, all your aches and pains feel just a tiny bit better. They don’t hurt less, they just feel less awful. It’s a state of mind. The medicine that I have to take every day for the rest of my life, (Synthroid, Methotrexate, Plaquannel etc.) will not change, but these rare effervescent days brighten my mood.
It was not a day for hearty home-made thick pea soup with smoked ham but rather, a piece of French bread, some Gouda cheese, and glistening, seedless black grapes. It was wearing a soft, gray, cotton T-shirt to bed, the windows open, pillows plumped, drifting off to sleep, clutching my pink fuzzy blanket in one curled hand, still smiling.
Dedicated to Dr. GS: Thank you making me feel better and helping me to smile again.