the power of detail

“It is important to say the names of who we are, the names of the places we have lived and to write the details of our lives. We have lived; our moments are important.” -Writing Down The Bones

Honestly, the past few weeks have been stressful. And I’d be lying if I said anything along the lines of ‘and we’re handling it well’ or ‘we are just taking it one day at a time’. Oh, Aimee — you’d say. Get a grip. Well, here’s the thing about that grip. I hadn’t realized before all of this, how tightly I had been holding.

Up until this point, I’d proudly tell you how Type A I’ve been most of my life. It’s the First Born-Want-Need-To-Be-Right tendencies that have propelled me forward in situations that make me feel like I’ve got it all together. Funny how life lets you know how little control you actually have….funny how much I’ve forgotten that over the years. So much so that the last week I’ve lost my appetite and haven’t been able to sleep.

Because I can’t control when our house gets sold.
Because I can’t control what house we will end up buying.
Because I can’t control what job I will get.
Because I can’t control when we will actually be moving.

And so much more. I’m telling you, right now there’s not a lot we can control. And I know this. I scream this out loud to everyone that will listen. But when I’m alone, when I’m within the walls of myself, I whisper it very quietly where only I can hear — surely I actually am the one in control, right?

Really, we all learn this differently in hard ways. We have very little to do with many big things. And that’s frightening. That’s driving without your hands on the wheel. We all do it. We don’t admit it, but it happens. It’s not how we prefer to get around. For mere seconds no one is in control and yet we still glide down the road. What if I told you that even when your hands are at ten and two, you still weren’t in control? That’s what my last week has felt like…

So what can you do? What can you possibly do when life feels like this?

I’ve been gathering up my threads, my little pieces. The details. They are what I can hold within the palm of my hand. The pigments that eventually show up as the entire picture. They are what I grip onto when I feel myself squirm inside. I know that they are just as important because they matter.

The cold wet hair that is brushed after a shower.
The lemon wedge squeezed into a glass of water.
The breathy record playing on a turntable.
The oven timer announcing a batch of warm cookies.
The small fingers turning pages of a book.
The familiar voice calling just to say ‘hello’.

I know it sounds silly, but these are the pieces that are holding it all together. String these up and they make up an afternoon. They make up a lifetime of our experiences that would otherwise be muddled through and unnoticed. I need them right now. I have needed them always. Some people call it sentimental. I call it eating and sleeping again.

Because they matter. We all matter. And as much as we celebrate the big and flashy moments…I also want to recognize the small and simple ones too.

Eventually this will all find its end of chapter conclusion. We will move on. We will be in a new town, in a new house, in new jobs and the kids will be in new schools. I can’t control every aspect of that long run on sentence. The idea of that made me want to pull my hair out. But I think it’s life’s little plan to keep us guessing. What fun is it to know it all?

Just for this moment…I don’t know. And that’s okay.
What I can appreciate are the little reminders around me to simply slow down.

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