Sunday, August 1, 2010

Time Enough!

When I was a kid, suppertime was when we all shared the stories of the day. Usually Mom had the most interesting story. She taught first and second grade for many years, and usually she had some tale about what had happened at school that day. She loved to tell us the stories from her reading books too. One she referred to many times was a traditional Yiddish tale—the story about the poor man who goes to the wise elder and asks what to do about his crowded house. Mom called the story “Room Enough” and I think that was the title in the reader that she used. Anyway, in the story the man is told to ease his crowding problem by bringing MORE inhabitants into the house. Bring in the chickens! No improvement. The goats! Much worse! …and so on. Finally the man goes back one more time and the elder says…now…go home and take out all the animals! So he does and comes back to report that the problem has been solved. There is now ROOM ENOUGH in the house. My mother thought this story was hilarious for some reason, and whenever things got cluttered in the den, or the kitchen needed straightening, she would pronounce that WE needed ROOMENOUGH! My brother and I always knew we were in for some house cleaning chores then.

The reason I have been thinking about this for the past few months is that I have been yearning for TIME ENOUGH. Although I am far from a born leader, I agreed with some reluctance last year to take over as department chair for our MLS program. Then around Christmas I had a worrisome mammogram. I ended up with surgery this spring followed by radiation treatments. I lost Mom to breast cancer , and had promised my daughter that if I ever needed treatment I would seek the best care. Thus I had my original appointments and surgery down town in Houston at MD Anderson. I was lucky enough to be able to have my radiation at a satellite clinic just 30 miles from my house. But every single day for two months I made the drive down and back for my treatments, losing about 3 hours from start to finish. I kept telling myself that once I got through with all that, I would be like the crowded family in the folk tale, except with time instead of room. I would get my life back, complete with Time Enough.

I finished my treatments three days before leaving to take students on a travel study experience to NYC and DC, finishing up with the ALA conference. That was a great trip and I took care not to overdo, but during that time I did not have what one would call a leisurely schedule. No matter. I was going to get it back when I returned from the trip! Surely then I would have Time Enough!

Upon return I discovered that I was behind on all fronts, most particularly with the other class I was teaching, and grades were due in one short week. So I got past that. Then came the week I had been waiting for. Last. Week. I was going to have Time Enough starting last week! Monday was busy but then Mondays are always busy. On Tuesday I had a great day teaching a new class of students. But…during lunch I got a call that my dad had been taken to the ER. It seems he had a heart attack, something they call a silent heart attack that must have occurred some time in the previous 2-3 days. Not only that, he had congestive heart failure that really should have been diagnosed ages ago. So again my life went into overdrive. We got him delivered back home and settled with a hospital bed in his den. Life is going on and his amazing spirit still blazes brightly.

Meanwhile I have been attending to a myriad of duties related to the administrative part of my job, and also keeping up with my summer class. Amazingly I am, for the moment, caught up with grading. I have an article to write but I have the all-important idea and it is percolating. I am sitting here listening to Lucinda Williams Radio via Pandora and thinking about re-launching my blog. I think I have time enough to do that. Finally.

1 comment:

  1. Glad your dad is making it through--I can tell from your FB posts how fond you are of him.

    I love this story about your mom.

    Wishing you "room enough" very soon!