The Queen of Everything and A Search for Perspective

The Queen of Everything and A Search for Perspective

Adrienne BoettingerTuesday,22 December 2015

This is typically the time of year when my depression and anxiety mix with a masochistic tendency toward over-commitment, an appreciation of fine liquor and unreasonable expectations of yuletide bliss prompted by excessive viewing of Hallmark and Lifetime holiday movies. In short, I become a jingle jangle mess and spend way too much time thinking of what I don’t have — bemoaning my 30-somethingth holiday season as a sad, sad singleton. It’s a medicinal miracle that I actually leave the house at all and that more people don’t end up slapping me.

But this weekend I succumbed to the trendy-trend of adults playing with coloring books and found life’s true colors shining through.

First I colored with with some teens at a local children’s hospital. I have a hard time connecting with the teens when visiting – with little kids, if you’re goofy enough you can usually get them to laugh, smile or if they can’t do that, they at least seem interested. Teenagers are tough though. If they’re cognitively with it they usually have a better idea of what they’re missing out there in the real world, and some weirdo trying to get them to sing carols or dancing around them like a lunatic just doesn’t work. So we colored. We colored and talked about boys and our favorite movies. And for a while, it wasn’t like they were in the hospital and I was just some strange grown-up coming to visit. We were just coloring.

The next morning found me coloring with my dad. He’d just turned 82 and I had managed to find an adult coloring book called “Peace on Earth.” Why this is poignant is that before the Alzheimer’s beat the life out of him, whenever you asked my dad what he wanted for his birthday or Christmas, his standard answer was “peace on earth.” I don’t know that he really likes coloring now but it’s something we do. It keeps him from going back to sleep and it’s something we can do together. So we colored and sang Christmas carols. It didn’t remind me of when I was little and I wasn’t trying to recreate any memories. It was a new memory with a man who can’t make those anymore. But I can.

Finally, that afternoon found me coloring get well cards with my little neighbors. Their brother had just fallen and broken his arm and I was keeping an eye on them until their grandparents could arrive. He looked so little and yet so brave on the way to the hospital with my friends who were also his very worried parents. I was trying to think of something to keep the girls calm and occupied and coloring seemed like just the thing. So we drew some pictures and said some prayers.

The weekend went by in a flash of colors. I didn’t think about what I don’t have and what I may never have. It wasn’t a Norman Rockwell card and it wasn’t a Hallmark holiday movie. It didn’t look like what I thought my life would be. It was messy and refused to stay in the lines. And I loved it.

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Image Credit: U.S. Pacific Fleet on Flickr

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