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Spring is around the corner, but my life has taken a nosedive; instead of feeling the impending euphoria of a climb out of winter, I’ve seen my days get metaphorically shorter and darker in a fall-like plunge. I’ve been in the same two winter outfits for a week even though I am now on a balmy island off the coast of Georgia. I have no idea when I will get back home, wherever that is right now.


A week and a half ago, I left the Chicago area on a frigid day and flew to Washington, D.C. for an apartment-hunting trip, just in time for a winter storm with sub-zero temperatures and snow, sleet and ice, then rapidly rising temperatures, heavy rain, and all the not-so-pretty melted snow, slush, and road salt.

The surroundings matched my mood – a smudge of worry, then a storm of panic and uncertainty. After making a very hasty decision on a place to live for the next year, I suddenly needed to change my plans. I was not going home to my dog or to help pack up for our move across the country. I was flying to Georgia, to a hospital complex, to try to figure out what was wrong with my mother – a bright and active woman who had led book discussions, played competitive bridge, and socialized non-stop a few short months ago.

I am happily in the full summer of life in general. A month ago, I had a job that let me travel widely several times a year, a well-loved house in a charming little village, a comfortable and stable lifestyle, and healthy kids and parents. I did know change was in the wind; my husband had been pursuing a position in Washington, D.C. for some time, but our idea was to ease into the move. I planned to keep my job, staying on in the house with our older dog, traveling on weekends (and longer when the school year ended) to be with my husband. It sounded like such an exciting adventure – a small apartment to test out urban living, and proximity to the eastern seaboard and friends and family.

More sobering than the temporary darkening of my own days is the realization that my parents truly are in the winter of their lives. I just wrote recently about the invincible summer I am lucky to have inside me, so right now my hope is that my optimism and (usually!) good cheer will cast a ray of sunlight into my parents’ lives for a bit. I just wish I could do it in something other than my waterproof snow boots!

Dublin, Ireland

[With my own changing of seasons, my posts may be few and far between for a while, but please know that I am slowly reading and enjoying many of yours even if I merely hit the “Like” button!]