Milestones and Omens

I’ve had an unwanted hiatus from writing. Growing is always difficult, and some things must lie fallow while other things bloom. That was “svulstig”*, I know. But the metaphor does the job of conveying the truth.

*grandiloquent – but not exactly. Try saying them out loud. Svulstig feels much more bloated in your mouth, pressing around your tongue. While something grandiloquent trips in high heels.

On Saturday I gave a short speech on behalf of my ex-husband and myself. Our son was finally able to enjoy an elegant wedding after two years of Covid kicking the can down the road.

My son has always hated it when I code-switch. He said he grew up thinking Norwegian words were legitimate English words because I tend to use the best word. What else to do but to code-switch in the speech? Kjærlighet means more to me than the word love. Most likely because it isn’t my native tongue. Love is overused, misused, and abused. What do we love? French fries and argyle socks (maybe not). I have never heard the world kjærlighet used in such a way. If it is a matter of my ignorance of the Norwegian vernacular, that’s all right. Language is private and public, subjective and contextual. Someone will always correct us when we think we have found the perfect expression.

I have to admit though, I like the Danish pronunciation better, with its abrupt K at the beginning – like a “catch”. Then the j there, quiet but like a hook. And the suffix “het” makes it a phenomenon. The Danish language is tough. I like that such a word has a toughness to it. A strength that comes from the gut.

You don’t “fall into” kjærlighet. It is something that arises. It is a different word than “to love”: å elske. To fall in love is to be forelsket. Kjærlighet is more than a feeling.

As I was writing the speech, I kept thinking about how it felt to have E. on my hip when he was small. How I’d lift him by one arm and he’d swing in like a little monkey, wrapping his legs around my waist. It is such an intense physical memory it brings tears to my eyes. It manifests a very different kind of kjærlighet. But still, a phenomenon that arises as an atmosphere and permeates the years. Still.

On Saturday night at the reception, on several occasions, my E. now taller than me would wrap his arm around my waist to comfort me. Include me.

There is a poem here that I will write. But for now –

I can’t find the word I want. It isn’t bittersweet. There is no bitterness here. Some language must have a word for this. I am not the first parent to be overwhelmed by an atmosphere that has somehow accumulated years of experiences, emotions, ambitions, hopes, disappointments, and failures. Short-comings and (undeserved) pride.

I didn’t say all this on Saturday. Lord knows they all think I am odd as it is. The day-after blues had me concerned that I was the white trash at the ball again. But the world is still settling, and I am thinking someday I might actually outgrow my insecurities.

Might. Yesterday I was notified my grant application was rejected. No explanation. That stings a bit. I am in the process of looking for the people who lift me up. Walking a fine line of clinging to old achievements and planning to forge through this current.

I saw an ad on social media this morning for decoy wasp hives. The guy said that 2022 is going to be a wasp year.

I am choosing to interpret that as an omen.

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