Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Own Personal Louise

Back in June, I wrote about longing for Louise to come save me from the piles of un-done and dis-organized and un-made that seemed to be looming in on me from every angle in our little house. I was experiencing a longing for someone to come help me figure out what to do with all this stuff that we accumulate and then haul around with us. In this case, I'm talking about physical stuff - old bills and bedding, letters and linen - though I'm sure my frustration with the messy build-up in my house is also frustration with the mess and difficulty of my life lately.

I have thought about Louise often since then. She has also come to represent the ability to ask for - and accept - help. I've been lucky in the last months to have a few real-life Louises come and help me. My friend Julie, who called me up shortly after the miscarriage and said, "I have a light week. Can I come and be your Louise?" And then she came and vacuumed my house and folded laundry and returned videos and library books. My parents, whose fun beginning-of-vacation visit turned into trauma-support. My mother-in-law, who made an impromptu visit for two days last week, took Elan to the park more times than I can count (his nursery school was closed for vacation), and helped me reorganize my linen closet. This kind of help is such an amazing gift. It gives me a boost of energy and makes me feel not alone even when the day is difficult. It is the kind of help I imagine people used to engage in more often, when families lived in the same town and communities were more cohesive. It is the kind of help I would like to offer more too.

Louise has also become a metaphor for me, a way to think about a certain kind of energy that I know I have inside but that is sometimes difficult to locate. I love to be organized, and yet I am slow and methodical when it comes to getting organized. I keep things too freely and find culling them difficult. The nice thing about Louise, though, is that I can call on her when I am ready for her (today she came for a few hours and made nice progress on the guest room closet), and when she's not around, I don't beat myself up about that. Louise is out on vacation, I tell myself. I imagine her sipping a mai tai on a Hawaiian beach, and I shut the closet door behind me.