The Fruits of Frustration


These days the fruit on the vine bears a copious crop of frustration.  December at our home in downtown Denver proved to be nearly overwhelming as lives changed, world events erupted, and my Steady Betty gold 2004 Hyundai  Santa Fe met an untimely end parked at the corner of 7th and Clarkson.

COVID-19 knocked on the door as one of Mikelle’s team members test positive.  Mikelle quarantined with me as I provided all her care for ten days straight. My ten days filled with twenty-four loads of laundry, sixty trips to the bathroom, thirty meal preps, and cleanups.  I was happy to be there and very ready for the ladies to return.

Job descriptions changed from getting Mikelle out in the community visiting the banks, coffee shops, and retail stores to keeping her safe in isolation. Their duties resorting to drive-thru community inclusion as she orders coffee into a speaker and hears her favorite banker’s voice come across the scratch speaker.

A new team member came aboard, one was on vacation, then quarantine and another left as the changes were just not the job she had signed on for, but none of 2020 was what we had signed on for in early January of 2020.  Our year’s goals didn’t include any of this frustration.

The holidays were somewhat lifeless except for one glorious moment. On December 23rd, in a dental office on the south side of town, Mikelle’s incredible smile returned. For almost ten years, it dimmed one tooth at a time until there were more gaps than teeth.

On this day, we fitted Mikelle’s new teeth, and that radiant smile lit up the world once again.  As Mikelle paraded through the corridors of the dental office, she was like a newly crowned beauty queen tossing her bracelets into the hands of all who worked there.  Of course, her dental team received Christmas bracelets, which they wore proudly.  Then, each dental assistant in the office was gifted with her holiday spirit. Perhaps, one of the sweetest moments is when the man who captured her smile from old pictures came out to see his artwork on display and feel her happiness at his fine work. Even the receptionist was honored with a “shining beautiful” gift from Mikelle.

It was clear, a choice to get the new teeth, the frustration of two years and 90k were worth this moment.

A week later, the new teeth broke on the last day of 2020.  Frustrated—yes.  Undaunted—definitely.

Life is about small victories and momentary challenges. That is after Mama sheds a few tears of frustration, buys a new car, and works out all that frustration in decluttering old files and old memories.

Frustration is the fuel of progress.