Saturday, September 20, 2008

I need your grace to remind me to find my own

"To understand any living thing, you must, so to say, creep within and feel the beating of its heart." ~W. Macneile Dixon

It was fabulously gorgeous here today and I thought how much I wish everyone could step outside and have the bluest skies and temperature in the 70's and a gentle breeze every now and then to make them feel alive and happy like I felt today.

I spent the afternoon watching my daughter play tennis and it was wonderful mostly because she won which is always a plus because winning is everything to her. I have spent a lot of time in the past really encouraging and almost pushing this sport onto her because she is very talented and could go very far if she put her mind to it, but it got to the point where I could tell she was resenting me for wanting this for her. It's so hard for me because I didn't have parents who encouraged me and so I feel like it's important to always be in my children's corner cheering them on and guiding them where I think I see their strengths lie. Then after a tournament where she lost in a third set tiebreaker she got into the car and started screaming that the only reason she played was because of me and that sort of broke my heart because I don't want to be the person who makes her daughter feel pressured to play when she doesn't want to. I really dislike mothers like that and OMG I think I was one!

I had to take a good long look at myself and decided that perhaps maybe I was wanting and pushing this on her against her wishes. I told her I would never again make any decisions without asking her first and I've kept that promise. I've let her decide when and if she wants to play, and surprisingly, what I've found is that she started to love the sport again once she felt the pressure was off her from my end. I will not tell you that this wasn't difficult for me because I know she could be a very successful professional player if she wanted to. I know this because I've been told this by the professionals who taught her. It's so hard to feel like her talent is being wasted but if it isn't her dream or passion, then it's not really fair of me to try and force it to become hers. I don't think things end well when we do that to each other anyway. It's her life, not mine and I had to find a way to find peace with that. I think after a number of years, I'm at that point. I sit and watch her play now and don't ask anything of her except that she have fun. And when she wins, she has fun...

We went out to dinner tonight and the service was really slow but the manager came to us and gave us dessert on the house. I swear that the hot fudge sundae on top of a brownie is sitting in the bottom of my stomach like a lead balloon right now. Luckily I've got a stash of Rolaids to help ease the pain.

Inexplicably, my husband has taken the entire next week off for a vacation. His impromptu vacation will be spent at home. Joy. He has created a list of things to do about a mile long which is certainly not going over real well with me because I know how I always get roped into assisting him and how I curiously end up doing most of the work. I mean, he held up his list and was all excited as he recited it to me and I'm sorry but to do lists don't do anything for me. He seriously thinks cleaning is a fun way to spend time together. I am feeling that next week might be a heavy blogging week for me as a result of this vacation.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

6:28 PM

I think the days I am happiest are the days that are filled almost to bursting. And it's on these days that are filled almost to bursting that I remember why. It's because I live in the moment every moment. I stop living inside my head. I do not regret the past. I do not worry about the future. I stop chasing peace and peace finds me.

I drove by a man mowing his lawn today. I had my windows cracked just a little. The smell was heavenly and I know this is a silly thing to write about, but I want to be able to come back and read this some day and remember how much I love that smell. Next to the smell of Windex, it might be my all time favorite.

I love all 30 days in September, but I love September 16th the best because it's my son's birthday. I am incredibly lucky to have him. I wish him the all that's good in this world.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I hope they're following their bliss (or, red shoes make me happy, too)

I'll never understand why it seems so hard for people to be happy for you when good things happen in your life. I used to live next door to a woman who would drop everything in her own life if you were having a rough time. She'd cook you dinners and listen endlessly while you cried on her shoulder. But the second something good happened that you wanted to share, she backed off being your friend in search of a new needy person to aid. It was like she grew taller and brighter when your life was in ruins and I think it was because she was secretly happy that whatever was happening to you wasn't happening to her. It almost felt as if she wanted to be a witness to your pain rather than help alleviate it. Like, she did all that cooking and listening because there was the payoff of having a front row seat to watch the devastation up close and personal. I like to call people like this misery magnets. I don't like people like this because there's a real lack of sincerity going on under the guise of compassion. I mean, if you can't be happy for me when I'm happy, I would basically rather not know you.

I wonder what holds a lot of us back from being happy for one another when good things happen. Why can't a simple joy be shared without vultures waiting on the sidelines to rip us to shreds for the crime of finding a little happiness? I read these posts today and I was struck again how mean-spirited and petty people can be. The blogger posted a couple of pictures of items she had purchased and along came a killjoy to question if she really ought to be purchasing red shoes when she was just recently lamenting over financial difficulties in her life. I don't get it. How do the red shoes take away from any of us out here reading about them? If red shoes gave the blogger a reason to smile then who are we to steal that away from her?

We've all got sad tales to tell. I know I've got at least a million of them. We seem to cling to them like they're life rafts instead of recognizing them as anchors that are pulling us under. We like following trainwrecks, and scoff at people who present their lives in a positive light. I'm guilty of this sometimes. I don't mind people who have wonderful lives who write about them, but I will say that I have read blogs where the blogger will present a life of peaches and cream then one day snap and confess that it's all been a cover for all sorts of dysfunction going on. WTF? I don't like that crap. At least be real. Have a good day then a bad day like the rest of us, and don't concoct fairytales to tell just because it might sound better than my bitching about spit on the mirrors from people sloppily brushing their teeth.

I don't mind admitting that I'm all over the place most of the time. But I am able to be happy for other people when I see that they are happy. It shouldn't be that difficult to share in the little joys that help give us hope that things will get better--the joys that lighten our hearts momentarily. I just wish we could all be happy for one another when good things happen instead of thinking someone else's joy means there might be less for us somehow, or that someone isn't deserving of happiness just because we say so.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stupid questions

I was standing at the deli/bakery waiting for someone to wait on me. There were three women behind the deli counter all working together on something at a table a little off to the left (I think they were making cookies or something). So I'm standing there and about 30 seconds pass. These ladies don't acknowledge that I am alive until one of them looks in my directions and says, "Are you waiting to be helped?" Huh? No, I'm standing there hoping to be discovered as America's next top model.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A grateful heart

"Thou hast given so much to me,

Give one thing more, - a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise."~George Herbert

I woke up and I lived another day, and everyone that I love lived right along with me in good health and happiness & sometimes I forget how wonderful that is, how lucky we all are, just to be here.

I am trying to start my days reminding myself to appreciate all the small things that sometimes feel so small that I end up wanting more because I think having more will lead to a happiness I feel I might be missing out on. I think if I can remind myself often enough, it will become a habit. I will wake up and I will live and I will think to myself, this is enough. I am positive that repetition is the key to pulling this off.

Something else I am trying to do is actively look for the good in people rather than jump to my own biased conclusions based on nothing but assumptions. I want to learn to look past the surface to see what's real because that's what I expect from others for myself. I don't know when I became the sort of person who sometimes lacks compassion for people I don't understand, but somewhere along the way, that's what I've become. I'm impatient and dismissive and I want to change that about myself.

I found this bag of photographs in my closet today stuffed behind one of those plastic tote containers. If there is one thing I did right while my children were growing up, it was take a lot of pictures of them. I haven't gotten around to putting them all in albums but there's a part of me that thinks that will be a great little pastime when I am old and am looking for something to lift my spirits and help me remember. Every picture tells a story and brings me back. There is no way my mind could ever remember it all and I'm so glad I took hundreds of photographs to help give my past back to me. I wish I felt safe enough here to share that part of my life with you but I don't (with pictures). Maybe I'll post a picture of myself some day if I get brave enough. I am scared to involve my children in something they haven't agreed to participate in, but you should know how hugely I am blessed.

My husband has been home most of the week and whenever that happens, I notice how unstructured my life becomes. Every single plan I have flies out the window in favor of goofing off with him and he encourages this because he's bad like that. I totally did not make my bed today, I ate Chinese food for lunch and insisted we stop at Dairy Queen on the way home under the guise of needing to use the restroom when in fact I just wanted one of those vanilla ice cream cones dipped in chocolate.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Life is good

I had to get a new cell phone today because last night I was at Walmart and my phone dropped out of my bag and when I went to use it, the screen was blank. What a horror. I've only dropped it about 5 times total in almost 2 years, but maybe this was a really hard drop because I couldn't call out after that, I could only receive calls. No text messaging either and I've come to sort of like texting now that I got the hang of it. I still don't get the big deal about it because I know that kids are basically lazy and texting takes more time and effort than actually making a call, but for some reason, texting is what all the kids do now so I've had to get with the program. Anyhow, I got a new phone and it's really nice and I'm happy about that because I'm addicted to my cell phone like some people are addicted to drugs. I sort of panic when it's not in my line of vision.

Other than that, not much going on here. I've been overdosing on oatmeal raisin cookies and watching the US OPEN. Life is good.