I share this not for a pat on the back, but to point out how attitude is everything. I have found myself slipping in that area and must be mindful – today was a reminder.
Ran out to our local Dollar General (you know, that place where nothing is a dollar) for some bits and bobs because I did not want to go into ‘town’.
I’m in line and to my right it became clear, was a man (with three little ones) having issues at the register.
I hear, “Sorry” a few times and step in.
Me: How short are you? (Because we’ve all been there right?)
Him: Oh, it’s not that – they can’t change a hundred.
Me: I can do that for you. (Because for one day I could after receiving a recompense.)
Him: Thank you so much!
I return to placing my items on the counter and hear him talking to his checkout person.
Them: Sorry about that.
Him: No worries, I had an opportunity to be blessed. Everything happens for a reason.
Wow. An opportunity to be blessed. I’m so stubborn, I don’t allow such opportunities. I DO count my blessings. But, to hear it put that way – just – wow.
He had three very patient, well-behaved kidlets who now didn’t have to be dragged to one of our rural gas stations to get change then return to the shop for their suspended sale.
He wasn’t inconvenienced. He was calm and kind and ushered his little herd out the door with a “Thank you again.”
Now I’ll share a little about the drive to the shop.
I’ve alluded to how rural we are – and how dangerous the highway that splits our town in two is.
Apparently a little more dangerous further you go up the hill according to this sign. Yes, it’s real – yes, I took this pic. (I was a passenger at the time, let’s not dilute my ongoing rant with ‘But you took a pic while driving).
Back to the route at hand,
I mean, you have to be on point! Guessing what the ‘non-locals’ may potentially do. (Unfortunately, locals too.)
There are OH so many crosses up and down the road, the pass and the grade, I’ve memorized most of them. You’d think that would serve as foreshadowing to the drivers that I encounter, sadly they don’t.
So, ‘heading out to the shop’ is not as simple as it might be elsewhere.
If you so much as see a rabbit running across the road in front of you – there must be a thought process.
- Is it running FROM something? Should I expect to break for a coyote?
- Is there a car behind me? (Okay, that should be number 1 probably)
- Can I brake in time to avoid a collision, or do I need a plan b and where may I swerve safely?
We literally have signs.
BIG highway signs lit up asking the driver to take: CAUTION! CAUTION! CAUTION! Watch for animals!
That’s just when encountering a critter.
Then comes the actual road – and bonkers traffic. Timing is everything.
I’ve learned to turn off my ‘give a fuck’ about people behind me at a stop sign. I am NOT going until I am certain I can safely navigate the turn onto the highway.
I’ve been honked at once, and wanted to bolt out of the car and remind them about the crosses. Go ahead, go around me – take your chances, and chances are when you’re hit, I’ll still stop and help you. But, let’s avoid all of that and just chill the heck out!
Back to the animals, says the Queen of Tangents.
I seriously need glasses.
On the way to work Friday I saw someone switch to the left lane for no apparent reason ahead of me.
I squint and think to myself, “Is that a person?” (On the side of the road, not the lane switcher LOL).
Now, I’ve known for a while I need glasses. But when you have a laundry list of things you need, somethings that are important start sliding down that list.
I squint harder … “Is that a bush?”
I squint harder, now practically on TOP of the ‘thing’ – “Oh … a cow.”
A large, uninterested, grass filled mouthed cow. In the ‘bicycle’ lane (I don’t know what it’s technically called out here) of our very dangerous highway.
I would love to tell you there was a great amount of distance between my first guess and my realization, but there was not.
Obviously doesn’t help my commute that I can’t SEE – so I may have to bump that up the list.
But, what I did see today – gratitude and calmness – was enough to open my eyes and return me to a mindset of the same.
Maybe that needs to be on a sign too. Although, some would probably pay as much attention to it as they do the others.
I’ll just keep my eyes on my own paper and try to practice it myself.
I had horrible dreams last night – meteors crashing to earth and creatures coming out of a mire – of course, I was trying to photograph them. I’m always taking photographs in my dreams.
And then I dreamed of an abandoned kitten in a desk drawer – I rescued it.
Other than that, I tossed and turned mostly – denied my dog’s request to go outside and tried to snatch some sleep back that was taken from me.
When I got up, I looked up the significance of meteors – and was surprised to read that they represented success in a project. I then looked up kitten …
‘To see a kitten in your dream represents a transitional phase toward independence. You are ready to explore new things that life has to offer. Alternatively, the dream symbolizes innocence and purity.’
Well, let’s be realistic, I had to assume the first interpretation applied to me.
Got ready, fed the dog, caught up on the news, packed my lunch and went to work.
I spent approximately an hour there before I received a phone call telling me I was laid off.
Just – like – that.
I liken the collecting and packing of personal items at work to that of a child packing to run away.
It’s usually done under emotional and stressful circumstances and you end up leaving important things behind and taking things you don’t need.
It wasn’t until I was driving home, realizing my key chain was one key lighter, that I remembered I forgot to grab my lunch.
There really isn’t much time to say ‘good bye’ or to leave a place properly when you’ve been asked to leave.
And this isn’t my first redundancy rodeo. This is the second time this year I’ve been laid off.
Let’s make that clear. I give 110% in all I do.
I won’t share the reasons or the company – just suffice it to say, changes were inevitable, I just didn’t expect I was on the chopping block today at all.
Blindsided by that damn kitten.
I am blessed though.
I am feeling positive.
I have proven to myself that I am capable of rising from the ashes and making the best of a situation, and this time will be no different.
I am not a ‘why me?’ person – I am an optimistic, realistic ‘why not me’ person.
And I have learned many lessons over the past few years and one of them is that you just stay in motion and keep showing up with a smile on your face and your hard work and attitude will be noticed.
And it was.
I am very fortunate to have some options that I am weighing.
I am very fortunate to have a healthy son. Loving family. Amazing friends.
I have my sight, my hearing, my voice – the use of all of my limbs and am pain-free.
And all I have is today.
With a determined eye to the future and a willingness to change and learn.
My heart grew today. I know it.
I was so completely aware of how amazing my son is.
For me, the measure of my success as a mother is the fact that he not only wants to spend time with me – but that he’s such a pleasure to be around.
We laughed so much, we always do – we waxed philosophical and we worked side by side.
He took me along to feed and water his girlfriend’s horses – with care and diligence for the animals and the task.
While there, he showed me his ‘fort’, which was actually an amazing puzzle of branches in the most photogenic wooden criss-cross of brush.
“Put your foot there – the other one there … sit here, on the trunk. Lay back, look up. Isn’t the sky beautiful through the branches?”
When did he become such a good driver?? I found myself not watching the road.
We spoke while he drove … of the moon, whether sperm have souls, road rules and safe sex.
“I want to teach you what I can before my time runs out – before you stop needing me.”
“I still need to learn how to ‘adult'”
My thought pattern stuttered and tripped over itself. The sentiment behind those words wasn’t lost on me. I was still needed. I recovered with a “Me too.”
We’ve become this team – unbreakable.
On one of the drives home I made a distracted sound.
“Having so many thoughts right now, I couldn’t even pin one down for you under my thumb to look at – not even by a wing.”
“I’m definitely growing up weirder than most …”
“That’s a good thing – don’t let your weird go.”
My favorite part of the day wasn’t the food (although, the food was amazing) it wasn’t the football (especially since the Packers lost ARG!) it wasn’t driving home and seeing Christmas lights …
My favorite part of the day, wasn’t even eating a spoonful of freshly whipped cream.
It was sitting across from my son at a table of six, making eye contact with him and getting the giggles. No words were exchanged, they weren’t needed – and we sat trying hard not to laugh as we shared a private joke.
It proved to be impossible and Nicholas ended up leaving the table before he completely lost it.
We laugh … A LOT! Just moments ago – we hugged and I told him “I love you – I’m thankful for you. ”
I’m so blessed to have such a strong connection with my son. Having spent so much time together alone (that didn’t sound right to me the first time I said it either) we have a bond that is unbreakable.
Hope all who celebrated Thanksgiving and Hanukkah today had many moments that made them smile – and many things to be grateful for.
Here is a sampling of our day.
Pre-dinner silly poses. I pointed out the sticky-up-hair after the pic 😉
Still unfed – but full of happy
The table – pre-food laden
Visited by my moms dog – Meesha
Went outside to escape the smell of the cooking food – Nic caught a candid moment
I had no room for dessert – except for that spoonful of whipped cream. 😉
Tomorrow – we’ll recover from a week of food debauchery – no black Friday for us.
If you plan on going – be careful out there!
I should already have my laundry basket prepared … my detergent packed – my bed stripped. But, I’m too comfortable in it to strip it. Too snuggly in my soft pajamas to do anything but stay in this quiet moment.
It’s inevitable – if I want clean clothes and sheets – and I am fond of such things.
But just this moment – right this second – it is SO deliciously quiet and peaceful and calm.
I have my cup of coffee, of the home made fancy variety.
Butters is outside exploring. Nic is sleeping. And the sun is hitting my curtain in a way that makes me smile.
It’s been a long few days.
Nicholas is experiencing the joy of becoming wise – in a most painful way. Yes, the wisdom teeth.
Well, ‘tooth’ as far as we can tell with all of our dental training.
Unfortunately for my chipmunk – he has an infection (again, educated guess based on the level of pain and size of his cheek.)
Last night, as we sat on our opposing couches, he suddenly jumped up and rushed to the kitchen.
Nic: I think something just happened.
(I pretty much knew ‘something’ must have happened because Nic doesn’t move that quickly off of furniture for ‘nothing’.)
It turns out, that ‘something’ was an abscess rupturing in his mouth.
Me: Rinse with warm salt water!!
(Nic was already holding the salt – note to self: He DOES listen and retain advice from time to time – keep giving it)
I should take a moment to explain why I am not a terrible mother for not having had him seen by a dentist yet.
We were pretty sure a wisdom tooth was coming in – and he was in pain. But, as I said to Nic, “Of course you’re in pain, you are teething.”
It wasn’t until Halloween that he developed the swollen face.
I’m not going to go into details and pity stories – the long and short of it is, we don’t have health or dental insurance and we don’t have ‘in case of emergency’ money.
I spent Friday at work trying to figure out how to get him to a dentist.
So after the great ‘rupture’ he was actually feeling better.
Nic: Mom, look, I think it’s a good thing. I can bite down now. I don’t think I have to go to the dentist!
Me: Um … an abscess popping in your mouth isn’t a check mark in the ‘reasons I DON’T have to go to the dentist’ column.
Then he was sad. Spitting remaining salt water and drool into his little spit cup.
We had engaged in conversation earlier about the reality of the situation. I assured him his health was priority one, but that might mean Christmas would not be the same under the tree.
We spoke again when I visited him in his room.
Nic: I don’t want you spending money or owing money
Me: It is what it is. It’s important! Money can be replaced. It’s silly isn’t it? These pieces of paper that we trade for goods and services. Sure, it would make things easier if we had more of it – but we don’t. We’re blessed though. Everything always works out. So, don’t worry about it.
And we are blessed.
We’re alive – have use of our limbs and our faculties. We have a home and food and snuggly pajamas. We have each other and Butters. We have clothes TO wash and transportation TO get to the place to wash them.
And we have sunlight playing on our curtains. And the kind of eyes and souls that notice such things – and smile.