Friday, August 3, 2012

Mindful Giving - Day 3

Friday, August 3, 2012

It's the fourth day of the school year. This morning, we all had the wake up routine down a bit better. I noticed my younger daughter woke up without me or an alarm. But we were all a bit out of sorts. Our hormonal shifts aren't quite there yet.

Nonetheless, I pushed myself to go to Trader Joe's right away. I've committed to hosting dinner tonight for my friend, her son, and her aunt. That means a commitment to shop and cook, as well as clean the house up to a level appropriate for company. There could hardly be a worse time to entertain. At the end of the first week of school, we are always fatigued and raggedy. It's been a choppy week for me, with short days and lots of drop offs and pick ups, so I've had almost no time to do my actual work. Being behind is stressing me out. Also, I'm really, REALLY in a mood to write. And whenever I feel that urge to work at writing, and I can't get to a computer with a block of time where I can flow into it, I tend to get jumpy and anxious. Irritable. I have a couple of children's story ideas that I'm trying to flesh out around a single line or a concept, and I feel like if I had word play time I could probably grow them into something.

(Does it work that way for you writers? Do you get the seed of an idea nudging at you from inside? It seems like if I get to the computer in time, then I can grow something out of it. But if I don't then I'll usually lose it for good. Sometimes I have whole poems in my head, but if I don't stop and write them down, later I can only remember a few words or an idea.)

So I'm really not into doing a dinner tonight. I'd much rather hang out with pizza, maybe stream some of the Olympics - which is flying by with us not having time to watch ANY of it - and type around through the evening hours. Instead, we'll have to do a fairly formal dinner, with the cloth and the china, and conversation with a stranger. Probably in French. I hope my brain is up to that level by tonight. I should stream some French movies in the background today while I clean just to jog that part of my language memory.

So, this is my mindful giving. I admit I am being churlish about it. The only reason I've agreed is because I do actually have a fairly strong Giving Practice in place already. My basic philosophy is that if I CAN give something to someone, especially a friend who asks, then I should. (At least I have a strong practice somewhere in my life. That's good. Friendship, mothering, and giving are my best practices. Yoga and writing are more hit-and-miss. In fact, I really wanted to go to yoga class today, but I've had to accept that I just can't fit it in with these other errands, and my strong need to write asap.)

Here's how the text conversation with my friend went:

L:  Hi Marie. We haven't seen you for a while. My aunt is in town. She goes back to France on the 8th, and if it's possible, she would really like to meet you before then.

Me: Hi!! We would LOVE to meet your aunt. And we want to see you. This week is really busy with the start of the school year. Maybe we would have some time Friday evening?

L: Great. Friday night works for us.

L: My aunt is good for Friday night. Should we bring something? Dessert? What time?

That's when I realized, Arrggh, I've inadvertently invited her over. Now there are a few reasons why we tend to socialize here. One, my house is bigger and more comfortable. Two, her son loves to come here to play with the girls. Three, I often take the initiative to invite, so we've done way more here than elsewhere. Four, L doesn't have a lot of friends, so I tend to try to make an extra effort for her. And Five, the big one, her older son passed away two years ago. Since then she has struggled with sorrow and depression, so I tend to give her a pass for all social expectations and make the effort to support her family.

That's why the early morning sun streamed down upon me as I pointed my car east to Trader Joe's. If I could get the shopping done quickly, I would start the dinner in the crockpot then move on to my other shopping, writing, and cleaning. I was watching the worker water the flowers, trying to decide if I should get some, when she turned to me. "Oh, hi. You do know that we don't open until nine?"

"Oh no, I thought you opened at seven. Or at least eight... That does explain why the parking lot is so empty."

A quick time check showed me it was only 8:20. Way too early to just hang out there and wait. I didn't even have my computer with me. I realized I would have to come back later, probably much later after a different set of errands. I realized that I was not going to be able to fit in that 10:30 yoga class after all, I watched the dream of it fly away from me, right there on that damp sidewalk. Then I turned around and trudged back to my car, resolute that I would move on to my next set of tasks.

Driving home, I felt sad and disappointed. I didn't want to be doing all of this errand-y stuff. I realized I wanted to be writing. I wanted to be sharing. I wanted to be talking. With the prop of my busy schedule and achievement momentarily torn away, I came face to face with the deeper currents inside. A wave of loss swept over me, the sense of all that could-have-been and all that had-been, sharpened by what still-might-be. I was neither surprised or resistant when tears began to roll down my checks. Yes, I thought, you have lost a lot. And it is still hard. Crying is a very reasonable response. So, I thought and I cried. I yearned and I considered.

Then I turned on the radio and laughed at some silly bit. I noticed the sunshine. I came home and made a cup of hot chocolate, even though it is August and probably will top 100 degrees today. And I wrote this.

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