Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Life. As simple as I want it.

My fans have requested a new post. Okay, it was only my sister, but she holds a lot of power over me so I caved in and will try to come up with something.

The truth is that my life is humming along a rather boring pace and I have nothing much to blog about. Before you feel sorry for me and my dull life, realize that I work hard to keep things as calm and simple as possible. When I say boring and dull I don't mean that we are doing nothing, I just mean that nothing we are doing is interesting to other people. We wake, we pray, we eat, we do school, we talk, we have lunch, we do a little more school. I take kids to the library or to friend's houses or downtown or wherever. Neighborhood kids come over, ask if we have any snacks, I make something, listen for the thanks, rest on the couch, get up. Make dinner and eat dinner and walk the dog and go to bed.

In between, children leave scooters in the driveway, I run them over, ( the scooter, not the kids), ruin my bumper, empty threats are made, apologies are given and accepted. Laundry piles up, laundry gets done, dishes pile up, dishes get done, I ride my bike, buy some songs on itunes, go to the beach, read to Maggie, clean toilets, pull hair from drains and throw it at the wall and laugh. Wonder if I should leave it there. Who will notice? Only me. I clean it up.

Go to church, leave feeling refreshed. Ten minutes later we are all arguing in the car and I'm asking if anyone listened to anything. Silence, but only for a minute. We go for family bike rides and forget Maggie's helmet and shoes and Greg takes care of it, again. We're off on our way. We go to the park and the beach and for walks. We talk. We laugh. We eat. We yell. We say we're sorry.

I check in bedrooms and see piles of messes and am told to stop saying we belong on Hoarders. But we do belong there. I empty the fridge, I clean the fridge, I wonder why no one throws out empty containers and I leave some in there just for fun, just so I can say "see, how do you like it?" And they never like it.

Friends come over for lunch, children play, cry when they have to leave, we assure the little one she will see her friends again and very soon. I take a walk with a close friend. We laugh till we can't breath. We talk about our kids and school and life. I get in my car and am happy. Realize it's late and dark and I may run out of gas on the way home. Panic. Make it to the station, promise I will never do that again. But I will.

Think about my sister. Miss my sister. Send my sister an email telling her I will buy a new phone this week so I can call her. I said this last week, too. And the week before. Assure her I have nothing exciting to tell her anyway.( Write this post to prove my point. )

Take Buster for a walk at night. Warm and quiet and peaceful. Almost start to cry over the embarrassment of riches that is my life. Try to remind myself not to take it for granted. Dull, boring, quiet, whatever you want to call it, I'll take it as long as I'm given it. I've been blessed and I know it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

On being humble

Several months ago I was reading an article about Mary, about how she "kept all these things in her heart," much preferring to ponder things, rather than talking about them endlessly and with everyone she came into contact with. The article was encouraging the bizarre notion of quiet contemplation. I cringed a little, as I am one for telling my close friends just about every thought that comes into my mind. Pondering things is strange and difficult. How will everyone know how I've been wronged if I can't tell them? How will everyone know how wonderful my life is if I don't talk about it? How will people always have me on their minds if I am not constantly inserting myself into their thoughts?

After I read the article I decided I may need to work on humility, on keeping things a little more to myself, on not making things about me all the time, maybe even pray and contemplate things before going to people first. It was all a very novel idea for me and quite difficult to manage. My friend Terri can attest to this, as she is often the recipient of hundreds of my text messages and emails each week. Yes, most of what I have to say is vitally important, but every once in a while, one or two messages slips through that are perhaps not critical.

The reason I'm writing about this now is because I was thinking about my Nana last night. I think about her as much now as I ever have. I walk in the evenings and when I look up at the stars in the sky I know she is up there, cheering me on and that never, ever fails to make me smile. Last night I was thinking about how on the surface my Nana didn't always seem like a humble woman who kept things to herself.

My Nana was not shy about telling you how beautiful she was, or how lovely people always told her she looked, or how when she went to people's houses they were always amazed at the small amount of food she required..."and they said, but Barbara, is that really all you're going to eat? My granddaughter, they couldn't believe it!" The truth is, my Nana was beautiful and she honestly never overindulged in food, so she knew herself quite well and you can't really call that bragging, can you?

Last night I was thinking of the time we somehow got on the topic of abortion. Current events were not typically discussed between me and my Nana. Her stories were much more captivating than anything I could have read in a paper or heard on the news, but for some reason this discussion came up and I wanted to hear what my Nana had to say. Along with being beautiful and having a small appetite, she was brilliant ( which she would also freely tell you) and I loved hearing her insight. She looked at me and then she looked down. She was shaking her head and she had one of her hands propped on her cheek, a gesture she often took when she was about to say something full of thought. "Ann Marie, you can't imagine years ago what girls used to do when the got pregnant. You can't imagine. Oh those poor girls!" She looked like she may cry. And then she said, "I don't know, I don't know. You pray, my granddaughter, you pray!" No judgement, no harsh words, nothing more than compassion and sorrow for other people's suffering and an awareness that even when you know the correct answer, sometimes you have to leave it up to God and prayer. True humility. On the big things, my Nana was indeed humble, just like Mary, whom she happened to be extremely devoted to.

I've read this post through and I realize it isn't particularly well written or cohesive - it's sort of all over the map but these thoughts were going to escape me if I didn't get them down and I can't let that happen and I don't have time right now to write well. Sorry about that.