Wednesday, August 29, 2012

When an omission makes a statement

“I love my kids – they’re my whole world.” Sometimes that statement makes me cringe. Especially if I know that the mom who said it is in a meaningful relationship with the dad. I always hope he doesn’t find out that she’s letting everyone know what’s most important in her life and he didn't even warrant a mention. What IS that? 

It’s a glaring omission. I get an image in my head (it’s unfortunately unoriginal, but hey, it’s what pops up): a small island in the middle of a vast sea. Mom and kids are on the island, hugging. Dad is adrift just off shore, in a rowboat with no oars; close enough to see what going on, but apparently uninvited to join. Oy.

Hubby and I were together for about nine years before we were blindsided surprised by my pregnancy. We hadn’t scheduled kids into our agenda yet, so the idea took a while to blossom into prenatal joy and excitement. I was na├»ve, of course, and was a bit resentful toward the impending newcomer. It felt like I was going to have to take the affections I had for Hubby away from Hubby in order to give them to the new baby. And it made me quite sad. I never wanted to put anyone before the love of my life. 

I learned, to my delight, that love and affection don’t come in limited quantities; that you can always make more. No one has to be shorted in order for someone else to get some. One’s world tends to expand in a family situation, and there’s plenty of room for everyone.

So where along the way - and how - does someone get left out of a proclamation of love, when they were there from the beginning and are still there?

Maybe she thinks, “Oh, he KNOWS what I mean”, or, “Pffft – he doesn’t care”. Hmmm, really?  Quite an assumption there.  OK, maybe he wouldn't have been offended.  But what a missed opportunity to make someone feel special. 

Breaks my heart every time.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Something amazing happened today

They planned a munchie day at work for today where everyone brings in a dish and then shares at lunchtime. I went back and forth for a few days, not sure what I should bring.  I finally decided to make and bring a fresh salsa.

I woke up in a panic at 1AM this morning because I'd forgotten to go to the store for the ingredients.  My first thought was to just throw together the brownie mix I had in the pantry and call it good.  But I really wanted to do the salsa, so I decided to get up early and get to the store so I could make it before work.

It's a tasty snack, so it got the usual compliments, but one lady in particular asked for the recipe.  She said she was going to bring some back to her coworker to try.  Her coworker was on an organic diet as a way to help her fight her cancer, and was interested in anything new she could try.

So I emailed the lady my recipe and got an email in response.  She said that her friend loved the salsa and that it was something she could eat on her new diet.  She thanked me up and down.  I wrote back to say she was welcome and I told her that I'd almost brought something else, but that I guess I'd made the right choice.

She wrote back and said, "You have no idea what you've done - you were guided.  My friend is starting to struggle with the limitations of what she can eat.  We see this as a new gift that will help her stay strong so she can fight her disease." 

What she said - about being guided - made me think back to all the things that led up to that last step of putting the bowl of salsa out on the table in the breakroom.  Had I really been "guided"?   It seems I might have been.  And for an awesome purpose.  To re-inspire someone to keep battling cancer?   Amazing.  Overwhelming.  In itself, inspiring. 

If that's what being guided is, if it leads me to unintentionally and even unknowingly help others, in big ways or small, I hope to always go where I'm led.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I was a hippy beach dude in another life?

Even been in funk? I’d describe it as a temporary condition, just this side of depression. You can still function, still socialize, still laugh, but you can’t help feeling something’s off. Apparently, I was in one and didn’t know it until today when I realized I’d just come out of it. Crazy. Here’s the story:

So, the last time my phone was ready for an upgrade, I was either short on cash or patience or, most likely, both. As such, I was in no mood to scout out the latest and greatest gadget and opted for the free, bare-bones model. It was a clam-shell phone with no touch screen, no data plan, no qwerty. At the time, and for the next year, I told myself I just didn’t need the bells and whistles. Fine and good. Between then and now, C got his first phone and entered into the world of texting. Also, more and more friends started using texting as the go-to way of reaching out. No problem at first, but then I realized that, honestly, texting on a non-qwerty keypad bites.

Then I had one of my not-so-great-in-hindsight ideas: to motivate myself, I would abstain from getting a new phone until I reached a certain weight-loss goal. I figured it would be a suitable reward for my hard work and, by that time, I’d certainly deserve it.

 Fast forward a year, where I found myself no closer to my goal than before. And now my phone was eligible for another upgrade. What to do? Some irrelevant drama ensued, but at the end, I abandoned my goal and my unspeakably thoughtful Hubby got me a new, “real” phone. 

While setting it up, Hubby suggested that I get the Pandora app. Probably the best advice he’s ever offered that I’ve had the good sense to take.

All day today I ran down my data allotment, streaming Pandora from my new phone. In the middle of cubical city, as I listened to my customized station, as one great song after another was piped through my earbuds directly into my brain, I felt myself coming out of the funk I didn’t realize I was in. I had to make sure that’s what it was and, when I did a quick lookback , it’s true: I’d been kind of lost and just shy of feeling awesome for a while there. But no longer.

 So, with help of Hubby and Pandora, I learned some stuff:

 One: I will never again deprive myself of the latest technology if it will mean I’m also depriving myself access to other cool things in the big, wide world.  Even if I think I don't need it. 

Two: I thought that, when I got my new phone, I'd be in a great state of mind because it would have meant that I reach my weight-loss goal.  It turns out that getting the phone first actually LED me to a great state of mind.  And without all the sweating.

Three:  Of all the channels I could have picked on Pandora, I went with Jack Johnson and damn if every last song didn't reach me. In addition to loving all of JJ's stuff, I also discovered some new guys:  Donavon Frankenreiter, Michael Franti and Dispatch.  Apparently I have some kind of connection with beachy, hippy dudes.  Cool.