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The Tenant

“You must be the TENANT” I sharply said, as I walked down the rickety steps that lead to the beach.  I was wearing a baseball cap with a pony tail, no makeup and cut off shorts.  Not my best look.  I was looking for my best friend, but she wasn’t there. And then, without missing a beat, he looked up from his book, and said dryly, “You must be the FRIEND.”  I noticed that he was very handsome and tan like the creamy color of calf leather.   He mimicked my tone perfectly, I guess to put us on even ground.  I think he was letting me know that two can play at this game.  I quickly measured him up before I reached the bottom of the stairs.  He sat crossed legged, in the warm afternoon sun with his chair unevenly dug into the sand.  He was relaxed with slightly slacked shoulders and resting arms. His thick black hair had small ridges, that looked like he had just ran his fingers through it. His good looks and quick wit piqued my interest. 

I stepped onto the beach as I asked where the “SS Minow” was, and he told me they went out about a half hour ago.  I grabbed the closest chair and set it down nearby, but not too close.  I quickly yanked my denim shorts up before I sat, hoping he didn’t see.  Then I covertly adjusted my bra strap that was falling down my arm, a little sticky with sweat.  His toothy grin was warm and comforting, like he was an old friend.  This lake beach was owned by my best friend.  She had an above the garage apartment, or as he called it the compartment.  He had recently separated from his wife and moved into the apartment, a tiny little paradise.  He found it online and was very lucky to get it.

I had heard a little bit about him from my friend which wasn’t exactly glowing.  She was leery of the tenant’s executive status, wondering why he would want a garage apartment.   He could live anywhere.  Little did he know, he had moved in above the party house, the place where everyone loudly gathered.  She mentioned, before I met him that he would often keep his distance, reading in the sun with a gin and tonic in his hand.  I assumed he was probably looking for a quiet life.  The “regulars” who came there would try to include him with little success.  He was friendly enough, but kept to himself. The typical raucous activities on the lake maybe intimidated him a little, which included a lot of drinking, partying and going out on drunk pontoon rides.  Not exactly peaceful.

And so, the conversation began.  He offered me a beer, as I stammered on about how I don’t drink beer, shifting back and forth.  “I really, it’s not, well I typically, oh OK” I said.   I’m a wine drinker, but for the sake of killing some time, I accepted the beer. Plus, he wasn’t tough to look at.  But that wasn’t the whole story.  I was beginning to be drawn more to the banter than his looks.  When the light shifted, we moved to the picnic table.  I pointed to his book, and said, “Buck a Book?” As he lifted the beers out of a soft sided cooler, he looked at me with a blank look, and said, “Yeah” with a grunt that resembled a laugh.  I could tell he didn’t know what I was talking about but answered me anyway.  He had a beat-up copy of “Trinity”, with a torn cover and yellowing pages.   He didn’t know I was referring to the chain store that used to sell dusty old books for a dollar.  It was kind of a slam, but he just kept the conversation going.

The pontoon boat was out for the better part of an hour.  The sun slowly moved making soft skewed shadows behind us.  Their absence gave us more time to talk.  We chatted excitedly about everything, almost talking over each other.  There was electricity between us.  And about hour into it, he declared, “you’re a good sparring partner.”  Was this an insult?  I had no idea what that meant.  Did I say something wrong?   I brushed it off, and continued to talk about myself, which I have a habit of doing. Eventually, I finished the warm, flat beer at the bottom of the bottle, and casually reached across the table for another, without asking.   I was curious what “sparring partner” meant, expecting it to be negative.  So, I asked him.  He explained that it referred to a person who could “keep up”, a high complement.  By this time I was determined to keep up.

The boat arrived back with a very rowdy crew.  I could hear the clamor of laughter and booming voices before the boat was visible.  By now the last rays of sun cast a dreamy filter over the lake like a watercolor painting.  I selfishly wished they would have stayed out longer.  “You’re finally here” my friend said angrily as she jumped off the parked boat onto the dock.  She handed me a bottle of wine, even though I had messed up their plans.  She was generous and loving below her sharp exterior.  I was known to be late most of the time which pissed her off, and it had been weeks since I had been to the lake.   They were sick of waiting for me that day and took the boat ride without me.  I wasn’t bothered though.  What a lucky break I thought.  I had been asking, and the universe answered.

He made it clear in his somewhat silent and aloof manner, that he was a free agent.  No commitments after a marriage that ended miserably, he confessed to my friend one day.  I told my friend about a week later that, “I think I fancy your tenant.”  She barked back at me, “You’re crazy. Stay away from him.”  She knew his situation brought a lot baggage, making him an undesirable catch. But, I wasn’t looking for anything serious like marriage for God’s sake!  My expectations were lower than that.  I had an ex-husband who was verbally abusive and mean, so I had some scar tissue too.

Here I was padded up, wanting to spar.  I couldn’t stop thinking about him after that day on the beach.  Over the weeks ahead, we carved out a friendship though.  It was through long marathon phone calls that we learned each other’s story.  We mutually provided much needed therapy, while exposing our hopes and dreams as almost strangers.  I could often hear the hard, cold ice clinking in his glass and long drags of his cigarette during our late-night confessions.  We would talk until the soft golden glow of dawn seeped into my kitchen window and the birds started chirping.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t falling in love.

We took it a step further and started dating, already knowing so much about each other.  The first date, I showed up with makeup, hair falling to my shoulders and a form fitting outfit.  He stopped in his tracks.  He always thought of me as the girl coming down the beach stairs with the cut off shorts and baseball cap, only that today I brought my “A” game. I suggested we go to Walden Pond.  The afternoon sun bounced off the pond, and the narrow dirt path wound along the water’s edge, opening up to spectacular views of the tree lined shore.  When I commented on how beautiful the trees were, all this Brooklyn boy said was, “I’ve seen a tree.”  OK. Then we came across Thoreau’s cabin in the woods.  I was impressed.  He said, “It’s a pile of rocks.”  Alright, it was a dusty scattered pile of gray rocks in a small pine knoll with a plaque next to it, which I thought made it look official.  You had to use your imagination.

Thankfully, the date got better from there, and I could feel myself falling deeper.  Something was shifting for me.  We continued dating over the next several months, seeing each other every chance we could.  However, it got weird for me because we weren’t exclusive, at least from his point.  I didn’t want to date anyone else.  He continued to have other relationships that I knew about, until I couldn’t take it any longer.  I finally got up the nerve to demand, “I can’t be one of many.  You have to choose them or me!” 

We were at the end of his driveway at dusk, after a long day on the lake, standing rigidly after the words fired from my mouth.  He slumped a little for a second, then shifted to the side.  I could tell this bothered him.  He had moved straight from his childhood home into a 24-year marriage, never exploring all of life’s possibilities.  He perceived lost time in his life that he wanted to explore, as he had said as much to me before. I didn’t want to be difficult, but for my own sake, I had to draw the line.  I’m usually an easy-going person, so it felt strange being in this stiff skin.  An awkward silence followed, as I could feel my eyes start to burn with tears.  I felt dizzy, and my mind raced.  I had some self-doubt.  Was I doing the right thing?  Am I going to lose him?  I silently wavered, momentarily wishing I could take it back, still half wanting to hear the answer. Then he looked down at his feet for a long moment and slowly looked up, staring directly into my teary eyes, and quietly said “OK” smiling as he reached out to hug me.

Twenty-five years later, we are still sparring and live together on this lake.  We are exclusive and happily in love.  We live in a cozy lake house at an inlet on the peninsula with our dog, surrounded by great friends and creating more warm memories.

Life Topics

Tripping

London 2017

Last Friday I gladly volunteered to accompany my almost 19 year old son Taki to the bus station, which would take him to the airport to catch a flight 4 hours later.   He wanted to drive his car, make his way with me in the passenger side.  He  pulled into the parking lot and parked the car.  I was surprised that he parked, assuming he would want to jump out of the car while it was still rolling as to avoid anyone witnessing him getting out of a car with his dear old Mom.  I imagined he would want to wait in the dark, cold, smoky tunnel shaped shelter on his own.  I asked, “ do you want me to wait until the bus comes?”  “Yes”. I silently coached myself –don’t blow it, be cool, be cool, don’t be that Mom “ Are you excited for your trip honey?  Oh my God, honey, really and what a dumb thing to ask AGAIN. Yes Mom (suspected eye roll).  He put on some music – loud – probably to avoid anymore mom questions.  He began telling me about this artist and how he will be going to their concert in Boston in a few weeks with his good friend Keiran.  I had a large proud lump in my chest but a smaller – harder-louder  lump in my throat.  I quickly said “cool” but the reel started to play in my mind- the show was called “things that can go wrong while traveling alone”  I told him again to be aware of his surroundings, drink plenty of water.  And it just started, a rapid fire of advice that I had already spewed upon him  over the past week.  I didn’t even take a breath.  He was looking at me with this gentle look on his face.  “Mom I know, I’ll be ok”  It’s not like this is his first trip.  He has been lucky enough to have traveled since he was a pre-teen.  Some trips on his own, some trips with me and some with his girlfriend.  He is a savvy traveler and a excellent travel companion.

The music was enjoyable, thumping and he sang along and then I spotted the bus, “It’s here.”    I stayed in the car and I watched him board.  Once he had made his way to his seat I pulled next to the bus shelter acting cool and collected, listening to my music turned up loud, thumping and singing full voice.   I  waited until the bus pulled out of the parking lot and onto the highway.  He was off and I felt some relief – knowing he had been looking forward to this trip.  I am  happy that he has found love and joy in his life.  He is off on his journey, not needing me anymore but still letting me see him off. I looked out of this fast food /gas station/bus station parking lot and remembered how many times I had been there myself.  Picking someone up or dropping someone off, thinkin of the times I was the driver and my mother was in the passenger seat seeing me off to follow my heart.  This  place of transition and journeys beginnings and endings right here next to Burger King.  

I, of course was crying at this point, unable to see out of the windshield, glasses useless – I wiped my eyes and looked at the rear view mirror – and dangling from them were his tiny pair of adidas.  I had given him his first pair of sneakers to hang in his car when he got his license.  These tiny things  that I can remember putting on him before trekking to the the bus stop in Portland – on our way to the zoo, the Children’s museum, to the park for a playdate,  to Pioneer square to chase pigeons.   I gave him a solid pair of shoes, comfortable and supportive.  I tied them up tight to make sure he would be safe and keep from tripping.  He still tripped – usually over a rock or a curb – or his own feet.  Sometimes I caught him but not always.  

Life Topics

Radio Silence

Back in the 80’s, I was trying to break into radio and worked at a small market station as an on-air talent while doing overnights for the AM station. I worked the midnight to 6am shift and I believe I even had one fan. His name was Don from Lawrence and he was an insomniac who stayed up all night listening to AM radio and drinking coffee; sometimes his wife would say hello from the background if she happened to wake up at 4 am in the morning. They were definitely an odd but harmless couple and since I was always alone in the building, at least there was someone who was listening and passed the time with his calls to the show.

I encouraged the station to hire my best friend from broadcasting school to cover the shift before mine, which aired the Casey Kasem weekly countdown. My friend Michelle was to be the board op person from 8pm to midnight every Saturday night right before my overnight shift.

We joked about the necessity of putting our time in a small market station north of Boston in order to break into radio and begin our lofty dreams of becoming almost famous. The station was in a seedy part of town, we were young, it was fun, and it was the eighties.

One weekend, Michelle begged me to cover her shift so she could go on a ski weekend. While I wasn’t looking forward to working straight through from 8pm to 6am, I reluctantly agreed to do this-once. At about 10:30pm, the buzzer rang from the downstairs door. I was the only person in the entire building on the top 4th floor with offices on the three floors below. I had total control of who entered the building to proceed to my floor since the other 3 floors had no access through the elevator. As I waited for the Casey Kasem feed to end, I answered the buzzer, only to hear our drivetime on-air personality named Joe Harvey at the door.

“Hey, its Joe Harvey, can you let me up?” My immediate response was, “Sure,” as my hand reached for the door release. Right at that moment with my finger on the button, something in my gut, that I cannot explain, whispered for me to stop and ask a question, “What are you doing here this late Joe?” “I forgot something, can you just let me in?” he seemed annoyed. And again, my finger went straight to the button on the wall to allow him in, and again something held me back.

“Joe, can you just humor me and walk out under the streetlight?” I laughed a little embarrassingly, “I just want to make sure….”

I ran to the 4th floor window, which I had the ability to slide open and looked out, fully expecting to see Joe Harvey walk out into the desolate street and appear under the street light just like I asked… but he never did. My eyes darted back to the front of the building directly below me and I could see a dark shadowy figure all dressed in black slowly walking away from the building.

Just to be sure I yelled, “Joe, are you there?” The only response I got was a very menacing reply that simply said, “Yoooo” in a deep male voice that actually sounded nothing like Joe Harvey after all. It scared me so much that I immediately ran into the studio and looked up Joe’s phone number to call his home. His mildly irritated wife informed me that they had been together all night and had just returned from a movie. My next call was to the police who promised to drive around the area for me but it still shook me to the core that I was so close to letting a strange man up into a dark unoccupied building while I was completely alone. Did he know there was a lone woman working and if so, how? Could it have been Don who I always thought harmless? So many thoughts.

After the weekend, I told my friend Michelle about the incident which took place on her shift and then a sickening realization came over both of us, when she screamed, “I would have let him in!! If I worked that night like I was supposed to, I definitely would have been intimidated, being the new employee, and I would not have questioned someone’s reason to possibly come back to retrieve something from work!!” I also believe she would have let that man in that night.

Was it a coincidence or something else as to why on that night she asked me to cover her shift and how could I explain that feeling that took over me to not open a door in a split second’s time. That was not the last time I probably escaped death but that is another story for another day. Always TRUST YOUR INTUITION!

Life Topics

And Then There Was Life

You think when you’re 21 that you will live forever.  Life seemed simple, as you did anything you wanted. If you gained a little weight, all you’d have to do is skip a meal or two and the pounds disappeared.  If you messed up, a simple sorry (not sorry) would be enough.  You were still considered “a kid.”    You went to work, did your job, and went out for the night, every night.  At that age, you knew everything, and weren’t afraid to act like it.  We thought people over forty were ancient, and our parents were relics, who knew absolutely nothing.  Smoking seemed harmless with merely an afterthought, no matter what anyone said about it.
And then there was drinking.

Nearly every time you saw your friends, which was most nights, you would be drinking. Being drunk was often a side-effect of the two ugly sister’s; anxiety and angst.  Parties were planned at the drop of a hat, if planned at all.  We wiped the slate clean using alcohol to erase anything ugly. We’d stop just in time to start a new day looking fabulous after 3 hours of sleep.  We never thought there was any harm in overindulgence, wishing the nights would last forever.  But the nights didn’t last forever.  The years passed quickly, and those nights of destruction paid a toll on all of us.  For some there were mild effects, enough to make you cut down or stop.  For others, there were more serious consequences; DUIs, family and career issues and at the worst, self-loathing.  Then, in a blink, we were fifty and alcohol-soaked relics.
And then there was the liver.

No one saw it coming, except those who really cared. They could see that he was poisoning himself, one sip at a time.  Long ago were the days of not caring.  He was loving, devoted and hard-working; a superhero, and everybody loved him.  He was an intelligent conversationalist, fun to be around, with a hilarious irreverent wit.  A glass of gin was his silent sidekick, full of confidence and ice.  We all drank with contempt, like we were going to war the next day. Alcohol consumed all of our free time, like in the early days.  I must have been in denial, ignoring signs.  Time and consequences could seem like a myth, stealing your breath away.  Until, finally his handsome complexion and brilliant eyes turned the shade of a lemon.
And then there was “the List.”

After a couple of hospitalizations, things were dire.  We had to face the prospect of death, although he never did.  “There’s nothing we can do” said the ICU doctor after he told me the kidneys were shutting down. The liver was struggling, and the doctor explained that liver patients can’t go on dialysis.   I wailed in front of the hospital elevator doors, a totally broken person.  The love of my life was going to die.  If my tears were prayers he would be well by now.  God, luck, whatever, helped him miraculously turn a corner that night.  Each day that followed was a little better than the last.  There were so many doctors and nurses caring for him, like he was their only patient.  So after 10 days of sleeping in a hospital chair, I started to have backaches and hope.  We were going home.

We packed up the few things that we grabbed in a frenzy on the way to the hospital.  I was full of anxiety, as we were starting a new kind of life.  Things were going to be different.  Countless doctor’s visits followed in the weeks after we left, and he was put on “the list.”  I kept telling myself that the list was a promise that nothing could take him away from me.  A lifeline made up of faith and belief he could one day be healed.  However, there was a catch, “He can never drink again” said the doctors, “or he will die.” 
And then there was life. 

Twelve years later, and he hasn’t had a drink.  This superhero, witty, intelligent, love of my life, relic is here to stay.

We are no longer broken people.

Life Topics

Thank you boys

Adam & Colin

Thank you boys for making me your mother.
There you were in my loving arms.

Thank you boys for teaching me that life’s plans are fleeting.
Ready for the party until someone was crying or had to go to the hospital.

Thank you boys for helping me appreciate time. Birthday party planning
and school trips.
The days were long and the years were short.

Thank you boys for showing me that I could be helpless
especially during the bedtime struggle when the night seemed endless.

Thank you boys for making me the mother I always hoped to be.
Making so many mistakes that you thankfully will never remember.

Thank you boys for your devoted love.  It is pure and sometimes undeserved.
I am only human.

Thank you boys.  You’re grown now, but you have taught me all I need to know.
My heart is full.

I will love you forever.

Life Topics

Breakfast for Dinner

Wikipedia defines Croque-monsieur as a hot ham and cheese (typically Emmental or Gruyère) grilled sandwich. It originated in France as a fast-food snack served in cafés and bars. More elaborate versions come coated in a Mornay or Béchamel sauce.

Why do I care about a fancy French sandwich definition? I really don’t, but it got me thinking…

I was at the seafood section of the grocery store the other day, and a mom said to her two young sons, “Dad’s making Breakfast-for-Dinner tonight.” I asked myself while scanning the price of scallops (13.99/lb!!!!!), “Is there anything better than having Breakfast-for-Dinner?” I love that there’s no planning involved, just grab a box of cereal or the frying pan. Quick and easy. And, I believe that every time a dad cooks Breakfast-for-Dinner an angel gets their wings.

Later that night, after a dinner of Tilapia ($4.99/lb), Jamie asked me if I liked Panini’s. We had just watched a commercial for some drippy obscene meat-filled grilled sandwich, commonly known today as a Panini.  It didn’t really appeal to me. After a minute of though, I said, “Yeah, I like Panini’s, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to have one”.

We both looked at each other and realized that grilled cheese IS the original Panini!  This sandwich of melting goodness reins at the top of my comfort food pyramid, right next to mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, an of course, anything prepared for Breakfast-for-Dinner.

Sandwiches, when I was growing up, were your basic bologna & cheese, peanut butter and jelley, cream cheese and jam. I don’t remember my parents every making grilled cheese, but I do remember when all options were exhausted, you could slap a couple of cellophane wrapped “cheese products” between bread in the skillet. The aroma that comes from the pan is almost as good as the taste. You can see the melting cheese ooze from between the bread, and know that in moments it’ll be ready, and in seconds it will be devoured. And, let’s not forget the role of butter in this equation. The taste is enhanced depending on how much butter you slather on the bread, and, well ……..forget about it!!!!

Yesterday morning we had friends over for breakfast, and had left over French toast. So, when it was time for dinner, Jamie put together a grilled cheese sandwich with French toast, cheese (from the deli, not cellophane) and prosciutto. I don’t think he’s ever heard of a Croquet-monsieur, but that is what he made. A gilled cheese on steroids, if you will.  His perfect storm of a Cheesy-Breakfast-For-Dinner-Panini was a mouthful of culinary comfort. Ooooh La La.

Clarence, are you there?

Life Topics

Putting Charlie to Rest

iStock_000058582528_LargeWe put Charlie to rest today.  It was a small funeral with a handful of family members and Mom and Dad.  His box of ashes sat in front of us as soldiers went through the honor ceremony.  We blessed ourselves through prayers while the wind lashed out at us.  My middle-aged graying cousins, who I hardly knew, stood with us as the grieving do, but there was no crying, no sorrow.  In fact, no one really knew Charlie.

Charlie was 88 years old when he died last week.  Dad found him when he went to check on him.  Charlie was a brother and an uncle, never a husband or a father, and he was barely that as he kept to himself, afraid of human contact.  Dad is the baby of the family, and at 80 years old himself, was Charlie’s main caretaker.  Anxiety ruled Charlie’s world.  He was a recluse because of his fear of people, and would only go out to doctor’s appointments.  Other than that, he would sit in his chair, in his apartment, in his building and reject the world outside.    He spent most of his life living with his other bachelor brother Chris, who also cared little to socialize.  But, at least Chris would be the life of the party when he did go out.  They bickered constantly.   Charlie was like an old cat lady, without cats, wearing tattered clothes and talking to himself.  Chris died a few years back, and Charlie was left alone, which was probably how he preferred it.

People didn’t visit Charlie, and he liked it that way.  He would occasionally call my Dad and always say, “hello this is Charlie from Wareham”, which my brothers and sister found amusing.  So, we never called him Uncle Charlie, we would always say, “so, how is Charlie from Wareham doing?”  We did see him more when he spent some time living with my parents.  He had his routines that drove my mother up a wall, but not my Dad.  He had a severe lack of hygiene, as well as being nearly deaf.  He would painfully try to engage us, but would never hear the answer and would refer to my sister and I as Ann or Joan.  Our names are Susan and Jo.  He would go back to drinking his tea once the ill-fated conversation was over.

When I spoke to my cousin’s before the funeral, there was a consistent theme.  While they all felt sorry that Charlie was gone, they each said, “I hardly knew him, but I’m here for your Dad.”  I guess that’s what funerals are all about, being there for the people who are most effected by the death.  Prepared or not, it’s got to hurt on some level.  My Dad has always been loyal to his family, even when they weren’t loyal back.  It didn’t matter to him.  Because having an open heart, enjoying people, having contact is the right way to be.  There will surely be a lot of tears at my father’s funeral, and everyone will have known him well.

So, why do we say the dead are at “rest”.    I think everyone needs rest from this crazy world, but the ones who really need the rest are blessing themselves in the wind and holding back the tears.

Rest easy Dad.

Life Topics

I Sigh

I sigh when things are done.  No more to do.  It’s over.

I sigh when things go wrong.  What can I do now?  Let me think.

I sigh when I’m happy.  So many possibilities.  Can it get any better?

I sigh when I’m completely frustrated.  Where do I turn?

I sigh with delight.  My love brings me to happy tears.  Laughter soon follows.

I sigh with the weight of the world.  So tired at the end of the day.

I sigh to feel my own breath.  To feel that I’m alive.

I sigh.

Life Topics

Have Dinner with Friends

d3

 

 

 

 

 

Have dinner with friends.
Their stories are your story.
Feel the air of contentment
when you listen with your
heart.

Sip from the cup of gratitude
knowing the connection is
real.  Get drunk on the
satisfaction that they have
your back.  Laugh until the tears
flow.

Toast to the simple day,
knowing that things can be
complicated.  Waste not
a moment for life is
sweet.

Hug them like you’ll never
see them again.  Honor them
like you will see them often.

Share a meal, and eat every
morsel of their life, their story,
for it is fleeting and
delicious.

Savor each course,  and each
conversation, knowing
their words are love…
knowing your relationship
will grow with each day.

Have dinner with friends.

Life Topics

What I Know

They say write about what you know.  I don’t know what I know.  I guess I can do laundry, fly an excel sheet, take care of a dog, raise two children, chew gum and walk, give up smoking, take up vaping, kill a bottle of wine, knit a sweater, take out the trash (if I have to), almost balance a check book, recite lines from a movie, walk like a chicken, sing badly, play solitaire, half read a book, edit video, send an email and attempt to “dress for success” (not usually done well).  Are any of these things worth writing about?

Instead, I sit at the keyboard trying to dream up an interesting topic.  Find one thing that makes you want to keep reading.  Are you still with me?  Good.  I’ll take baby steps to figure out where I’m going with this.  Kick around a few ideas.  Do you want to see me walk like a chicken?  Probably not.  Can I interest you in a spreadsheet demo?  No.  Maybe some dog tricks?  I’m at a loss, as I fidget and scratch my back with a pencil, wondering what to put on this blank screen.

Here I sit in the glow of the computer.  The 11 o’clock news is on in the background, with the dramatic music to make everything seem urgent.  The dog lies at my feet, breathing heavy, ready for bed.  My laundry basket sits in a dim corner of the bathroom, overflowing with a hint of yesterday’s odors.  I take deep drags from the vape blowing out stress and anxiety, thinking about what needs to be done tomorrow.  I know, I’ll make a list, YES a list!

Not like a “bucket list”, but much simpler.  You know, take notice of how I do things, and try not to do them anymore.  Live in the moment as they say.  Do all the usual stuff, but do it differently, better.  I will think of it as a “don’t” list.

Here goes:

  1. Wake up and don’t dread the morning.
  2. Take a shower and don’t curse your body in the mirror.
  3. Have breakfast, and don’t forget the medication.
  4. Go to mass and don’t fall asleep during the sermon.
  5. Say “I love you” and don’t just walk away, hold his eyes.
  6. Walk the dog and don’t forget the poop bag.
  7. Do the laundry and don’t leave a load in the dryer to pick thru all week.
  8. Call your parents and don’t cry when you hang up because they are so old.
  9. Text your sons just because and don’t forget the little hearts after you say ILY.
  10. Watch a documentary and don’t judge the hoarder, the family or the victim.
  11. Talk to the neighbor and don’t just give a small wave.
  12. Eat the ice cream and don’t feel guilty.
  13. Knit that sweater you’ve been working on for 2 years, and don’t get discouraged.
  14. Work on the computer and don’t lose track of precious time you could have with Jamie.
  15. Say your prayers and don’t leave anyone out.

My eyes are drooping so I have to go to bed now.  This life of mine, like most, is made up of small pieces that have made me the person I have become.  Sure, I can walk like a chicken and work a spreadsheet, but how can I be a better friend, daughter, Mom?  More important questions.  Will people think of me as negative if I feel guilty about the ice cream or too busy to talk to a neighbor, or have a bad body image?  Maybe they won’t even notice.

I finally know that I have to work my “list” in a positive, thoughtful way to make my journey one of love, generosity and faith.

“Time for bed McDermott.  Do you want a treat?”