Yesterday was my dear friends birthday. And in dear friend I mean my friend who is deep in my heart. I do not use this term lightly. The term dear. Truly, I don't. Because in the course of my life there have not been many that have become that to me.
These friends are rare. For me they are almost unheard of. For most of my life the feeling of intimacy happens so quickly and yet we are still just on the surface and so the feeling of deep connection is really a veil. Because I have often been the master of the intimate acquaintance, connecting on a level that is just below that new banter that happens when you first meet someone right away and it is only on those rare occasions that I would descend to that authentic place where my heart is open. It is a gift that I can dip just below the surface, because the world is always friendly and welcomes me in. But it is a curse, because in doing so I am treading water rather than taking those deep, clean breaths and plunging into the cool relief of true friendship.
But I have learned to jump, with barely a splash so quietly do I enter the water, and connect with others. And so it is with my birthday friend and another. Three of us. Our friendship is forged over months of angst and introspection. Laughter and joy. We walk each other through the challenges and accomplishments of the every day and the extraordinary. And whether we are watching a full moon rising or sharing a quick coffee, whether we speak often or weeks go by filled with that which harnesses our focus in other directions, our friendship runs deep. Unconditional. Constant.
And with this sweet friendship comes the possibility of more. For as I have learned to open my heart and trust that the vulnerability I often fear is not an enemy but merely a reminder of the connections that are waiting for me, I am able to welcome new voices into the chorus that are my friends.
There is a warmth within my heart that reminds me I am blessed.
And so this phrase - dear friend - it is full. It has life. It has a pulse. Take a minute and feel it and in the feeing of it, feel those people in your life that are dear to you in that way that runs deep in the rhythm of your heart and in the beat of your pulse.
So I wake up this morning, as I have done the last few Mondays, and my first thought is oh shit, I forgot to post my Sunday night writing. Then I got all guilty feeling and started to worry that you'all will stop reading - because consistency is key when writing a blog. But then this morning, as I was walking with my most beautiful and smart and amazing and still very much a puppy Doberman, I had this epiphany.
And so now my Sunday night writing is a Monday morning writing.
When I first started writing this blog life was calm. And quiet. And uneventful. My days rolled on, one after the other in that peaceful way that allows for rest and reflection. And most wonderfully, a time to myself. And my writing grew out of that. A way to put into words the thoughts that grew in my heart. And share them so to connect with others, too.
And then my kids came home. A most incredible thing. All three of my adult children plus a daughter to be. And my quiet and calm life became not so calm and quiet. Which fills my heart as it fills my house. And the days are now about navigating six adults in one home plus that amazing still a puppy Doberman. And so Sunday nights are no longer that end of the weekend time to sit on the couch and give thanks for the day and the week and my life.
It's now a time to catch up and exchange stories and laugh and love. Which means it's not time to write. And that's ok. Because that is what life is about. Bending and mending with the way the path takes you. And so, whereas my path, once softly lit and quiet, is now a concert of six voices (and a bark or two).
What is so important, that I think is easy to forget, is that our plans are often supposed to change. And that the true test of success is not that we necessarily do exactly as we say, accomplish everything we set out to do, achieve all our goals. No. The true test of success is that we adapt to our surroundings, recognize opportunities, change directions and embrace what is happening right now.
And what that is for me is the gift of my children. On Sunday nights. And every other day.
The inspiration for this post is that yesterday we went to the Ojai wine festival. And drank a lot. Many different and wonderfully delicious tastes of wine that add up quickly to become a few glasses of wine. And then one or two cups of beer and soon some mixed drinks with names like Lavender … something or other.
And we met some really great people. And ate some really yummy food. And heard some really great music. Outside in the sunshine in a beautiful place. Together.
And part of why it was so fun for me is that I just love to drink. I really do. I love the taste, whether a red wine - Malbec is my wine of choice these days, or a dark and rich and cold beer, or a yummy margarita or a shot of tequila. I love the taste and I love the way it makes me feel. The rhythm and sway of it. The blurred edges and easy humor.
Now, this is not to say that I cannot have fun without it. I can. I am not an everyday drinking kind of girl. Or an every week one either. But when I do partake I embrace it fully. And enjoy it immensely.
But I hesitated when I began this post, to say this. Because it opens me up to judgment. In a way that does not feel good. But whether drinking or drugs or sex or how we raise our kids or nurture our marriages or live our lives, there is always someone out there who is quick to share their opinions in a way that leaves no doubt that they don't agree with ours.
And so we brace ourselves for this. And we clothe our statements with justifiers. I did it here. In the same paragraph where I say how much I love to drink I also say that I don't do it a lot. In anticipation of what others might think. And say. We all do this. Preface our thoughts and feelings with words of apology or explanation.
And we do this because we are afraid.
We are fed fear in everything we see and hear. The news shares stories that manipulate us, the advertisers share products that will fix us. And so we worry and question and doubt ourselves and each other. And then we are quick to judge. Perhaps because we see ourselves in each other. Perhaps because we worry that if we align ourselves, we will also be seen in a way that will illicit judgement from others.
It's complicated. And really sad. And I don't really have an answer for it in a global sense. So I strive, every day, not to lay my own opinions on someone else in a way that could possibly make them feel badly. And I strive, every day, to speak my truth and not to be ashamed if its not a popular one.
Which brings me back to drinking.
A few weeks ago my husband and son and I made margaritas. Yes, my son is over 21 - don't judge. So we made these amazing margaritas. Using cheap ass frozen limeaid and some ice and a heavy hand of tequila and triple-sec and Grand Marnier. Now, to give credit where credit is due, this is my dad's recipe. Which he lovingly pass down to me, his daughter. Though I do believe he used a measuring cup. And we added blood red oranges from our tree.
And we had the best time.
So my daughter is flying home from Boston this morning. Back to Ojai, via LAX. I do have to take a moment just to point out that the renovations happening at LAX, I swear to God that these were the same renovations that were happening back in 1976 when I first moved to LA for three years and got off the plane and heard the please excuse our appearance while we make Los Angeles International Airport a state of the art facility. The recording is the same, as is the renovations. As is the traffic. But I digress.
My daughter is flying into LAX from Boston after spending a week back east visiting her friends. She calls me at 2:00 in the morning, west coast time. She has no money in her account and is at the American Airlines ticket counter in Boston and she can’t pay for her checked bag.
She had reminded me of this earlier. As in a few hours earlier. As in earlier enough that I had the time to go on line and get money in her account so that she could pay for her bag. I said I’d do it. Then forgot. That wise woman, no longer maiden nor mother, but crone… she has no memory at all!
So now it is 2:00 west coast time and Faith is at the airport. At 5:00 east coast time. And she can’t pay for her bag. And so while I am now up and on line signing into my bank so that I can transfer money into her account because I forgot to do it earlier, she is sitting on the floor of Logan International Airport wondering just how she is going to get her bag checked.
And this awesome angel of a woman comes over to her and says where are you going?
LA my daughter replies.
How much for the bag she asks.
And when Faith answers that the cost is $25, this lovely woman gives Faith the money and says if you were my daughter I'd want someone to help you.
Feeling Blessed is what my daughter wrote as her Facebook status.
This is lovely. And necessary. But we don’t think that it is. We think that we are all separate. That we are not really responsible for each other. That someone else’s daughter or son is not our responsibility. It takes a village is a catchy phrase that we throw around but don’t really aspire to. And so usually we turn our heads and hold our purses close.
And this is so wrong.
What we should be doing is just what this lovely woman did. Mother my daughter because I was not there to do it myself. Just as I have mothered so many of my children’s friends as well as countless people that I have run into as I’ve made my way through life. Mother and nurture and care for.
For, you see, mothering is nurturing. And it’s not just a mother/daughter, mother/son thing. It’s a humanity thing. It is a reaching out to each other thing. It is a buying the person in front of you a cup of coffee if they are short change on an early winter morning. It is paying for someone’s full tank of gas even if they are only asking for a few bucks. It is sharing your leftovers and leaving room in your heart to let others in. It is being kind. And being aware. It is seeing clearly. Not turning your back and thinking that it has nothing to do with you.
This woman got it right. If you were my daughter I'd want someone to help you.
Someone will. I promise.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.