See past the bathrobe

There is a woman who walks with her two sons to the bus stop every morning.  She wears a faded, puffy pink bathrobe and carries a mug of hot liquid.  She has the kind of walk that makes you think she’s got attitude, like she doesn’t give a shit what you think of her; she’s comfy and that’s all that matters.  The first few times, my internal eyebrow shot up and I thought she was ‘one of those women’ that blabbered to all and sundry about achievements and what she’d been up to and generally just being nosy.  I judged her, I admit it.  Because I’m the opposite.  I would never been seen outside in my bathrobe.  Perhaps if I lived in England still, I might be seen opening the front door to retrieve a pint of milk on the doorstep before sliding inside with a panoramic glance to see who might be watching.  I am not that visually comfy sort of person.  And because this woman was so different, I turned my nose up and away.

It nagged at me, my reaction to her; she kept invading my thoughts.  This morning, as I bent over to dry my hair, I brought it forward like a subject to his master and decided to consciously process my reaction to her presence in order to find the love instead of perpetuating the cycle of mental sneering.

Today, I waited with my kids and she sauntered toward the bus stop, sans hot liquid but still fully swathed in the bathrobe.  And, today we had a conversation.  It began with the flyers for the lost kitty stuck on all the lampposts then moved to the roofers who had come to fix and repair all around the community, and finally ended with her asking how my weekend was, very sincerely. We commiserated over the never ending loop of laundry, soccer practice and matches, housework and food prep.  She explained the circumstances that allow her an hour of freedom every morning after the kids get on the bus and before she has to go to work.  I bonded with the fact that I have the same hour after work but before the kids get off the bus.

She is a genuinely nice woman.  Chatty, open, warm and welcoming.  Not the sauntering, know-it-all, community gossip I had pegged her for.  Well, maybe she is, I don’t know her that well but in taking the first step to blowing up preconceptions, I am closer to being happy in myself.  And I am loving that.  So much.

However, this does not mean that I shall be walking my kids to or from the bus stop in any kind of clothing that should be worn prior to or after bedtime and shower.  Just so you know.

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all the small things

There are changes afoot in my life. Everyone has them. Mine are probably no different from yours. My husband starts a new job this week, the better of the two that he was offered but it’s not the one that called to his heart, it is the one that will bring home money and afford him time with his family. The decision had the familiar feel of being choiceless. Something we’ve experienced many times over the past seven years in our effort to find a way forward, like the strong undertow in a river; we have been swept this way and that without any control. Lately, we have had conversations about moving back to Virginia, specifically Charlottesville. It’s a place where our hearts feel they belong, where it truly feels like home. We’ve been away so long though and suffered much in that time that we fear we are idealizing it, creating beauty out of the commonplace. It cannot be denied (for us) though that we love it there. My gut says go and I’ve learned to trust my gut. His gut is like a frantic child, unsure of what it wants, feeling this and that, which leaves him confused about what to believe in. I give it up to source, I am able for the most part to let it be. This is how I feel and I believe that this is what I want. We will be happier there which can only be beneficial for our family. Of course, I think of the kids and how they’ll cope but I think they’ll enjoy it too, in the long run. My parents live there and they are getting older. My Mum is a paraplegic, my Dad her only caregiver and I want to help.

Anyway, lots of changes I imagine coming up in the next few years. In the meantime, I am reading but cannot seem to stick to one particular book; I want to read them all. On the heels of The Assassin piece I wrote for the Creative Writing Challenge, I have almost completed my first short story. I’m excited by the fulfillment of that but also critical of its content. It it just like so many others? Does it feel childlike or is that just my perception? Aaahhh!!

I am continuing to read “Living With Your Heart Wide Open” and practicing Mindfulness daily. It’s really an easy thing to do, even during the most mundane of things like cooking, washing up, cleaning up cat poo, flossing my kids’ teeth…I am aware that I’m not in the present and by being aware of that, I can bring myself back to mindfulness. I love that.

I wanted this entry to be light and lovely so here are some things that make me smile:

1. I smile and wave to the guy at the bus stop on the way to school in the morning. I noticed that he did this first a few weeks ago. Sometimes it’s freezing out there but he stands there with his ear muffs on and little red lunch bag and he smiles and raises his hands to passing drivers. An action like that deserves to be acknowledged and I do so every morning that I see him. We both smile. He gets it, I think.

2. It’s corny but I love the way the sun’s rays power through morning clouds, like shiny ladders to earth.

3. My skinny kitty curls up on my right shoulder when I’m reading in bed at night. She stretches out her right paw and gently pats my face, tilts hers toward me, pleading with her big, round eyes so that I can’t help but stop reading and spend a moment loving her.

4. Connecting with strangers and making them laugh. I do it a lot. At the grocery store mainly.

5. I’ve discovered a radio station that plays a lot of 70’s music. I do like 70’s music. Disco. Yep.

6. Hugging trees, big and small.

7. Walking in my heeled boots.

8. Incorporating into my ‘going to sleep’ routine, ten things that I’m grateful for that day.

9. Understanding how to let things be. When it happens, it’s amazing.

10. Being in the story that I’m writing.

11. When my kids come to me for hugs.

12. Watching The Amazing Race with my husband. Also, moving my feet in time to the theme tune and finishing it with a flourish of raised hands.

13. My good, good friends who will always give me honest feedback and advice.

14. Hiking in nature.

15. No matter what I’ve experienced, what I’m working through, however unpleasant or joyful it is to do, I’m solid and sound and grateful and blessed.

Lisa…