Tuesday, December 24, 2013

On Why I Decorate

It's Christmas Eve. I've got sweets finishing in the oven and my daughter is working with great intention on tonight's mashed potatoes. Nat croons faintly from the radio pressed against the cold window.

It snowed a bit this morning and the promise of more is set to complete at right about midnight. For now, just enough winks at the corners of each pane to storybook the setting.

My godson may be asleep by the time this posts. I hope he is. He's had a hard day. Many in a row, I'd say. He's lost inside himself, flashing smiles and blurting hugs when he can burst through. But mostly he is crying, out at the world, inwardly to an unrewarding audience.

On our way to see him today, we saw Shane. Calm on the icy concrete of a downtown hustle, an apple at his lips. His curt cardboard gave notice: My name is Shane. Homeless. Appreciate any help. Thanx. Happy Holidays. And then we had to move along, the pressure of traffic behind us insisting.

And my mom keeps the faith. I talked to her, feeling the wear in her voice, wanting to be the comfort of soft cotton and warm blankets, knowing I am not the peace she needs but I am all she has. She is doing the best she can.

We all are, aren't we? We muddle through the dull of life, sometimes crossing, false, catching our breath on sharp pain or delivering disappointment - unwittingly or otherwise. But moving, moving, on and on as the days go by.

My husband asked me the other day why I bother decorating for the holidays. I think he was reflecting on the spiritual meaning of the holiday and wondering aloud whether we, too, were giving way to the cheap and callous.

No. I am not.

Today, I caught that homeless man's eye and I smiled at him, broadly and really. It was all I had to give in the moment and I think he knew it and he smiled, softly, back.

I kissed my godson - when he was ready - and whispered my words of love to him. I'll believe that he heard me and understood.

Some days are for beauty and sweetness and love and filling all the hours you can, however you see fit, with the spirit of giving pleasure and peace to others. That is why I decorate. That is the example of the day. Maybe there are only moments of respite, a table set with care
or a bauble hanging cheerfully. Dwell there. He is there. And be glad for it.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I'm Thinking of Losing My Mind

A little advice for my honorary niece on the subject of losing one's mind:

I don't mind telling you, it might not be such a bad thing. You wouldn't have anything on your mind, Georgia or otherwise. That'd free up some space. You couldn't possibly mind anything, even if you wanted to. You'd never be at risk of losing your mind again because, once lost, no one ever tries to find their mind, right? No one would ask you to mind their children. Really, you'd be absolved of all responsibility and accountability as you'd be well within your rights to claim being out of your mind in the event you did something that bothered someone. You couldn't do anything that required mind over matter so dieting, exercising and any other strenuous self-improvement initiatives could be tossed out the window.You'd have no frame of mind to color your decisions and you could skip every single meeting of minds. I'm so tired of meetings anyway. Whatever loads you had on your mind would be permanently off, you would never again have to bear anything in mind and you could not have your mind blown which, frankly, sounds awfully painful. No one could win your heart and your mind. You'd never again have to make up your mind, mind your own business, or wrap your mind around anything, and you'd be permanently un-boggled! Why bother trying to put your mind at ease when you have no mind? Don't tell me to never mind, I never do! Hah! It's possible you could benefit from half a mind but, honestly, if you were in your right mind you'd realize you don't need your mind at all! It's clear there an awful lot of people in positions of power who long ago learned this truth. In fact, I'm sure you know somewhere in the back of your mind that I'm right. The solution to all problems is to simply lose your mind!

I also think you should stop eating your socks, but let's work on one thing at a time.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's In His Kiss

I was early. He was late. (Things haven't changed much in the past twenty years.) It was our first date. We were meeting at a theater. I walked over to him and as soon as he saw me, a smile spread across his face. I smiled too. I went to say hello and he pulled me toward him and planted one on me full on! Not a timid, just-met-her, first-kiss kind of kiss. A 1940s, just-back-from-a-tour, "hello doll!" kind of kiss. And I was so surprised I opened my mouth in shock! Which left a sort of impression I had not intended for the first few seconds of the first date with this guy I barely knew. He was still grinning when we pulled apart.

I always tell this as part of a long, windy explanation of how Tony and I began our courtship. It makes for a funny cocktail party story (at one point he has to break into his own car) and, of course, it ends well so Tony's learned not to take offense at all the jabs.

What I don't often include is the detail about the kiss. I won't here either, except to say it was damn convincing.

I had no idea on that day that guy would completely change my life. He seemed like a regular guy, kind of a goofy guy, to be honest. But  in his very simplicity he is extraordinary. He's so strong and solid and faithful. And he's smart - way smarter than you think - and funny and loving and true. He's fallen down a few times but you simply cannot keep him down. He's a family man and a good friend and a hard worker.

He's getting older - creeping into those early 40s now. (I'm not, but he is.) And he's wearing down in some spots. I think it bugs him, but to me it just means he's got some living behind him. 'Nothing wrong with an experienced man,' my grandmother would say, with a wry. I agree.

It's been quite a ride so far, and I'm happy to be the gal who gets to celebrate every birthday with him. I'm glad every day I was smart enough to marry that guy with the nerve to kiss me in the first five seconds of our first date because... well... a million reasons; I can't even say, exactly.

But, I can tell you it's in his kiss.