Friday, October 30, 2009

Because You Just Don't Know

There is a reason I sometimes announce to Aidan, "Let's have icecream before dinner!" as though I am a babysitter trying to get him to like me, instead of his mother. After work it is not uncommon for me to park by the autumnal splendor of Centennial Park, where the ground has been painted various shades of harvest, take my little boy's soft, young hand in mine and skip down the sidewalk. Sometimes my mom gets a copper tin filled with sunflowers and daises and a note that reads, "you're the best grandma ever" while at work. Aidan charms me by asking for an extra penny at Meijer, so he can find a new friend to gift with a horsey ride.

Reason being: We love life. There are no guarantees.

I am the kind of blunt, spontaneous, do-not-care-if-I-look-like-an-idiot person that does and says things with little to no regard for if I look or sound ridiculous. Like, high-fiving my date saying, "Duuuude! We totally avoided first date awkwardness!" Or dancing, in absurd fashion on my birthday, to amuse my friends. I am not bothered in the least by potentially being thought silly because of my overly exuberant demeanor. On one spontaneous, snowy day last year, I sent a card to a longtime Via customer who was getting divorced at the same time as me. The card sparked a beautiful, soulful friendship and we now see each other at least once a month. We went out for a bottle of wine and appetizers last night. Settling in to a much-needed chat session and the kind of laughter where I unconsciously slap my knee, throw my head back and squeeze my friend's arm in delight that we can share this, two things happened.

1.) Another restaurant patron picked up our entire tab on their way out. I won't go into the details, other than to say it was completely unexpected and we were both touched to the point of blinking back tears.

2.) We got chatty with a group of three women sitting kiddie corner from us. Being our typical goofy selves, we asked what they were drinking and engaged in playful banter about how female camaraderie is bliss. It is, to me, that light your soul on fire kind of getting flowers, listening to live music, getting a genuine bear hug and sipping on a glass of exquisite Cabernet while nibbling dark chocolate ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Over the course of the evening we shared a little more talk and then I announced, loudly, that they MUST get the chocolate lava cake with gelato and three spoons. A warm bite of chocolate gooeyness cut with silky smooth gelato is hard to beat as the most preferable manner in which to wrap up a meal.

Our server called me rather quickly after our departure.

Evidently one of the three ladies at the other table has cancer and, according to her doctors, does not have very long to live. They had "a wonderful, fun time chatting with the ladies at the table nearby."


There are no guarantees. My earlier bitching about raking leaves has been replaced with a gratefulness for the fact that I am completely able-bodied and can gather the blanket in the backyard into piles and drag it to the curb. When my kiddo wants to read that 68-page bedtime story I always try to avoid, I will say yes. I owe some stranger dinner, because, that. is. just. fun.

I believe. I believe in humanity, in extra hugs, in putting myself out there with the simple hope of making someone else's world a little more enjoyable. I believe in surprises, in grinning at people I don't know, in my-eyes-are-too-wide-and-my-nose-is-all-crinkled-up-smiling-too-big excitement when good things happen to my friends. I believe in laughter and contagious enthusiasm. When Aidan chases down his friends for a hug before we end a play date I'm all, "Yep! That's my kid!"

I KNOW that a kind word, an open heart and a warm embrace have the power to change...everything. And I know that I better make this day good, because I don't know how many more I've got.



  1. Thanks for the reminder! I needed it.

  2. I concur (with your last sentence). Here, here! Thanks for wandering over to mine. Pamela

  3. i'm so proud you're my sister! love you!

  4. My favorite blog so far. Beautiful.

  5. "Yep, that's my kid!" My kid (Aidan as well) makes me say that almost daily. He's very nearly two and he's always surprising me with something I didn't know he knew already. Excellent post. :)

  6. I found your blog through the Dooce community, and I just wanted to say hi and that I'm reading :)