C. Raymond Beran
Happy 17th Birthday Garrett Pierce. I love you
The Cowboy went out of town this morning on business. Before he left we sat for a few minutes, drinking coffee and talking of our day and our life and what the next few weeks will look like. Just regular stuff that grown-ups talk about, then he was off with coffee in hand and a promise to text when he got to his destination. I walked through the quiet house to the shower, to find the letters M&R, TLA like we wrote it in high school with the letters overlapping, surrounded by a heart, written on my shower wall in bright red lipstick. I smiled to myself as I shampooed my hair. As I stepped to the mirror more words were written in lipstick, a reminder he’d be home soon. And finally the Ipad, as I sat to finish my coffee, had a note written on its opening page, reminding me I’m loved and promising a quick return and a fun weekend.
I drove to work feeling treasured and wondering how soon he’d find the notes I tucked into his computer and work bags and travel kit. Confirming again that even the small things are never small after all.
Good Friends, Good Food, Good Chatter and Good Drinks. That sums up a very nice evening with four very good friends. Two we see often, two we hadn’t seen in a while, yet the conversation picked right up with everyone sharing stories and life and plans and dreams. And as I look back on it I realize we didn’t talk once of other people. Not the kind of chatter where you tell story or gossip or chatter about someone not there. All our talk was of plans and dreams and kids and ideas for growth and betterment. And today I am grateful for good friends who let our friendship be about all of us. I am better for knowing all of them and I’m looking forward to many more evenings like the one last night.
The Cowboy and I have decided to read together; a relationship study of short, easy-to-read little three page reminders really. I think most couples probably do these types of studies when they think things are coming off the tracks a little, but we decided to do one together with the goal of keeping things on track and with the hope that it would provide lots of fodder for deep conversation.
The last one we read was about assuming goodwill and it did what we’d hoped by providing a launch for a great conversation. We spent a fair amount of time discussing the concept and how easy it can be to let ones brain start the negative self talk about others. The stuff we let ourselves listen to inside our own heads about intentions and purposed antagonism. Maybe its age or maybe it’s not having done it as well as I could have in the past, or maybe when you’re loved very well it can be easier to not let it start, but it was good reminder to my heart and my soul. When I love someone, whether it’s my kids, my lover or my friends, I want to assume goodwill. Honestly, what can it hurt? If we think negatively it too is an assumption, right? So if we’re going to make assumptions, why not assume the best of those we love? Because I will bet that those we say we care about most will live up to our assumptions……either way. 😉
“This may or may not be a yes or no”
This was the phrase I overhead as I walked next to a fellow student as he finished up a conversation on his cell phone. That was three days ago and for some reason I can’t get that phrase out of my head. My first thought was….”What does that even mean?” Followed shortly by, “I wonder if the person on the other end of the line has any idea what that means?”
Since then I’ve been thinking a lot about communication and how we do it. We have Facebook and text messages, Instagram and Twitter and IM’s and phone messages. And on a very rare occasion we get a phone call like the one I got today from my wonderful, almost 17 year old son on his lunch break from school. He called to tell me about a new song he thought I’d like and how the bass in it is amazing and that I shouldn’t get freaked out over the title ‘cause it was a very cool song regardless’. Then he told me the music video was weird but he was very sure I would love the song! And then….he was gone. On his way to be a kid again at school, hanging with his friends and talking about things 17 year old boys talk about and mom’s should never know about. But he called me. His mom. In the middle of his day.
On occasion I listen to kids talk and think…”what does that even mean?” But one amazing, put together, level headed young man called me today to share a small part of his day with his mom. And I understand that loud and clear! Thanks Son. You made this Mom’s day! And you were right…I Love the song!
A nice weekend on so many levels; sun and work, accomplishment and love. We worked hard, the Cowboy and I. Yard work mostly, but some school work and some house work too. Lawns and sod and dirt, bulbs, a fire pit and dug up planters. And playful, sexy banter. We teased and flirted, stopped mid-shovel to kiss with dirty faces and give a quick swat accompanied by a naughty grin and a sly smirk.
Mix in dinner with family, martinis at our favorite place, kids over to just chat, two of the three final episodes of Breaking Bad and the knowledge that we are living life to its maximum. We fell asleep last night, wrapped tightly in each other’s arms, sore, slightly sunburned, exhausted and feeling very loved. I’d say that….was a very good weekend.
He crawled to the side, looked back over his shoulder, faced forward again, reached out and grabbed two spindles, and ever so slowly…..pulled himself up. And there he stood…..out of breath, grinning ear to ear and half giggling at his accomplishment. So, so proud of himself. Not only did he stand last night, he had his first dinner time meal in over a year that was not given to him through a feeding tube. His eyes lit up as he took the first bites of his meal. He looked at both his mom and I with questions about the flavor and that he was eating alone. A small and triumphant smile emerged as if he knew things were going to be different now.
Our little Man turned 2 in January, and although we had high hopes that this week he would reach 20 pounds, we are still waiting and that mile stone has now become the new and prayed for goal. What we are not waiting for though is the spirit of a fighter to emerge; he has had that since before he was born. And last night we clapped and cried, and smiled so hard it hurt but we didn’t look away because that was yesterdays miracle …and He is our miracle every day.
I love the Buddhist teaching that says something to the effect that you have no right to speak into someone else’s life unless they invite you to do so. I think of it often when I hear about people making demands on others, or when I read about people needing to ‘voice their opinion’ to someone about something they have not been extended an invitation to speak about.
It is human nature to want others to believe what we do. It makes us somehow more ‘right’ when we have a posse backing us. But… why do we need to tell others how to live their lives? They are the ones ultimately responsible for their decisions. They are the ones who will either reap the rewards or pay the price for those choices.
I’m not talking about a friend who comes and asks a question or wonders about your beliefs in an open and easy forum. I’m talking about the one who writes you a letter to tell you you’re living wrong. Or the friend who has to make sure you know they don’t approve of your lifestyle. Who are any of us to tell someone else how to live?
I have a lot of friends and it would be foolish to think we all believe and live the same way. And… I LOVE that. How much more rich my life is for those who I don’t see eye to eye with. How much more robust and intriguing to learn from those who think differently than me.
All I know to say is….please…. Before you decide someone else needs to adjust their life so it looks more like yours ask this question, did they ask your opinion? If not….maybe it’d be better just to be glad you get to know them. And I would submit there is a very good possibility they have a view you’ve never even considered. And that idea…..may end up making Your life better!
I was invited on an outing today by two of the most amazing people I know. Yep, a day of shopping with my gorgeous daughters and although I birthed them and that I am sure makes me biased, I know no other more beautiful women on the planet than these two ‘girls’. At the ages of soon to be 27 and 24 they are hardly girls anymore but somehow even as we tried on grown up shoes, bantered over red lipstick and passed each other clothes through dressing room doors, I couldn’t help but remember them as two high-spirited and often times rambunctious little girls. I remembered them splashing in pools and laughing in bathtubs. Sharing macaroni and cheese while watching princess movies for the 100th time, signing every song by heart and holding hands as they waited outside school to be picked up. They have always been the best of friends.
Now gorgeous and mature women, we laugh and joke with each other like school girls. We share smoothies and ideas of fashion, willingly saying NO and rolling our eyes at the bad outfits we try on that looked oh so fun on the hanger or the not so perfect shade of lip-gloss. We take turns pushing an overflowing stroller, more with packages than sweet baby Titus, and when there are too many bags, we pass him between us so we have more room for treasures.
There were no great mysteries solved today. No perfect outfits purchased for an upcoming event or night on the town. There was no item taken home that would signify the day or adhere the memory tighter in our minds. But there was laughter and love and time and girl talk. There was tea and chatter, stories and shared plans. There were items left on hangers and there were items placed in bags, but mostly, there was love and friendship and dreams. I am a lucky lady and an even luckier Mom that I get to call these beautiful women my children. Because, those two little girls were my daughters by chance but these two amazing women have become my two best girlfriends by choice. And I am by far the luckiest one of all.
We had talked throughout the day of what the evening would look like. I had 100 pages to read before the night could wrap up and he had a paper he had to have outlined. It had been a full day and would be a full evening as well.
As I drove the 35 minutes home it washed over me and I hoped we could find a few minutes of just us time. I walked through the door and made the suggestion. It was 4:45pm. At 7:15 I realized I better start dinner. We had sat on our leather couches for 2 ½ hours sharing our day, our thoughts, our hearts. We talked of our kids, our plans for the summer, the sermon we heard on Sunday, our upcoming trip to Maine and a thousand other little things that would have been forgotten by morning. We shared life and heart and us.
No homework was done at all and yes we are now slightly behind the power curve. He got up at 4:00am to make up for lost time and I will add a few hours to my evening tonight. And….. it was totally worth it.
The old me would have made a plan and stuck to it regardless of the cost. I really like the new me and the life we sometimes live outside the P.L.A.N.