I’m not sure when it began exactly, but I remember our ritual beginning when my little girl was still a babe in arms. I would hold her in my arms while I opened the drapes in the family room and sang a made up song,Good morning house, time to start the day! Good morning house, time to run and play!
As a wee babe, my little girl would smile and laugh, kick her little legs out while I sang as we opened up each room. First we began in her bedroom, then the family and living rooms, last we would open up my bedroom where we would end our tour of the home in the rocking chair. The spontaneity of our daily routine has made it even more precious to me, more than the planned traditions of certain holidays or birthdays. I treasure these too, but it is different when there is a sudden burst of ritual — like a falling star that signals the start of a new creation.
Even now, three years later we open the house with “Good morning house, time to start the day!” along with giggles and hugs, running from drape to drape. “Good morning house, time to run and play!” and she’ll clap her hands, hopping from one foot to another, asking me “Where are we going today, Mama?” We’ve opened the house through sunshine, rain and snow, countless days and the song remains the same.
Strangely, we’ve never come up with a “Good night house” version. It might be because by the end of the day my brain is too tired to think up new songs after a whole day of creating new songs. As we go around and close the house up each day, though, I think the true reason is because we know our house is never truly closed. It’s always open to us and to the excitement we have for life. Which might explain why my sweet girl is constantly running and playing. I wish I had thought of that before.
This might not be the most profound of all rituals. I happen to actually have profound thoughts on how I do my laundry and sweep my floors; I have certain habits I continue only because of who taught me the skill in the first place makes them important to me. I might write about these things another time. At the moment though, I have a little girl jumping on the couch and we need to close up the house. And I need to consider a Good Night House song.
I’ve been hung up on moving forward with Reverb ever since this particular prompt popped up in my email. I appreciate the spirit in which these types of “things” are given, the sort of inspiration they are supposed to light, but… well, I find them a bit too Oprah with a pinch of Hallmark. They’re just not me.
I was caught in the crosshairs of a Reverb dilemma — Fulfill the whole Reverb quest of authenticating myself and write the prompt, layering on the warmth and fuzziness and mushy-gushy love I could probably find deep inside of myself if I authenticated hard enough? Or just toss of a fluff piece, filled with Redi-whip delight, fake airy sugar that dots all the i’s with hearts.
Eh, no thanks.
I don’t write like this. I don’t write forced emotions and I’m not Redi-whip. Why on earth would I ever write a letter to myself forgiving myself? That makes no sense to me. That’s why I keep a journal — to record not only my life’s events, my responses to them, how I’ve grown from them and what I still need to work on. I’m terrible at checking the mail that the real post office delivers me. I can’t even imagine what it would be like if I wrote something to myself.
I get itchy with these types of questions, not because I am ungrateful or I am ungiving, but because I feel uncomfortable with feeling on the spot. I feel as if it is suddenly my turn with the candle and it’s time for me to list all that ways I have given to others, all my charitable achievements in the last year, and then light the candle of the person next to me.
That’s when the itching begins. My old self-consciousness seems to take over and I just want to keep such things to myself. I’m perfectly content letting everyone think I’m the neighborhood curmudgeon while I make dinner for other people, thank you very much. My heart is almost too full for generosity — I have found myself in so many pickles due to quietly paying for other people’s bills that I haven’t been able to pay my own this year — but I also believe that these things don’t matter. What matters most is that I have been given much and because of this, I feel I must give much more.
Therefore, I will hijack this writing prompt for my own selfish purposes.
I taught an incredible young lady many years ago, Makinsie, who completed her first Ironman in 2014 at only 21 years old. Instead of stopping at one Ironman and, in fact, her one goal of one Ironman, Makinsie has decided to do it once more. This time, she will be completing the Ironman 2015 in Arizona. I am so proud of this amazing woman who not only is continuing in her goals but is now doing it to help over 20 children who suffers from cleft lip and palate. Makinsie’s Ironman 2015 is her way of paying it forward and she signed up to raise money for an organization called Smile Train. Makinsie says, “I have learned that kids with cleft palate and cleft lip are seen as outcasts, in many countries, these kids cannot make friends, cannot live as normal people would, and cannot get a job which means isolation, starvation, and poverty. I want to help make a difference in the world.”
This is where my hijacked post comes in. One 45 minute surgery will fix a cleft palate and cost $250. In perspective, this 45 minute surgery has the ability to prevent one from being abandoned or even killed. Here is what I would love to see happen within the Reverb community and the hijacking of this post:
I’d like to challenge everyone to a friendly game of holiday tag I call “Give One, Plus One”.
The holiday season is a time to give and express gratitude. We have many opportunities to donate to countless well-deserving charities. In no way should one charity be overlooked while another one reaps the bounty of generosity. All we need to do is to give to one and then one more. Meaning, please continue to donate to your favorite charity but will you please add Makinsie’s Ironman fund to your list — even if it is only $5? If you do so, I will happily donate to the charity of your choice as well.
Want extra warm fuzzy points? Share the link for Makinsie‘s great cause with Smile Train Athletics and play a round of Give One, Plus One. It’s the holidays and “Tag! You’re it!”
I won’t say I don”t have goals. I do.
I won’t say I won’t celebrate my achievements, big and little. I will.
I won’t say I won’t poke fun at myself or allow myself to be disappointed the next time I start a fire in my oven. I mean, really.
I just don’t have the need to proclaim these things anymore. I don’t feel any sort of accountability to document anything that hasn’t happened yet, if at all.
I have too much life in my days yet to fulfill.
I cheated on my usual hairstylist this weekend and had my hair trimmed by a hair stylist in a beauty supply store. It was in desperation and I hope Patti will take me back. The young lady who tamed my hair was happy to take care of me and I learned all about her childhood in Philadelphia and how her sister will be closing on her first home this week. I enjoyed telling her stories about driving my little Datsun on Pacific Coast Highway in Southern California and was shocked she had never heard of how AquaNet hair spray is the best to destroy your hair when using a crimping iron. I told her how I would be the most social agoraphobe she might ever meet so she should enjoy the random moment to the fullest. Turns out, she has a family member that struggles with social anxiety and sometimes won’t leave the house. She wondered how I could be so chatty and still be… she struggled with the right word –
I pester my son about learning what I call “The Art of Small Talk” almost constantly. It’s almost become an instantaneous eye roller for him. I do annoy him about it because I have relied on small talk for so long as a coping strategy that I don’t even realize I have slid into coping. When I feel myself suffocating in a new environment, in one I feel from which I can not escape, I have learned to refocus my attention away from me and where I am and onto someone else. I begin to learn about the other person and find out how he or she is. I feel better by making my world smaller around me.
Originally this was going to be about what I usually write about when the topic is about “sustaining connections”. I planned on writing about how I trimmed my “Friends” list on Facebook yet again this year to people I actually engage in. I would mention how I focused on developing “Inch-wide, Mile-deep” relationships with people rather than “Mile-wide, Inch-deep” relationships. I thought I would throw in the conversations I had with my junior high aged son about not pursuing countless friends and working on having friends who count.
I have done all those things. But I also did the opposite. I cast my net wider this year. I worked on adjusting medications so that I wouldn’t be so closed off to people anymore. I focused on renewing connections with people in my neighborhood — not with the intention of having deep meaningful relationships, but with the purpose of sharing our humanness. I delivered our neighbor Christmas gifts this last weekend instead of having my kids do it and spent time talking with everyone, especially with one couple I haven’t spoken with in at least three years, just to catch up. I maintained my rooted connections this year instead of growing them from seed so that I could focus on tending the landscape around them.
It feels good to have some yard work done before the winter fully hits.