Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Cups of Kindness
My son is on vacation with his father this week. The reality of my new life hits me in this way: I don't get to share in all my son's vacations any more. Time off from your kid when you have a family and you haven't had a night to do fun adult things in weeks is nice. Time off from your kid when you're separated? Not so nice. He will probably finish the Harry Potter we've been reading together before he gets home.
At the beginning of the week I made a list of all the things I could get done in a week without a child to cook for, play with, keep track of, clean up after, read with. The list sits in my kitchen, lonely, ignored. Things not on the list but which I have accomplished: finish Ben and Jerry's in freezer, open new bottle of scotch.
A surprise arrived in the mail today: a CD from a woman I haven't seen in years. She saw my blog, read about my separation, sent me a kind note and a some beautiful music. I have discovered deep kindness these last few months. A woman who took me in on a handful of nights when I needed a safe and quiet place to go. She hardly knew me, but for some reason I was drawn to her house and not other friends ... and she fed me and gave me her bed and wrapped me in loving care. When I needed some free advice from a lawyer, one of the funniest and sweetest men around gave me hours and hours of his professional services, sprinkled with common sense and compassion. On a lonely night, a new friend took me for a ride in his convertible through the mountains. People I have always known to be kind have proven even more so: my mom, my best friend, some colleagues.
I've been struggling recently to envision my future, to know what good work I could be doing in the world, wanting to offer up to God whatever talent I might have, wishing that my brain could start swimming again instead of constantly drowning under the weight of my emotional baggage. I know that my calling right now is to a simple daily practice. "Be here now" has become cliche, but that's it really. Be a mom. Do my job. Take care of my home. Walk the dog. Take care of myself. Clean the cat litter. Learn from my mistakes.
And practice kindness. The simple kindnesses of people around me have kept me sane this year. (Well, let's say saner). It's the least I can do in return.