Monday, January 28, 2013

With Nowhere to Go

(This was written, from the title prompt, during my writing workshop.)

Sunday morning and the coffee is brewing.  The smell spreads throughout the kitchen, teasing my senses.  That first sip is one of my favorite taste sensations.  That first sip brings back memories of decades of first sips.  Learning to drink coffee in middle school, when I thought the liquid would imbue me with maturity.  Later, sitting in the early morning hours, silently reading the paper with my dad as we both sipped on the first cup of Joe.  Still later, my sleepy eyes trying to stay open with the use of caffeine as I rocked that baby, too early risen even for my morning lark lifestyle.

Sunday morning and the coffee is brewing.  The week has been hectic; life often feels like a crazy spinning top or maybe a roulette wheel.  When will the spinning stop?  Where will the ball drop?  But now, the house is quiet and the coffee is brewing.

My grandmother had a rule, taken from her Biblical upbringing, that no work could be done on Sundays.  As a teenager living in her house, I hated that rule.  I had a lot I wanted to do on Sundays, but my mom said it was disrespectful to go against Grandma’s rule.  So, I hid my activity, often staying in my room most of the day, making use of the time to do work privately so that I wouldn’t offend Grandma.  Now, I often wish I had that same Biblical upbringing so I would simply know that Sunday would always be a day of rest.  A day to slow the spinning top and watch it come to a halt.  Always, every Sunday.

Sunday morning and the coffee is brewing.  I have no Biblical-inspired rule, but today I have nowhere to go.  Sunday morning and the coffee is brewing and I feel my soul relax as I anticipate that first sip and I know that I have nowhere to go today.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Life Stages, Transitions and Purses

I love clothes; most women do, but I especially love shoes, coats and purses.  I have a wide selection of each – shoes of various styles, coats of various colors and lengths and purses of various styles and colors, but not of various sizes.  For years, basically as long as I can remember, I’ve liked bigger purses.  Purses that are big enough to carry all that I might need and, since I’m so well organized, I have all that I might need in little pouches, bags and wallets – very easy to move everything from one purse to another, which I usually did on a daily basis.   Years ago, I owned one purse at a time and then I realized that I could coordinate my purse with my outfit or coat.  Black and white outfit?  Carry my black and white seatbelt purse.  Wearing my green sweater?  Carry my green bag.

Last month, we were out to dinner with two other couples and, as I sat down on the bench seat lining one side of the table, I realized that with two other people sitting by me, there would not be room for my purse, so I handed it across to my friend, sitting in a chair on the opposite side of the table, and asked her to hook it on her chair.  I hefted it up and across the table to her.  As she attempted to take it and realized its weight, she asked in amazement, “Why do you carry such a big purse?”

“Because I like to have everything with me,” I replied.

A few days later, I was Christmas shopping at the mall.  I had my purse (with everything in it) over my shoulder and I carried several shopping bags.  My large purse (with everything in it) kept slipping off my shoulder and, with the weight of the purse (with everything in it) and my shopping bags; my arms were beginning to hurt.  Every time I stopped to look at something or to pay a cashier, I had to set down all of my bags in order to pull out my purse (with everything in it) to dig inside and find my wallet.  By the end of the shopping trip, I was exasperated and exhausted.

That evening my husband and I were going out to a Christmas function and I looked in my purse closet for a small red bag to carry (I do have a few small bags for evenings).  I pulled out this nice red wallet style purse and put in a few essentials:  license, credit cards, cash, comb and lipstick.  The purse has a long strap that I was able to drape across my body so that I didn’t have to worry about it falling off my shoulder.

The next day, as I prepared to go out, I decided to take this small wallet style purse with me instead of switching back to one of my bigger bags.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was to maneuver through my errands when I didn’t have to haul around a large bag in addition to whatever else I was carrying.  I carried the small purse the next day, the day after that, for the next week and then, I bought a similar style black one and I’ve carried one or the other everyday for more than a month.  Have I needed all the other “everything” stuff that I used to carry around?  No.  Have I felt light and free with my small purse easily slung across my body?  Yes.

The kids have noticed, though: “Mom, do you have your nail clippers?”  Nope.  “Mom, do you have scissors?”  Nope.  “Mom, do you have Advil?”  Nope.

For years, when the kids were small, in addition to my purse I carried a diaper bag.  What a relief it was to get rid of the diaper bag once diapers, bottles and playthings were no longer needed.  This past month after switching to my smaller purse, I realized that for years I have been carrying an adult-kids diaper bag.  The “everything” I was carrying with me wasn’t just for me, it was for whatever the kids or my husband or the child at the next table with the cut finger might need.  I heard someone refer to this type of bag as a “Mom Bag”.  I was no longer carrying a diaper bag and a purse, but my purse had become a Mom Bag!

Obviously I’m not done being a mom – that job never ends, but I can be done using my purse to mother all of these almost-grown and grown kids as well as the kid at the next table or the kid in line at the theatre or any other kid for that matter.  I can go out and just be me, Debbie, armed with license, cash, credit cards, lipstick and a comb.  What else do I really need?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

Yesterday I stepped out of my comfort zone by attending a two-hour writing workshop.  One friend commented that with all the writing I do she thought I’d be comfortable in that setting.  I was comfortable (and jazzed) by the end of the class, but it was uncomfortable to get up the courage to sign up, show up and participate.  I think I give off a pretty confident appearance and I am, overall, pretty confident, but I’m never initially comfortable in new situations.  This is something I’ve learned and have come to accept about myself, so I know that in order to expand my abilities and work toward my dreams, I must push myself into that discomfort zone.

The workshop consisted of free writing of varying lengths based on prompts offered by the facilitator.  My initial fears fell away as I started to write.  Normally when I write, I have what I want to write composed in my head.  Sitting at my laptop I simply transcribe the thoughts in my head onto the screen.  Yesterday, I had to think and write at the same time.  It was an amazing experience.  My brain felt nudged in ways it hasn’t since college.

I’m a highly organized person.  I like routine because routine is the root of an organized life.  I realized yesterday that my organized life, in which I regularly use my brain to stay on track and juggle our crazy schedule, gets a workout everyday plus I add to that workout with crossword puzzles and Sudoku.   However, that is a workout without heart.  Yesterday I gave both my brain and my heart a workout and I liked the feeling.  I felt like I was writing from something bigger than myself.