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getting back in whack

August 13, 2011

So, I’ve been totally out of whack this past week (and, yes, “out of whack” is a scientific term).  Unable to sleep because of thunderous middle-of-the-night footsteps above my head (I’ll apologize publicly to Melanie, my downstairs neighbor in our shared fourplex back in 1997-1998, who endured the same treatment from me), unable to run last week because Steve was traveling, and unable to think clearly because of item #1 and item #2, I haven’t been feeling much like myself.  I also haven’t been feeling much like chasing maybes or like writing about it.  As embarrassed as I am to admit it, I’ve been feeling sorry for myself, missing my familiar comforts and resisting what I told myself would be an adventure.

I guess I have been homesick.

Yesterday, though, I had an experience that turned my head a little.  My older son, suddenly taller and skinnier than I thought possible, will begin kindergarten soon.  His new school hosted a playdate on its playground for all new kindergarteners.  We drove to the school without thinking or talking much about the event, me charging up to the picnic tables and making name tags for us, my boys shooting off toward the slide and the swings without a backward glance.  They were thrilled to be surrounded by children and probably happy to leave my out-of-whack side.

Suddenly, I was alone on the playground.

I glanced around a bit, noticing the other parents chatting merrily, comparing summer schedules, and catching up with one another.  Most of them seemed to know each other, neighbors from the streets surrounding the elementary school.  I, on the other hand, didn’t know anyone but my children, who’d rightfully deserted me at the first opportunity.  I think I literally looked down at my shoes for a moment as I considered this fact.

Thankfully, a memory of the Heroes Convention sprung to mind.  I recalled inhaling courage as I walked into the cavernous convention center, completely unsure of what I would find.  That experience, as well as the metal-inspired-by-science-fiction show I attended, turned out swimmingly.  “This is just a kindergarten playdate, for Pete’s sake,” I told myself, “Nothing to fear here.  Pull yourself together.”  Giving myself a mental smack on the back of the head, I walked toward a blond throng of mothers.  Before I could open my mouth, though, I heard, “They are all out of name tags, but I could just borrow yours,” accompanied by a bright white smile.  “Hi… I’m Anne, too.”

As it turned out, the other Anne had also just moved here from another state.  The other Anne had a son with my son’s name, and the other Anne was funny and easy to talk to.  The other Anne didn’t know anyone, either, but meeting her emboldened me, encouraging me to introduce myself to several other parents.  I learned about what will soon be our new neighborhood, trying to remember names and streets and occupations.  It was fun, and meeting Anne took the edge off of my loneliness.  It was also a critical reminder to me to lift up the surface layer and look closer, to stop assuming that everyone else is comfortable or happy or knows what in the hell is going on while I lurk on the fringes.  It reminded me that I can choose to feel sorry for myself or I can choose to participate in the adventure.

My kindergartener, incidentally, found a friend yesterday who shares his love of bugs and giant sticks.  It was instant adoration, and it was a good day.

I thought about adjusting to the adventure as I ran errands this afternoon, flummoxed by my Austin Target’s layout (for the love of God, where do they hide the laundry detergent?).  Exiting the store, I heard a woman’s voice shout, “Excuse me????” and, assuming I’d left one of my bags behind, began walking toward the checkout line.  It was there that I realized the voice belonged to Sarah, one of the other mothers from my sons’ North Carolina preschool.  “I saw you checking out and just had to say hello,” she sputtered, “are you here visiting, as well?”  When I told Sarah we had moved to Austin, I learned that Sarah’s mother, who lives nearby, recently left her post as principal of my son’s future elementary school.  “You’ll love it,” she smiled, “we would love to move back.”  I thanked Sarah for stopping me and saying hello.  It was serendipity at Target, folks.  In a small way, our brief encounter made my day.

On another note, this is my plant.  Her name is Frida, and I haven’t killed her yet.

She looks pretty hardy, right?

Last night, I walked by my apartment neighbor’s door — the same door I walk by five times a day — and noticed she’d crushed eggshells and put them in her houseplants’ soil.  Upon further research, I learned that crushed eggshells can add beneficial nutrients to soil and make plants healthier.  This makes sense, so I think I will buy Frida some eggs, just to be safe.

Isn’t it amazing what we notice when we start paying attention?

Today, I wish for you serendipitous encounters and boundless courage.  I hope you participate in whatever adventure life throws your way.  Thanks, always, for showing up.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Kris McL. permalink
    August 13, 2011 9:52 pm

    you all have been on my mind…glad you are applying all the things you have learned 🙂 just think in 3-4 months time (or less) it will become routine. Enjoy each new moment.

  2. August 25, 2011 8:09 am

    Yes – how I miss those days when you would “tap dance” with your clogs on.

    • August 25, 2011 7:33 pm

      karma ain’t pretty. i’m not sure what footwear my upstairs neighbors are wearing, but it sounds like concrete tap shoes.


  1. it’s greener where you water it « Chasing Maybes

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