Another holiday season approaches, and with that a new experience. A friend and I who have spent the last year-and-a-half avoiding the ebbs and flows of homicidal tendencies by meeting with our children at a local mall for a few social hours gathered just the two of us…that’s right, no kids. The entirety of the preceding evening spent on text exchanges expressing our giddiness at the occasion. My husband responded to my elations with a subdued, “O-okay,” marking the very reasonable response that my standards for a good time are pathetically low.
What was the focus for our afternoon plans you might ask? Perhaps a tattoo or a crazy hair style with a bar of Belgium chocolate in one hand and a bottle of Jim Beam in the other? Nope, exuberant plans of an uninterrupted, leisurely meal with, perhaps, an appetizer. Yup, we are a couple of wild crazies with proclivities toward reckless abandon. And, how did we follow-up our meal that actually did not finish with a healthy dose of heartburn? We grabbed a tea and meandered at our own pace through the mall’s open areas…It was everything I could have ever dreamed of, and I want it immortalized in the same memories as the birth of my son…It was that good…
Now for the interesting or unsettling part, depending on the perspective. When I was pregnant with my son I experienced many bouts of anxiety about just this type of situation. Reeling that I’d be unemployed with a life like so many other mothers I’d met whose life became jubilations with these social banalities because life offered little or nothing else. So, now I am here and one of these very women I feared for so long, and, my, how perspectives change. Reframing the experience that used to cause such panic not all that long ago, I don’t see these opportunities as desperation, clinging to the only pleasantness presenting itself to me. Rather, I see my capacity to value and enjoy more; enjoy others just because, enjoy small moments because I can, value what I have when I have it for as long as I am able. It isn’t a state of mind that I consciously find myself, but things change so quickly, and not usually all that dramatically. In a blink things are different and everything moves on without any purposeful drive in a specific direction.
I find I have the capacity to simply be and enjoy more. I’m more aware of opportunities that have no specific benefit or end; merely, this moment is something to savor and enjoy for no other reason than it having value onto itself. I don’t see an evening looking forward to conversations with strangers who work in my husband’s office as a pathetic need to engage with a world I’ve lost touch with. Talking to anyone is a way to connect and learn from humanity; to enjoy the company of others and the limited festivities in the consuming hustle and bustle of life.
I’m not sure when I learned this, but it was certainly once I started sleeping again and began the long process of adjusting to a new life, and new me, frankly. I’ve had to let go of so much and embrace so much more. But, here I sit two years later through my perpetually evolving process with new offerings before me. It helps that I can envision an open path leading to any direction that has the potential to be new and exciting in some way. It also helps that I have a son that sees everything wonderful in the world because the only disappointment he really faces is that he cannot sit on his Mommy’s lap for another story until his soiled diaper is changed. He is still a being of love and possibilities. He is a sponge newly out of the wrapper before mildew and damage sets in, and for that I can sit back and listen for what he has to teach me.