Whilst shopping at the buy-in-bulk store, I perused, as I always do, the clothing section. There are typically some plain-but-serviceable garments, a few interesting frocks, and a handful of genuinely ugly items of apparel. This time, there was a plethora of baby clothes. I don't usually pay attention to baby clothes -- yet these were so cute, with little monsters and alligators and polka-dots and such.
It's been a long time since I've felt that fleeting yearning for an infant.
I know I'm too old now to entertain the thought of a newborn. And entwined in that knowledge is, as always, a molecule of grief for time gone by and doors closed. Alas.
Besides, at this stage in my life my responsibilities preclude caring for babies -- or, for that matter, adding any other creature (be it pet or human) into the population of "those whom I love and to whom I tend". I am maxxed out, as the saying goes.
I would still like to hold a baby for a little while, though.
Many of us spend our whole lives running from feeling with the mistaken belief that you can not bear the pain. But you have already borne the pain. What you have not done is feel all you are beyond that pain. ― Kahlil Gibran
Last weekend, I went with my mother to the grocery store. (We do not often go together, as she lives in the frozen northeast and I live in the desert southwest.) There was Yet Another Winter Storm brewing, so we scurried in and out of the store quickly to retrieve what we needed before the flakes began falling again.
After I loaded the groceries into the trunk, I returned the cart. Since there were no "cart corrals" in the parking lot, I brought the cart all the way back in to the store. (When we had gone in, there were hardly any carts inside, and yet there was a stoic and steady stream of shoppers braving the cold -- so returning the carts to the front of the store seemed necessary.) Along the way I picked up a second cart that was lingering in the parking lot and returned it, too.
When I got into the car, my mother said, "You are a lovely person." I replied that it was the least I could do to return the carts all the way inside the store given the weather, and she responded, "No, I meant lovely looking."
Ah. Outside vs. Inside.
Leaving aside a mother's clear bias regarding the attractiveness of her children: what a divergent use of the word "lovely."
My mother uses "lovely" in the traditional sense of physical beauty. Once she explained what she had meant, we discussed skin care regimens, and the delight she feels when people cannot believe her age because she has such pretty, youthful skin. I am pleased for her.
When I think of someone as being "lovely", I think of a radiance of an inner quality. People who are lovely are people whose company one enjoys; who are kind and helpful; who bring a bit of happiness to those around them. This is the lovely I seek to be.
Physical beauty (whatever one may have, or have had) fades. Yet to be lovely from the inside out, will shine, always.
Way back when I first described duck, the neutral party, I mentioned that when I was a wee little girl, I had, in addition to the tiny duck, a wee ceramic pig as well. I assumed that both had been lost to Time. While perusing through Things Stored In The Basement with my father this past weekend, however, we came across some toys from days of yore: AND BEHOLD, THE PIG WAS AMONG THEM.
I am delighted. Ah, pig. I am so happy to see you.
Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.
I was at the mall the other day, running an errand for Offspring the Third, and I noticed that there were Harry Potter Mystery Keychains for sale. (Think of them like chocolate frogs - you do not know which wizard card you get, until you open the package.)
I had a terrible dream the other night. In it, someone important to me had died. I remember the crushing weight of the grief I felt when I learned of the death; and when I woke up, I had to think hard for several minutes to reassure myself that the person was, in fact, still alive and well.
The echo of that shocking grief haunted me throughout the day. It was not surprising, really, that such a terrible thing swam up through my brain while I was sleeping: someone close to me very recently underwent a (literally) heart-stopping surgery, and a fear of loss has been floating around in my subconscious like an ugly sea creature in the depths.
You will note that I have not mentioned such a surgery here. It is too hard to write about yet; the person is still recovering, and slowly. Perhaps, when more time has passed and the path to recovery is strong, I will write more.
What I have been reminded, though, is that there is an importance to treasuring people now, while we still can. Sometimes as we slog through the minutiae of daily life, we lose sight of the forest because of all of the trees. To pause, to love those we love now, seems to be more important than ever. If I knew that today would be the last time I’d see you, I would hug you tight and pray the Lord be the keeper of your soul. If I knew that this would be the last time you pass through this door, I’d embrace you, kiss you, and call you back for one more. If I knew that this would be the last time I would hear your voice, I’d take hold of each word to be able to hear it over and over again. If I knew this is the last time I see you, I’d tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly you know it already. - Gabriel García Márquez
We found a new Super shirt for elderly three-toothed dog. (His previous Super shirt was worn out nearly completely.) I am quite pleased.
He is elderly and lumpy, and snores noisily, and is a wee bit disgusting. He is an irregular eater. He gets up at night to moisten his dry tongue and then needs help getting back on the bed. He barks annoyingly when he wants to sit on my lap. He smells like Old Dog.
And yet, he is so happy, and so content. He plays with his toys, and basks in the sun, and naps in a variety of blankets. He makes me smile. And I am glad, every day, that we have this chance to put him in a wee Super shirt and give him the most super life we can.
I like to remind the Offspring of what applying to college was like, way back in the stone age when I was a senior in high school.
We typed our applications, and if we were lucky we had an electric typewriter (rather than a manual one) to use. There was no internet, and there were no cell phones; we would line up at the single pay phone in the front of school during lunch hour and each call home to ask: was the mail delivered yet? Were there any envelopes? And if so, were the envelopes big or small?
These days college applications themselves are submitted online, and information is frequently provided through e-mail or by logging into the college website. Nevertheless, it appears that some schools still relish sending the old-fashioned Big Envelope -- for yesterday, Offspring the Third received a large, brightly-colored missive from his first choice school.
Congratulations, Offspring the Third. I am very happy for you.
NinjaHead resides with a sesquipedalian woman known herein as Herself. Herself has a Beloved Husband, with whom she shares three nearly-grown Offspring. When she is not writing Things, Herself nurtures a visceral fondness for small furry creatures. The household menagerie, which has varied in size and composition over the years, presently contains solely a minuscule and rather cranky middle-aged chihuahua. Someday, there will be more critters, for she loves them tremendously.