Monday, June 30, 2014

For The Purge

I wrote an entire blog post this morning, while I was folding clothes.

In my head.

Now my daughters are binge-watching "Luther" while folding more clothes.

They say I am to be proud of them, for wasting their lives in such a way.

But what is wasted? They've determined that one should add 'graphic design' to her major at college. Though they say, "My day amounted to nothing", they have been adjusted by a chiropractor, made homemade manicotti, folded eight loads of laundry and created new alcoholic drinks.

And the screaming? Oh, the shrieking; this show, Luther, is making them scream bloody murder.

And then there are the random, shrill declarations:

"My chiropractor touched my unwashed hair!"

"Will you hurry up so we can watch the next episode?"


There are lights blazing in the backyard, awaiting a crowd. Tulle hangs from the curtains and the mudroom is filled with pewter and aluminum. The dress, ivory and satin, hangs hidden from the boys in my closet. The driveway has new, beautiful crushed stone for parking and the trees have been trimmed.

"Are my paintbrushes over there?"

We are scrambling and scrabbling to make a wedding happen in ten days. No strangers to parties and large events, this is by far the biggest - and the web of plans and products we need are stretching my mind to the farthest limits. The quote for the flowers came in late - and WAY over budget - and so we're going to learn to make boutineers and corsages.

(First, I must google boutineer and learn to spell it correctly.)



We will learn to make flowers, and we are hand-painting signs and ordering wine glasses and dance floors and praying for a freakishly cool day in mid-July and making appointments for hair and nails and wishing we'd all lost 10 pounds a month ago.

(That last part is just me. And to be honest, it was 20 pounds.)

I've had need of my husband in a big way; it's felt a lot like selfish whining and complaining, but Lord knows the need is there. "Every day, just look at me once," I said. "Look in my eyes and tell me it's going to be alright."

Our days seem to be never-ending lists of tasks and chores and time management for The Next Thing That Must Be Done Before The Wedding. I just can't live like that, cannot slog through the days without remembering who we are and what will be left after the wedding guests eat and drink and make merry in our backyard.

It will be a time, a good time. The clothes will need folding again and everything we set up will come back down. These moments of unmarried young women, home as sisters for the last time like this...this, I will lose to time and the inevitable letting go. So this time now, this present muted vision of love; I will cling to this.

And crawl into my husband's arms and wait for the next wave.

I have so many words these days, but they just swirl in my head and heart. There is no time to write; it feels like an indulgence, one for which there is no space in this season. And yet I feel it; the emotion, the fear, the questions and the wildness, choking me as it rises up out of my throat. All these things I feel grasp my guts and make me crazy, I think. I don't write because I am frantic with so much to do; and I am frantic because, I think, I am not writing.

Honored today; I took a phone call from a woman I've spent a scant 12 hours with on a retreat in Florida. At a major life transition - a moment where one knows to think and contemplate and prepare is necessary before the jump - she called me to ask my opinion, to bounce her dilemma off the presumed safety of my ear. She is a writer - a good one, a professional - and she commented that she has to write. She said it with such passion, and it resonated. I feel that way, too; and yet I blow that thought away with easy breath. There are so many other things I have to do. But writing....there is something there that sustains me. Not writing for the reading, but for the purging. 

I have missed this space. I am doing a good bit of listening these days. My words need some freedom to roam.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Short List Of Wisdom

At small group tonight, some of us who are past our forties had occasion to offer wise counsel to the women just moving into their forties. In short, we told them that a woman's forties are THE BEST.

You get to the point where you start thinking that what all those other people think really doesn't matter.
You know you're sexy, because you are.
You still have energy but are wise enough to measure it out as needed.
You know things; not everything (that's for when you're eighty), but you know more than you did a decade prior, and you realize that's a good thing.

There are other things more pertinent to the discussion we had tonight, but it got me to thinking about the place I am now. I'm into my second year of the 50's, and I must say I'm still wavering on whether or not I would proclaim this "good". I'm still above ground, so there's that. But the jury is still out on a lot of things.

In no particular order, here's what I know about being a woman of 50 (or 51, but who's counting).

1. At least once a day, you think, "Crap. Am I really FIFTY YEARS OLD?" Because you don't feel like fifty, and you're not sure what fifty looks like, but it shouldn't be this.

2. You start wishing you'd worn sunscreen. Like, all the time. And everywhere.

3. Hairs grow in places where, in all honesty, they simply shouldn't. 

4. You sit cross-legged on the floor, like you always have, and then realize the error of your ways. Because either a) you can't get up, or b) you manage to stand up, but then you have to limp into the next room. Because your legs stop working.

5. Sneezing requires a certain dexterity involving squeezing your thighs and quite possibly placing your hand in a private place. Otherwise, things get messy and you'll need a change of clothes.

For a person who sees the glass half-full all the time, that's a rather depressing list, isn't it? Truthfully, some of this sucks. Seriously.

But, on the other hand...

6. You are happy when people are happy, but you finally realize that it's not your job to make people happy. That's for all you 30-year olds out there. Go for it.

7. You really want to hold a baby again, and you realize that in just a few years, you (hopefully) will. GRANDBABIES, Y'ALL.

8. Things about faith and eternity and salvation make a lot more sense; the pressure loosens and you become quite alright with love, pure and simple, and letting God be God. Because you're not. Thank God.

9. If you're lucky enough to have found the right person, love can be an incredibly rewarding - and refining - experience; one that's not about making you happy, but making you better.

10. You know a heck of a lot more good songs than anybody in their 20's. Or 30's. The pain of hearing someone say, "Who's Billy Joel?" is overcome by the joy of realizing that you still know every word to every song on The Stranger. Also, Hotel California.

Fifty-year old friends - what am I missing? What do YOU know now that you didn't before?