These days, being a mother requires the memory of an elephant—and the thick skin of one too. Thanks to a recent scene with my 15-year-old son, I won’t soon forget that most of us are simply lumbering our way through parenthood, and life.
While my son was at school I was supposed to drop his laptop off at his dad’s house, but I was engrossed in listening to a book-on-tape while driving across town, and it completely slipped my mind.
Like the old song says, there’s a thin line between love and hate. I was thinking about this in January, and in February, and again in March when living in Chicago can feel like being trapped in a cold, gray, concrete box. Every year I try to convince my kids that the grass is greener somewhere, anywhere, else. (This year I was briefly enamored with Texas–huh?) And every year they tell me to stop being a hater.
“You’ll get through this, Mom,” they promise. And I do. Summer comes and I’m in love.
It’s 5:23 a.m. on a Sunday and I am awake. I reach for my phone. There is no text from my 13-year-old son, who is in China, and my brain jumps straight to the conclusion that he must have gotten lost in a crowded Beijing market. In the pale light of dawn, this thought seems as plausible as any other.
In the space of 24 hours, my three children have been on three separate airplanes. My predominant summer anxiety has always been around how to keep them all busy. This summer they are suddenly off to see the world—my 15-year-old son to a camp in California, my 10-year-old daughter to visit family in New York, and my middle child with his father on the other side of the world. Having them in the air has me feeling ungrounded. To counteract my restlessness, I get up and go into practical mode. I text my ex-husband to make sure Boone has the hotel address in his pocket. I transfer a little money to Lincoln’s debit card for airport food. I text Genevieve a reminder to take her digestive supplements.
A few days ago, my friend Mark was feeling depressed and decided to stop at Trader Joe’s and buy himself some flowers. When he told the woman at the check-out why he needed flowers, she insisted on buying them for him.
Random act of kindness? Sure.
But it’s also a reminder that asking begins as an inner dialogue. Mark asked himself, “What do I need to feel more loved and supported today?”
It was wonderful to hear Marianne Williamson speak at Unity in Chicago! She talked about becoming disciples of love, and about being disciplined in the practice of asking
“Am I acting from love or fear?”
It’s the only true question, the one beneath all others!
Have you ever asked yourself why it’s so hard to find the right guy? Why there have been so many ups-and-downs, disappointments and days-and-nights spent waiting, wondering and hoping? Or are you maybe even beginning to lose hope? Well, here’s the thing: you have a choice — and finding the right guy or not depends entirely on you making this choice. You must choose whether you believe that love is something that finds you by luck, stumbling across the “right person” finally, OR whether you are ready to give yourself permission to find the right man.
That’s right. Give yourself PERMISSION.
I was one of those painfully shy kids who would hide behind my mom’s legs when someone spoke to me. Thankfully, I’m a recovering wallflower; I’ve shed that shy label once and for all.
Or so I thought.
I was recently challenged to pay attention to how I make eye contact. Apparently the slew of dating sites have it wrong. They’d like us to put all our energy into crafting a perfect profile and posting photos that show “I look good in jeans AND in heels!!” when the energy we send with our eyes and our smile is the true secret to attraction.
Chris was a very sweet guy, and although he wasn’t exactly my type, I was enjoying our conversation over lunch at a Mexican restaurant. When our plates were cleared, he surprised me by reaching over the table and taking my hand. Hmm…I’d never had this happen on a first date, but it wasn’t exactly unpleasant, so I went with it. We made a second date, and when I got in Chris’ car, he immediately reached for my hand.
“He was sitting in a crowded bar, during a Bulls game, reading the Economist by the light of a cigar machine.”
That’s how Kate describes the first time she met her husband. Priceless, huh? It rings like the first line of a hard-boiled detective novel.
She knew he was the one because she felt so completely herself around him. Not surprising, since he was also being himself that night in the bar.
My blind date with Alex started out promising. We met at the Field Museum with plans to see the World’s Fair exhibit. But forget the exhibit. I was looking at him, because he was cute.
Unfortunately, after a short stroll through the gallery, Alex’s phone started buzzing. And he answered it. Twice.
Now if he had been a brain surgeon or even a plumber, I could maybe understand that he had to take this call! But he owned a software company, and there was no look of panic that someone’s hard drive was melting down. There was no explanation at all. And no apology.