Stressed. Hectic. Busy. Chaotic. Overwhelmed. Exhausted.
Crazy how we often use these words to describe our lives. Crazy how we always promise ourselves it’ll get better next week. Or better next month. Or better next year. Crazy how life doesn’t bend that way, no matter how much we think the passage of time will make things easier.
Once the wedding is over. Once I graduate. Once he graduates. Once I finish this story. Once I lose 10 pounds. Once the baby starts to sleep through the night. Once I retire. These are just a few of the things I hear from people I know, including myself.
Once that happens something else happens. Worries and fears grow up with us, as do our coping mechanisms, which is why I think getting older is supposed to make us wiser.
On my kitchen counter is an index card I scribbled a grocery list on six months ago. It’s 3-by-5 inches of pure ordinariness except for one thing: six lines down, in the space between memory card from Radio Shack and butter, my best friend Ro wrote, “a 2nd residence in NY.”
Last April, she and my sister Heelya spent their Easter break at my place in St. Pete. I came across this card while I was cleaning my kitchen, long after they flew back to Buffalo. I was going to toss it in the garbage until I got to line six and read Ro’s note.
A second residence in New York.
Funny little Ro, I thought, sneaking in such a humble request on my grocery list. And then I stuck the card on my refrigerator and laughed and cried dumbly at once. The laundry was humming in the washer, three deadlines were hanging over my head, an engagement ring was on my finger and an empty container of cottage cheese was on the counter. Humdrum hoo-haa. Toilet paper, mustard and bread. Check.
Life is stressful and hectic, overwhelming and exhausting, but little things are what make one day better than the next. Often they go uncelebrated as we habitually explain to family, friends and coworkers that we’re busy, exhausted and overwhelmed, as we apologize for being late to work and apologize for snapping at our mothers and apologize for pissing off our husbands.
This post is in praise of little things, so many little things that I chose to focus on just one.
Well, maybe two.
The second little thing happened last night before I fell asleep. It was short and sweet and fleeting.
As I clapped* off the light in our bedroom, Joe asked: “Did you see me this morning out your office window?”
“In the driveway?”
“Did you see me blow you a kiss?”
“Oh no! Shit! I missed it!”
“That’s OK,” he said. “It’ll be waiting for you tomorrow. In fact, I think I hear it knocking on your window right now.”
“I hear it! It sounds jilted.”
“Yeah. Don’t forget to let it in.”
And I didn’t
*Yes, we have a Clapper. I think applause in the bedroom is good for your ego.