We’ve all heard the question: If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be? I was recently asked this and I had a thought: What if the three were all yourself, at different ages? The fourth person would be you at your current age and the course of your life would not be altered in any way as a result of this me-ting.
Whom of you would you invite to sit around the table? It’s interesting to think about, isn’t it? As I wrote this piece, I detailed how each version of me would feel about her others and what they would want the iterations to know in an effort to assure them that no matter what, NO MATTER WHAT, she will survive and strive to thrive. Several paragraphs in, I deleted it all. Although fun to consider, I recommend not venturing too deeply. Like the lifetime they’ve, YOU’VE led, it will all unfold as it’s supposed to.
If you share your life with a feathered or furry soul, you’ve probably wondered what they are up to when you’re not home. Cams aren’t just for nannies anymore, so if inclined, you can easily find out. Of course I wonder, but I’ve never taken advantage of the technology. For now, my respect for Piper’s privacy outweighs my curiosity. But I reserve my parrontal rights for the future.
I am up to all sorts of things when I’m out of the house, but whatever I’m doing, I’m always happy to get home to Piper. He has been my steadfast companion for the last six years since my vision loss and I miss him when we’re apart. I am without fail excited to return to him although I never know which reception I will receive. He may be waiting for me as I approach, his foot lifted to be picked up, or mad at me for leaving him and ignore me. I, on the other zygodactyl, have the same reaction to Piper every time I walk in my front door: I squawk and wag my tail.
In those early hours, long before the alarm setting, in the first seconds of consciousness, thoughts bubble to the surface, reaching a boiling point more quickly than the fastest tea kettle. It’s seems that every worry, fear and task we have to accomplish the rest of our life waits for its special time with us, when we are vulnerable and without our armor. All methods of tips and tricks are employed, but feet to floor and starting the day are the only proven remedy, no matter how ridiculous the hour.
Though our Achilles’ heels differ by day, my closest friends and I share this condition by night, an affliction I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, who, ironically, these days, or should I say these nights, is the Elusiveness of Sleep.
As I rode the exercise bike, I looked out the window and was shocked that the neighbor’s yard was covered in snow. It was not forecasted and none of my friends had mentioned the overnight snowfall in their morning texts. A few seconds went by, then I realized that it wasn’t snow on the lawn, it was the sun! My damaged optic nerves caused the bright area to look white, when in reality the ground was simply bathed in light.
I spend much of my life assessing what I see versus what is fact. While this is a literal exercise for me, we are all faced with this process daily as we traverse corporate minefields, raise teenagers and interact with the world at large. Things aren’t always as they seem but when we focus on the clues and what we know to be true, our mysteries can be solved. In this case, Mother Nature did it in Southeastern Pennsylvania with the star around which the earth orbits.
My in-laws were best friends with another couple, Mr. and Mrs. M, raising their families together and traveling as a foursome once their children were grown. My father-in-law died suddenly a few years ago, and last week Mrs. M passed away after a lengthy illness. Although they are both in deep mourning, of course, my mother-in-law and Mr. M have a strong faith and both believe definitively they will see her husband and his wife again.
As I thought about their conviction, a picture of two puzzles pieces fitted together came to mind. Where once there was one, my father-in-law, now there are two. And here on earth are their connecting pieces, the other half of the whole. I don’t know what you believe, but you have to admit this a beautiful thought . . . brought to you by faith. Like a puzzle in progress on your dining room table, it’s kind of hard to resist.
What is the thing that you do to an intense level? Whatever it is, I’ll bet your friends and family tease you about it. In my case, my passion for organization and my ability to remember an apparently unusual amount of the last 30 years are the cause of the people in my life’s eye rolls, head shakes and straight-out name calling:
“You’re not right”
Truth be told, you probably have had moments of thinking the same thing about yourself. There are also times when you can’t understand why everyone else isn’t just like you. Why doesn’t my husband remember meeting country singer Collin Raye’s roadies in Washington, DC in the Hard Rock gift shop in 1995? And why don’t my friends alphabetize their CDs and have a spreadsheet listing them all by artist and genre? But the variables that can make up a person are staggering, and wherever you are on any given trait’s sliding scale will most likely differ greatly from others with whom you share your life
If given the chance to decide which mortal ability you would want to excel at, it could be difficult to choose. It’s like the question you’ve probably been asked: X-ray vision, invisibility, the ability to fly? But I do know this, my memory and organizational skills have served me well since my vision loss, enabling me to find things in my darkened world. Maybe, just like superheroes, we get the superpowers we need.
While waiting at the grocery store deli, I asked my husband how far down the produce aisle the carrots were located. It’s difficult for me to find items on a shelf due to my impaired vision, the lack of clarity and color making locating a can or package equal to a fully-sighted person battling a haystack for a needle.
He told me the orange vegetables, gray to me, were about halfway down the refrigerated shelving, and I set off on my mission. I found them and returned to my husband, hugging the carrots to my chest, smiling ear-to-ear, flushed with pride and a little teary. It had bern six long years and I couldn’t have been happier if I had planted the seeds mself. Carrots can’t improve my eyesight, but that day they did wonders for my self-esteem.
“When it comes to decorating your home,
if it brings you joy every time you look at it,
it is ALWAYS the right choice.”
— Sister Rain
*** Whale Tissue Box Cover available here
At the orthopedist’s office, I first met with an athletic trainer who was spending a few weeks there for the purpose of his continuing education. We discussed the issue I was having in both shoulders and reviewed prior bone and their accessories’ problems I’ve had in the past. As I reported the broken ankle that required three surgeries, the five cortisone shots in three different body parts and the waking up blind for good measure, the young man, probably not even 30 yet, said, “You must live a big life.” He was impressed, and although only one of these afflictions can be tied to an actual accident, the wear and tear of daily living counts. I have not run a marathon or climbed Everest but when I stop and really examine it, I have indeed logged many actual and proverbial miles. And I liked that this young man recognized it. X-rays were taken and my sixth steroid injection was administered. My life got a little bigger.
It’s difficult to assess the scope of our own lives when we are smack dab in the middle of it. Like our skeletons, it requires a deeper look by an outsider . . . and a $30 co-pay.
pI was born and raised in a smallish town, 40 miles outside of Philadelphia. Everyone else who shares my DNA is from that city, I am the only country acorn in the family tree. Although my mom lived more than half of her life in the ‘burbs, she never stopped feeling like an outsider and she passed her prejudice of “local yokels” on to me, despite the birth certificate that I am one myself.
No longer part of a corporate team, over the last few years, the places I frequent have welcomed me into their communities.
- At the every-other-week breakfast with my friend at a local diner, our drinks arrive before we get our coats off. They don’t know our names, but they know how we jump-start our day.
- At the restaurant where my husband and I have breakfast most Saturdays, the staff knows us not by our names, but as the Seahawks fans.
- At the coffeehouse I go to once a week, they know my name and my favorite barista greets me with a hug.
- At the pub where I eat lunch most Fridays, the servers know that I always order takeout for my husband’s dinner.
As I do with all new things since her passing, I wonder what my mom would think of my “Norm” status at these neighborhood establishments. I’m pretty sure she would dig in her Taurus hooves and refuse to see me being a regular as having anything to do with the area in which I live, deeming it a five-mile radius coincidence, not a geographical fact. But she would be happy that I’ve found places outside the world of business to feel at home. Besides, she loved going out to breakfast and to have her cup of joe brought to the table without having to order it would have given her a thrill. And they could have helped her stir. Holding a spoon with a hoof can be a challenge.