Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Monday, November 28, 2005

It's there somewhere. Go find it.

How do I feel by the end of the day
(Are you sad because you're on your own)
No I get by with a little help from my friends
From With a Little Help from My Friends
By John Lennon and Paul McCartney © 1967

When Lew telephoned, I tried to keep my voice at an even level. Frustration oozed from every pore, because I was attempting to multitask at dinner time—answering questions from the kids, cooking, checking email, making extra carpool trips, dealing with cat hair balls and radio noise. I’d had it, but I didn’t want to load these trivial burdens on him, because I knew his workday had been a long one.

About an hour after he called, Lew paraded up the stairs with a stunning bouquet of flowers, in my favorite color combination—fuchsia, white and green. He ran back into the garage, and carried in a twelve pack of Diet Coke®.

“How did you know?” I asked. On top of my frustration implosion, I’d been jonesin’ for a Diet Coke. My only personal plan for the day involved a quick stop at the corner 7-11, but I was running late. Rather than make Tee and his buddies to wait longer in the cold, after wrestling practice, I skipped my pit stop.

Lew laughed and gave me a huge hug. “I just did. I could hear it in your voice.”

The holidays place me in a reflective mood, and I’ve been introspective the past few weeks. One thing that’s a touch different this year is I'm actively looking at all that is good in my life. In years’ past, I’ve spent far too much time raking myself over the coals for mistakes and bad judgment calls. Life it too short, I’m discovering, to not reflect on all that is good within my domain.

2005 hasn’t been all sweetness and light; in fact, it’s been a year heavy on the shit and hip-waders. Besides the biggies, like Real ID passing, the Patriot Act just about sewn up as permanent legislation, the Kelso eminent domain ruling by the Supremes… oh, I could go on for paragraphs, but I won’t… events within my personal life have been uncertain, sometimes sad and scary.

As I’ve mulled over the past 365 days, it’s finally sunk in that the crummy-ness can’t triumph over the good stuff, unless I let it. There are too many cool people in my life. My kids, despite my fumblings and their teen angst, are growing up into decent individuals. My family is healthy. The cutest hound doggie I know, Miss Virginia, makes me smile every day.

Going back to that “life is too short” thing, the past 365 days have included so much learning and trying new activities. The thought of failure or missing the mark of “perfection” held me back from so much, for way too long. My kids started to mimic me, and I didn’t want them to believe the same lie I fooled myself with. So, I started trying. And trying felt great, even though it was daunting. During the last year, I’ve attended writing classes and started a novel; I’ve taken hikes and learned how to canoe; the Italian plums from our backyard tree were canned, and fresh peaches purchased from a roadside vendor became jam. Lew and I started a business together. Rosie and I learned how to tie knots and taught a group of scouts how to tie them; I rediscovered cross-stitching because Rosie wanted to learn.

The best blessing I can think of is the fact I have a friend who’s witnessed my lowest points and my largest moments, and he’s still hanging in with me. Lew and I have this piece of paper that says we’re married, stamped and approved by the State. What this document doesn’t relay is the deep well of friendship and love we have together. My opening vignette is but one of countless examples of the connection we experience, intuitively sharing thoughts and feelings with each other. I’m grateful to share my life with such an ally.

Okay, before I get any more schmaltzy, let me just say that I hope that at the end of the day each one of us can step over the pile of dung laying at our feet because know we can get by, with the help of our friends. It doesn’t matter if you have one or one hundred, if you friend is canine, feline, reptilian or human, as long as you have a relationship you can count on and lean on when the road gets a bit rough. As the calendar marches toward 2006, please take a moment to examine all the good in your life. We know the other stuff is there due to the stench, so plug your nose, pull out your magnifying glass if you must and look for it. Find it. Cherish it.


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