I left home when I was eighteen. I went away to school, and I never looked back.
But somehow the universe always gives you what you need.
Over the years I have had these amazing women come in to my life. In
my twenties they taught me how to set up a checking account and pay my
bills. They took time off of work to get me set up with a passport.
They helped make the transition from student to working girl not quite
so scary. I think of them often with gratitude in my heart.
In my thirties they taught me about parenthood and mothering. There
were never any instruction manuals or printouts of advice; rather it
was through quiet observing that I saw their different styles and
created my own. They taught me how to knit and showed me their “Best
Of” secrets when I moved to a new state. In each of my jobs there have
always been older women who have this assured composure, underneath
that they might as well been wearing the “Been There, Done That, Got
the T-shirt” shirt. I admired them immensely.
This next decade I’m hoping to discover more about letting go, holding
on to what’s important. That balance that we all strive for. The women
in my life now seem to have a handle on how it’s done. They make it
look so effortless. I’m still learning.
These women, now scattered all over the globe, have shown me so much
and given of themselves through kindness and generosity. The unspoken
payment: that I do the same for others. I don’t know if I have made
such a difference for someone else, but I’m trying…
It’s been years since I’ve seen some of these ladies. I often think
how much fun it would be to have them all in a room together. There
would be cups of tea, tons of good food and lots of hugs. These women
are so kind I can imagine them hugging each other—even if they didn’t
know one another. It would just be that kind of a day. One of those
“This is Your Life” moments I fantasize about.
I often have these other fantasies, these dreams that my life more
closely resembled the lives of others. I’d like it to be more normal,
a little more mainstream. Yet I know this is the true fantasy, totally
unattainable. Normal doesn’t exist, we each make our own way. And I
have. But some days I wish I had that person to call at all hours,
just to check in when I need a little reassurance, or a little
affirmation. But today I had a scrumptious lunch with one friend and a
baking date with another. We worked in companionable silence;
scooping, pouring and stirring. Just by being with her in that way I
discovered so much more about her approach to life and the way she
does things. Her measuring spoons are shaped like fish–it really
doesn’t get much better than that. After all these years, this is the
lesson that I have learned: life is sweet, we just have to look for
it. We make our own family.