What I’m learning on my summer vacation

I have promised to hang curtain rods and sew a curtain together as a make-shift closet door.  I have promised to go to the bank and to return a child to her house no later than 4:30.  I have promised to clean something–one of many things that desperately need it.  And I have promised myself I will call a friend.  I am on vacation, aren’t I?

And still, I sit here reading through bloggers recently posted on UUpdates, UU agregator.  And crying.

My daughter’s friend was dropped off by her mother and I stood by her car, catching up with her.  Her third grandchild was born in May.  I tell her the story of my dad and in the telling of it, she tears up and then I do and I realize I have become one of THOSE people, you know, the ones who have to tell their sad story over and over and over again.

I think I’m getting bored of it.

But I also feel the need to say it over and over to the different crowds in my life–especially those from whom I have been utterly removed over the last several months.  Explaining my utter removal in a way that makes it acceptable?  i guess.  Still, I find out, coming out of the fog, that my town wants to close all the neighborhood elementary schools and build four at the outskirts of town and I can’t give any reason, any statistics, but my gut says this is a bad idea all around.  And I feel I need to make another phone call to get educated about it so I can fight it, if that’s what’s required.

And then this exhaustion comes over me in waves and tells me to sit down with a bowl of ice cream with fresh raspberries on it and nourish myself for the fight.  And another fight.

I played a computer game over and over this morning and realized what that game allows me to do.  It allows my left brain to be silently engaged in an activity so that my right brain can soar.  If I could only figure out how to write all that right brain stuff down while using my mouse to click on sparkly gems, well, I’d have something.  As such, I have a brain full of imaginative solutions to the problems of my community and my world, but no way to parcel that knowledge out.

Surely I jest; but not really.  My first thought goes to the woman, young, young woman, I helped as she left the Culver’s restaurant that my daughters and I were heading into yesterday.  She was wearing her Culver’s uniform, obviously leaving work.  Obvious, too, was that whoever had the job of watching her daughter that day had to bring her directly to the restaurant, car seat and all.  Here was this young woman of maybe 19, one hand full of baby paraphernalia, the other holding what I later found was the heaviest car seat ever invented, and her daughter who was maybe 15 months old, walking out in front of her, not even holding a hand, or a pants leg or anything.

I saw her struggle, trying to regain her daughter without dropping anything and I simply said, “May I help?”  Seemed like a natural response.  “May I help?” I took the car seat so she could hold her baby’s hand and lead her safely to her car.  Didn’t anybody she work with notice the struggle, I wondered?  Didn’t the person who dropped them all off think to ask “give me your keys and I’ll put the seat in the car?”  Was it all supposed to magically get from one place to another.

We got close to her car which wasn’t far away and she was ready to take the seat from me, but what was her daughter going to do in the parking lot while she was connecting the seat in the back seat of a two-door coupe?  So i stood there and kept the baby from wandering away.

She was grateful and was concerned that she was taking too much of my time.  “I’m in no rush,” I said and left when the baby was lifted and placed in the back seat.

It was the easiest five minutes of my life (despite the HEAVIEST car seat in the known universe).  And I could give it freely because one day, when my two babies were little and it was time to leave the park and one child didn’t want to leave and was causing a scene, another mother came to me and said “let me help you.”  And I did, and she did.

Perhaps this is what I’m learning these days, as I tell my story over and over and over again.  I’m learning to let others help me while learning the power of helping others, in turn.

What help do you need, friend?  How can I be of service?  Oh, that’s right.  There’s the curtain rods and the bank and that long-overdue phone call.  Tell me what you need.  I’ll add it to the hopper. 

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About TinaLBPorter

I write poetry and blog at www.tinalbporter.com. And I'm thrilled to be writing with you.
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