Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Thank you Wave

The Thank you Wave

You know the Thank you Wave, the one you get when you let someone into the traffic flow. Doesn’t it create a smile on your face? The Wave that says so many things.

 * Thanks for letting me in, I have to get to the daycare to pick up my child.

*  Thanks, I’ve had a rotten day and I really appreciate it!

*  Aww thanks, so many other people ignored my turn signal.

Just a simple Wave.

Freshly arrived from a big city into my new hometown, many decades ago, I found it remarkable how many people gave you the Wave. But now my town is a big city and you see the Wave less frequently. People are more rushed, people are more busy.

So, let’s start today wherever you are in the world.

Let’s start a trend together. The giver and the receiver. 

To pause on our way, acknowledge someone’s need, be courteous, then let them in! You might be surprised when you get the Wave. It’s just a simple Wave, but it’s so much more.

Do it today. Do it tomorrow. Do it even when you rather not! Giving and receiving as we continue our lives.

Kindness, a two-way street . We need more of it.

Then tell me where you’re waving from.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

5 Boys and a Dog Named Radar

Mrs. Packet was the mother of a friend of mine from my teenage years. 

She was tall and lean and mothered five sons, the one she called Number Two was my friend. Four of her sons topped 6 feet 3 inches and the remaining one had red hair. The looks of that son were never talked about because all the boys had such different faces anyway, not one like another, except four of them had long legs.

Mr. Packet was what might be called a busy man. He hardly ever seemed to be around and I don't remember his face at all.

5 Boys and a Dog Named Radar
Mrs. Packet was adorable. She had convinced her sons that she was quite deaf, but I think she used this as an excuse to her advantage. Who truly wants to hear what comes out of your five boys anyway, verbally or in some other manner?

Once when I was visiting, I escaped into the kitchen and saw her as she sat quietly sipping her tea. Silently she sat in the dark pretending maybe of a life without so many growing boys and men around her house.

She looked at me at first as an oddity, a girl no doubt who might actually listen to what she said. We chatted for a few minutes although I don't recall what it was about. Maybe it was in reference to something I was wearing because surely she didn't have that kind of conversation with any of the five. I don't remember repeating anything so I kept her secret that just maybe she wasn't as deaf as her household believed.

The Packets had a dog named Radar. He was small and wiry and ran in circles around the tall legs and the red-haired one that lived in his house. Radar barked as each boy sped down the road every morning and announced joyfully each past-curfew arrival late in the evening. But of course, Mrs. Packet didn’t hear any of it, maybe.

I wonder now, decades later, what those five boys did with their lives and if any of them have a dog. And I hope that Number Two turned out as kind as his Mom was to me in the silence of that kitchen.

For more on my interest in large families, read No Pretend Siblings Needed.

*Mrs. Packet's name has been changed but Radar's name has not, if you think you know this family, say hello from me.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Crossing the Street Between the Pylons

Crossing the Street Between the Pylons Day 13 - my mini NaNoWriMo

I’m getting tired of the orange pylons that we have along every thoroughfare. The construction in my city seems like it has been going on forever. Pylons that were shiny and orange are now even less appealing, they’ve been rained on and snowed on and run over too.

In my attempts to circumvent some of the busier, traffic-jammed roads on the way to work each day, I drove a different route this morning. A familiar route, through a part of town where I used to live a decade ago. 

I could see the passing of time, the renovations up and down the street. I saw the large For Sale sign on the house on a corner saying, “legal basement suite”, which in other words meant, ‘more money required’.

I wove through a community that held many memories, of walking with my children when they clung to my hands. And then later of them being dragged for a family walk as they walked on the other side of the street pretending not to know me.

As I wove my way into the area on the more 'affluent' side of the street, I proceeded through two school zones, slowing for the speed bumps and watching for excited little children on their way to school. 

Crossing the Street Between the Pylons
Then a smile spread across my face, I couldn’t help it when I saw him. A mentally challenged man I used to see each morning more than a decade ago, I'll call him Tommy for this writing. He could be in his thirties or forties by now. Hard to tell with those amongst us who live happily. He cautiously made his way across the icy sidewalks oblivious of the clear sidewalks on the other side of the street. I was reminded of how content he looked each morning in his tidy clothes and brushed back hair when I used to see him each morning.

We all have orange pylons in our lives, I wonder how Tommy deals with his?

How often do we forget to acknowledge the simple things? The people who teach us just by being on the sidelines of our day?

Let's make peace with who we are and where we are in our lives. Because crossing the street might make it easier but it won't necessarily make us happier.

We all have orange pylons in our lives, how do we deal with ours? (Tweet This)

Crossing the street might make it easier but does it make us happier? (Tweet This)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

No Pretend Siblings Needed

No Pretend Siblings Needed - Day 13 mini #NaNoWriMo

While I was driving to work on Monday I realized that it was the first time since Thursday morning that I had been alone.

Some of us might grow up in households with lots of noise and laughter and action. And although those years in my life are a long (long, long) time ago, the house I grew up in was quiet. No siblings to blame anything on. Only myself for company. Lonely was not a word I knew, I always had me.

Perhaps that is one of the reasons that I like quiet best. I am used to it. Quiet gives me time to ponder, to dream, to create, and to make up a story.

No Pretend Siblings Needed
And yet, I have always been fascinated by large families. I believe that I went through a stage when I created some pretend siblings in my mind. If I remember correctly it was common for me to even boss them around, and after some time they just didn’t come back! 

I have been known to ask my friends who come from big families questions such as ‘do you have a favourite sibling?’, ‘was he always the black sheep?’, ‘did you think that she’d really join the circus?’ Okay, maybe I haven't used the last one!

So while I was sitting in the now quite usual traffic back-up on 14 St on Monday, I had a chance to untangle all the interactions which had happened in the last few days. To see the richness of the conversations, the predictable jokes, the moving waves of discussions, the touching of someone's hair, the familiar laugh across the room. The feeling of family.

As the red light changed and each lane of traffic moved to allow the flow, I thought of all that had happened since Thursday

I saw the wonder of each moving piece. How and when each supported the other, perhaps even anticipated it. And then how each one had the ability to move back into their own life. Ah, that is family.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Returning to the Habit

Returning to the Habit - Day 12 mini #NaNoWriMo

Yes, this writing challenge is difficult. What words do you put down and which do you discard? 

You might have noticed that I haven’t written here for a few days. Oh, I had a really good reason, getting married takes some energy and focus away from sitting at a keyboard, I'm sure you'd agree. But we all have reasons, don’t we?

Long hours at work, a child who won’t sleep, sore back or wrists? How about, no ideas?

I can’t fill in the gaps of the days that I missed. I thought about doing that for a few minutes, I would just "catch up", I  said to myself. How would anyone know? I could fake it. But I believe that I need to acknowledge just how difficult this mini – NaNoWriMo truly is.

Festivities have ended at my home. Along with the quiet of departing family members is the realization of how quickly I can fall out of a habit. And I need to own that before I can sit down to do this again. Is it no wonder that only 18% of NaNoWriMo participants complete it?

Let’s face it, writing is my creative enjoyment. But to feel creative I also need to know that my other responsibilities are taken care of first. I like a tidy home, I like to make my lunch for the next day, I like to have some time to catch up with my husband. He’s the one that made the dinner which gives me the leftovers for my next work-day lunch. He deserves any creative success I might achieve.

Here’s another excuse, I want the perfect photo that works with my written word. Which sends me off on a tangent to find it in my “many” folders of memories. Although I am quick to preach that “done is better than perfect”(Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In), I struggle with utilizing this gem when I sit to write each day.

So here I am climbing back on the writing train, with a deeper understanding of the commitment required and why a writer deserves every single cent of the sale of their articles/books. This writing is dang hard work.

Most writers start a new project right after they're done, that new idea usually came to them while they were working on something else. It is endless. It’s a wonder that more writers don’t throw their computers/injure themselves with their pens.

And so the circle goes, finish it, put it aside, it might not be perfect but it’s out of your head and on the page. 

Note to self: there are no perfect photos or (Tweet This) in this post. Yet the world continued to revolve. For today, it is done. Tomorrow, do it again, maybe better.