Tuesday, January 13, 2015
I met Betty today.
I met her in the place you would least expect to find her. My Mom, who is visiting from DC and I were getting pedicures at a little toe shop in Santa Barbra. You know the kind, the nondescript store front with the neon-lights that say, "OPEN" in the strip mall. It has rows of sparkly clean and cozy chairs with little whirlpools for your feet. That was where my mother and I were getting emergency repairs for our beleaguered feet. The holidays were tough on our tired toes. Too many children with ever growing feet stepped on them! While mom was getting her "French" and I was watching my "Blame it on Rio" dry, in walked Betty. She spoke to the owner about getting her nails "buffed" and her toes "polished" and then as luck would have it, she sat in the chair next to me.
Betty had a little trouble getting into the chair and getting her black Reeboks off. I helped her stow her bag and she comfortably got her bright pink toes into the tub. No surprise to those who know me, I introduced myself and we started to chat. Turns out that her sparkly clear blue eyes had seen many things in her 92 years of living, including 4 children and over 70 years of marriage. Along the way she had lost one of her four Beauties and a year ago on December 23, she lost her True Love, her husband. I loved Betty from our hello. Betty is tiny, but not frail and she drove herself to get her nails done... I know right!!! Inside that tiny little body was more wisdom than I could get out in our brief conversation. We have a friend in common, Jeffrey's 101 year old Grandmother lives in the same complex. Apparently they are bingo buddies. Guess I may need to crash bingo next week.
I asked Betty what makes a happy life and what tips could she give me for launching happy, healthy and purposeful adults into our big world.
About the happy life, she told me simply that we live in a world full of judgments. In her experience, the happiest and most joyful folks were those who didn't judge, but who loved.
Betty tip number one: Don't judge--Love!
She also told me that none of us are perfect and that many people seem to take their time focusing on other's foibles and not seeing that they themselves have just as many shortcomings.
Betty tip number two: Remember you aren't perfect. Focus on everyone's strengths.
About raising Beauties, she explained that children learn from example. She talked about how she and her Love were partners in every sense. That neither of them were perfect individually, but by working together they became an amazing team. I'm thinking Betty created the term co-parenting! She emphasized that we are models and examples for our children in how we live our life... As we live our's, so they will live their's.
Betty tip number three: Lead by example.
Her last lesson was the best.
Betty told me that Mothers are by nature, made to nurture. She explained that it is one of our primary roles. Even after our children have grown or in my case while I'm still raising mine, I must pay attention to see others that need to be nurtured. And as mothers, it is our responsibility to reach out and fill that need.
Betty tip number four: Yep, we must find those who need our love and love'em.
It was a fascinating conversation. I was smitten by Betty, a women so open, so filled with life and joy and willing to share her truth in such a simple and beautiful way.
There we were, three Moms just sitting, talking over red toe nail polish... (She had tired of pink and needed something a little flashier!)
When I got up to leave, I couldn't resist, I walked over and gave her a hug. I told Betty she had made my day at 10:15 in the morning.
And I thanked her for providing us with an amazing exquisite moment at the start of a day that was planned to be filled with many more.
Today was filled with just that--so many moments and Betty was just the first one and it occurred when and where I least expected it.
Perhaps that is the most important lesson that Betty taught me.
Always be open and ready for an amazing Exquisite Moment. You never can know when they may occur.
Thank you Betty, wisdom figure, life teacher, wife, mother, grandmother and lover of red toes!
photo credit: Disco-Dan via photopin cc
at 2:38 PM
Thursday, January 1, 2015
Thank you to everyone who reached out to say my last post resonated with them. I love that by walking together, we share a combined truth. When you let me know how your journey is going, I can focus my energies on speaking to you directly. So thank you to everyone who collectively sighed and said, "Yep, that's me too!"
There are so many of us out there in this big busy world.
I thought maybe that this red pen post had a second part. I don't think there is a trickier time of the year than the time from Halloween through the New Year. In our little family, that extends through January. You see, I have a very special January birthday in my house.
Norah's birthday has always needed a little extra love. Jeff, Ian and I are all August birthdays, so we make a big deal about the month of August. We usually have our family vacation in August as well. So I'm a little extra sensitive that my sweet one needs her birthday month not to be the January blues. I'm not alone. Some of the closest women in my life have December and January birthdays and we have all spent much time sharing notes on how to make them special. From rocking Halloween though January, it is an exhausting time for the battle trenched mom's of this world. During these stressful times, it can be too easy to pull out the red pen and grade our personal performance.
How many of us, would give ourselves a passing grade?
As we prepare ourselves for the collective sigh of the January marathon completion, many of us will begin the quest to start our New Year's Resolutions. My hope for all of you out there, is that you tell your resolutions to stick it.
This year's resolution should be simply, to throw the red pen away. Be a little kinder to yourself. Not your Beauties, not your spouse, not your parents, not your besties... First, be kinder to yourself.
I've been thinking about this, if I were my own bestie, I would have dumped me years ago. I'm never that good to me. I'm good to everyone else, but not to myself. I beat myself up when I'm tired and need to have a rest day. I feel guilty when I take myself out for a cut and color, or a new lip gloss or even if I just sit on my tush and watch horrible, mindless television all day. I always say I should be doing more. I exhaust myself with my own self critiques, I have a tough time just relaxing. Have you ever wondered why so many of us sleep terribly? Because it's the only time of our day we have our minds to ourselves where we can really invest in long red pen moments!
We need to end the madness and make 2015 about loving ourselves.
I'm going to encourage all of us to date ourselves. Make time to date yourself, discover what you love, what brings you joy, what inspires and fascinates you. I always say, put the oxygen mask on yourself first, but it's more than that... Take the time to really listen to yourself, meet yourself and love being in the room with who you are...
Let me be the first to tell you, I think you are amazing.
Maybe this is the year that you do a little therapy and find some of your patterns. Maybe you try a different house of worship or you reinvest in your faith life in a profound way. Or this is the year you think about that career you have been too scared to consider. This is the year you love your body just the way that it is. You worked hard for those stretch marks, and your boobs are amazing they gave some Beauties the only food they needed. I look at my stretch marks and think I laid in bed for months to bring these fantastic Beauties into this world. Or maybe this is the time that you just sit back and you own the fact that you are smarter, braver and more beautiful than you ever realized and just own it! At 44, I'm finally starting to do some of these things, and I'm finding, I'm healthier, happier and more in love with the fantasticeness of what God has created in me!
I think we are told as women not to brag, or even at times to step back and push others forward. Maybe 2015 should be about, owning our own internal fabulousness and sharing that light to the world.
So that is my prayer and New Year's hope for all of us. To throw the red pens out and hug ourselves just a little bit more.
You my love are amazing and I love you just the way you are!
Happy New Year!
Namaste my loves, namaste.
photo credit: theilr via photopin cc
at 11:48 AM