Yesterday was built around our daughter.
Most of the morning we worked out logistics for the big event: her performance with her hula classmates in front of hundreds people at a swanky mall in Honolulu.
Between rehearsals, prepping, primping, transportation, eating, performance, and post-performance bonding, six hours of a Saturday mostly flew by.
Without missing a beat, though, and no costume change, we drove straight from the mall to a Girl Scout holiday party with wonderful friends, games, food, presents, conversations, and another rush of time. Five hours later, all The Three of Us could think about was sleep.
A funny thing happened, though, on the way to gathering with other parents at the stage area to cheer our kids on: a salesperson approached my husband and me with moisturizer samples from a boutique where even walking in and breathing the rarefied air carries the expectation of leaving a tip! I guess we were profiled!
Except that the tips were given to me by a young man from France who carefully massaged the left side of my face while telling me how to care for my skin. I swallowed down laughs and tried not to joke too loudly with my husband that this impromptu face treatment was going to cost a fortune.
Actually, said Guillaume, it would cost just a few hundred dollars and last two years because even after years of tennis and distance running, my skin, thanks to not smoking and my already being a fan of organic creams, was in pretty good shape.
He then asked the question I had been waiting for: my age. This time, I could not stifle my laughter. I made him guess. A good salesman, he made me several years younger. We talked a little more, but I was determined not to spend any money and to make it to my daughter’s hula performance in time. Guillaume expertly applied at least $30 of product to the other side of my face, made another sales pitch, gave us his boutique’s contact information, and let us go.
On the way to Girl Scout festivities, I talked to my husband about the fun and unexpected boutique experience. Mind you, I grew up avoiding malls. I’ve never had a credit card. I’ve usually held two or three jobs. Just last week, I blogged about how I had purchased my last piece of new clothing. I’m a fan of free samples.
My husband turned to me in the car at a traffic stop, smiled and said, “I’ve never seen your skin look better. Maybe you should consider buying the product.”
You see how lucky I am. Maybe it was my husband’s kind words, Guillaume’s magical potions, or exhilaration about my daughter fitting in so well into the communities we have found in Hawaii that I felt lighter, maybe even 5 years younger!
A day later, I’m back to the challenges and joys of parenthood, thinking of what I need to accomplish at work this week, and uneasy thoughts about the state of world affairs, but I believe my skin still has a certain glow to it — or maybe that’s just residue from the yogurt my daughter spilled on me this morning.
Happy Wednesday everyone!
Today is a restart: the beginning of year two of this blog that thanks to all of you I knew I needed to continue; the first week of Wimbledon; reentry into the world after four days away with my family from our normal routines; a reconditioning of my body for a surprise marathon in a few weeks; more urgency for my husband and me to prepare our daughter for second grade as summer weeks leave us with greater rapidity (school begins in Hawaii in early August); and a stark reminder with recent world headlines that every day, actually every hour can bring us gratitude rather than being taken for granted.
I personally love routines, but it’s easy to get stuck in them and realize too late that those nearest and dearest to you are maybe not so enamored of them. Even a little break from familiar but at times too entrenched habits is an opportunity to hit the restart button.
But before I wax a little too philosophical, especially for the first entry of year two of Tennis, Trisomy 21 and Taking in Life Together, I want to thank all of you for your support of my unconventional family, of my writing, for cheering me on as I get ready for my 19th marathon in a few weeks, for savoring life together!
I found time over the long holiday weekend to refocus, to review for the new year where I want to put my energy, what habits I hope to keep and those I would like to change.
So coming back to the world after a fair amount of time away from the office and far from the madding crowd, reentry has been blessedly gentle! I soaked up cuddle moments with my daughter this morning, and her two dads decided to stretch out the holiday gifts and cards, the last of which will be opened today.
Here in Hawaii we have what I savor: community — in our faith life, in our jobs, my daughter’s school, the YMCA, our neighborhood. Being on an island, you start to know how everybody is interconnected. Where ever we go, we run into friends!
Our neighbors had a holiday feast with the families of four homes so close to each other that when someone sneezes, I say “Bless you” through the window, and I usually hear in response, “Mahalo!”
I’m still recovering from a dog bite that is slowly mending, so I didn’t make it to the feast, but I heard laughter and plates clanking as I drifted off to early sleep. Before that, though, I listened to music that will help me a great deal since the national election: Mozart, the theme from the movie Out of Africa, and Pachelbel’s Canon in D.
Many years ago during a time of uncertainty a friend once said to me, “Listen to this music. Live life starting today.” That is a great intention, along with being a good listener, and I want to share it with my wonderful followers of this blog.
I come from a family where working hard is a virtue. A real compliment for anyone of any age in my vast extended family was “He [or she] is a real worker.”
As I’ve gone through life, I’ve learned that outside my close-knit family of Bavarian heritage and my faith home with the Quakers, most people don’t use that phrase nor seek it out. I’ve learned that it’s fine to work hard, but don’t do it as a badge of honor nor foist one’s personal standards of workmanship on others.
All that said, with the holidays approaching, it’s hard for me to check out of the Task At Hand mode and switch to a different gear that might, for example, mean spending hours hanging out with my daughter, reading a good book after she has gone to bed, or my favorite leisurely activity on my own: cleaning!
I once trained to become a monk, and I have always loved living with very little. Is it any wonder at all that I’m a true fan of the tiny house movement that has inspired many a television series and provided couple time for my husband and me as we take the shows in on the multi-purpose futon in our multi-purpose family room?!
Of course raising a small child means I need to be very careful when I embark on my little cleaning and paring down sprees. I try to limit myself to my few areas in our home although this morning I glanced longingly at the piles of T-shirts in my husband’s man cave, dreaming of reducing the volume by one half.
For me our home in Hawaii is one of the nicest places I’ve ever lived even if the neighbor’s dog bit me the other day. When last month a friend noted how clean our tiny home was, I had to stop my chest from swelling too much. I took it in and smiled, but I won’t wear the compliment as a badge of honor!
Even in Hawaii, with most of the state bathed in warm weather, it feels like winter. I wore a sweater this morning and have not taken it off all day. After living here a few years, I notice when the temperature dips into the low 70s. I would have a really tough time being in the last state we lived, Iowa, where it’s in the low 20s!
Only if someone forced me would I spend holidays in the air. I’d rather walk 100 miles than fly 100 miles. I miss my friends and family on the Mainland, but, call me a wimp, not enough to get in a plane. I like the interisland flights in Hawaii. The planes are smaller, the altitude is lower, yours truly can actually breathe.
But I still think of Iowa, and when I came across this photo the other day of my daughter from a few years ago, the magic of the holidays returned even though it’s my busiest time of year at work. We’re Quakers and Buddhists, but we have a tree in our home. We keep it up all year because I like to think of every day as magical, but right now it’s pretty sparkly! Now that the marathon is over, I can focus better on giving my daughter holiday memories to keep no matter what the temperature.