Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Man in a Chair

Let me try to figure this out ... 
feel free to browse my random photos ... this may take me a moment.
A lot has happened in the four hours I've been awake today.

  It was freezing cold this morning...a sock morning for sure.
 I loathe socks (not to look at mind you, I adore looking at's the whole concept of my wiggly toes being tied up in a mobile sleeping bag all day that I don't care for.) 

Anyways, two cups of coffee down and I was out the door with several children in tow. The steering wheel was like ice...a sharp reminder that I need to reaquaint myself with winter...
 the sun was in just the right blinding spot forcing me to wear my husbands oversized glasses (I had forgotten mine...and then while looking for my forgotten glasses realized I had also forgotten my phone.) 
The fuel guage was much lower then I would have hoped for. 
I loathe low fuel guages. 
They creep me out. 
Visions of being stranded on the side of the road, hiking 10 miles (with no phone and men's sunglasses) along the highway with four children in 20 degree weather did  cross my mind at least 47 times in the 16 minutes I was driving.
I do not like socks, I do not like ice, I do not like phone - less purses and I do not like close-to-empty fuel guages Sam I Am.
 I do NOT. 
I do not like them here or there, I do not like them anywhere.

But everything was fine. I didn't crash. I didn't freeze.
I'm pretty sure no one noticed me in the ugliest sunglasses ever. 
It was fine. 
I remembered to say "Thank You." 

 When I got home I had two missed calls from my husband which is unusual. 
You see, I don't really talk on the phone...even to him. 
So a missed call usually means that he actually needed to talk to me, no shootin' the breeze, and most likely it was less then pleasant news. 
I was correct on every point.  
The car broke down...he would need me to pick him up from work Saturday (a hour one way.)
In the middle of this phone call my eldest child came into the kitchen, slightly resembling someone with rickets. It took me a moment to figure out why when my attention came to his scalp.
*sidenote...I've never actually seen anyone with rickets*

Supposedly he used his ipod as a mirror and craft scissors to sculpt. 
Every mother's dream come true. 

At this same moment my third child walks down the stairs in shorts.
"Sweetie, it's winter...can you go put on some pants?"
He comes down in ripped blue jeans.
"Could you put on some sweatpants?"
He doesn't have any.
He gives me his best "I hope this cheers you up" smile and says :

"Sorry we're making this day so complicated for you mom."

I took a breath. I took a much needed breath. 
This day needed a plan. This day needed direction. 
I'm ALWAYS the person for that job.
My type A personality comes even more alive at the mention of a "plan."
If I had dog ears they would be pointed straight up...nose forward...tail out...(I digress again)

"Okay kids, this is what we're doing...we are going to go fill up the car so I can pick dad up when we need to, then we are going to the thrift store to search for pants..."
(in case the car costs thousands of dollars to repair...which means we wouldn't repair it...which means we would need a new vehicle...which means we can only shop at thrift stores...see there? I ALWAYS have a plan.)

This is where it get's good.
I'm driving down the road, enjoying the sunlight through my found sunglasses. Good.
 My phone is next to me buzzing with jokes back and forth with my husband about fuel guages and love and how in my deranged mind...they are very similar things. When the tank is tank is full. Good. Glad we have an understanding.
At this very moment the radio plays the theme song from Charlie Brown Christmas - I'm instantly transported into a world of monotone bald children and pretend to be a dancing animated character. Even Better.
I am my own "high."
I said to God 
"maybe it's good I had to drive to the gas station...this all could have been missed."

The boys and I went into Goodwill on our Pants Hunt. 
We looked and looked but there was nothing in the right size.
sidenote * Finn is very ocd. When we go into a store we have a routine that we have to follow or he has a veryveryveryvery hard time. The Goodwill routine (we also have a Target routine, a please and thank you routine, a good bye routine, a coloring routine...the list goes on and I regress....) always involves looking at toys but not asking for one. *

I told the kids we could go look but then we would need to drive to Target, break the bank,  and just buy Tristan some sweatpants until we had more time to find second hand ones. 

We walked over to the toy section , directly behind the shelving were all of the chairs and sofas. I noticed a young man in a puffy coat sleeping in a chair, a cup of Goodwill's free coffee in hand. We were there for awhile...and he never woke up. 
I stared at his young face, and his worn hands...his worn shoes...his worn coat - and this being the spot, possibly the only spot he could find rest. He probably was only a few years younger then me, 
but I saw my child. I hoped that could never be my child.
 I saw my friend.
 I saw my brother.
I saw myself.
 I saw all of him.
 I saw his hurt and his heart and his baggage. I saw his addictions. I saw his fear, his desperation. 
In all of everything I saw...all I could think was "bless him."
Who? Who bless him?

I didn't want to wake him but seeing him reminded me of what I had PLANNED to do this holiday season and so far have neglected to. 
I asked a male employee to give the sleeping man some cash (which he did) and I left with my boys to go to Target to find things for care packages. 

I cried all the way to Target. 

We bought socks and hand warmers, toothbrushes and toothpaste, towlettes, chapstick, cough drops, 
little tins of altoids, soft granola bars (last year I was reminded by TWO different homeless people that chewy foods were hard on their teeth and they preferred soft things), large reusable containers to store it all in, little packs of kleenex and then a five dollar bill for each bin. 

It seemed cliche. It seemed like not enough.
These little boxes weren't gonna change anyone's life. 
If anything, they were making me feel better.

At the same can't change the world by doing nothing. You can't give someone even five minutes of love if you don't give minutes of love. You can't give a few hours of a full belly if you never chance it...and buy a meal. You can't give warm feet if you ignore cold ones. 
You can't ,if you don't, where you are.

We came home and began our assembly line. 
We ate apple slices and gingerbread in our warm house.
We talked about others and what is useful on cold days.
I was glad we didn't buy our laminate floors last week because now we at least have money to fix our car (hopefully.) I was glad Goodwill didn't have pants. 
I just felt glad for a lot of things.

I smiled at my boys...with their big hearts and their bright eyes. I smiled at Brady's now covered head and thought how wonderful it was that he cut his hair because now I can see him in hats. 

It started with a fuel guage...with a mind nightmare.
It started with bright sun in my eyes, socked feet and freezing hands.
It started with a broken down car and a pair of ripped blue jeans.

Tristan changed into his new pants.
"How do you like them bud?"
He looked at me from the top of the stairs
"totally zen mom."

It ended with a full tank,
 with a peaceful mind, and with direction.
Light spread through my eyes and encompassed my heart.
All I feel is good. All I feel is peace. 

This is the kingdom...this is the gift.
This is the here and there and everywhere.
This is it.
This is the chance.

I had  "keep me in the light" tattooed on my inner arm a couple weeks ago.
When people asked me what it meant I didn't know how to explain it. It's not a sentence.
 It's a story.
This is what it means.

okay...i figured it out. 

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” 
― Abraham Lincoln

“Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, "What else could this mean?” 
― Shannon L. Alder

“When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him. In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” 
― Albert Camus


  1. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing. xo

  2. I love this. Just love it. Isn't it strange, or maybe serendipitous , how things work out?
    A bad day to a good day. Lessons learned.
    And what a wonderful thing.....the care packages.
    Thanks for sharing all this.

  3. lovely post, so full of what really matters in life.