Apologies, reader, for the rain delay (lack of blog)
yesterday. It was this wonderful Spring rain in the morning, and instead of
sitting at my stoic kitchen table, and peering out the window while writing
morning pages, meditating, and composing a blog, I took my mug of
coffee into my studio’s bedroom/living room, tucked myself into the corner of my couch
against the window, and sat next to my cat on the arm of the couch watching the rain make everything greener.
It was warm and cozy, and I just couldn’t bring myself to
break the calm of the spell. The sound of the rain, the steam from the mug,
watching my cat’s chest expand and contract with each breath. Oh, calm! How I
miss you! Oh, rest, you ineffable minx!
I let my thoughts roam over the landscape, and thought how I
missed my mom, when she was here last, and sat on this very couch with this
very cat. And so, I called her. – Strange and funny thing to do, eh? Think of
someone, and actually call them? Not
text or poke or email – but make a phone call – God, it’s luxury and connection
I knew she’d just returned from her annual trip with her
beau to some Caribbean island (Back, Envy, BACK!), and even with only a half hour (barely enough
time for us to scratch the surface of a conversation), I called to find out how
I love talking to her. Sure, there are times when it’s
grating, and I have to remind myself she’s human with flaws and working on
them. But, on the whole, especially these past several years, talking with her
is more refueling than it is draining – which is a gift.
She’s just hilarious. Our conversations meander, and
side-track, and disambiguate, and non-sequiter, yet always find their way back,
like six degrees of separation. It’s these things that I know I’ll miss most
when she’s gone. And why I’m trying to get what I can now, to call, and make
plans to visit, and email when I can.
Call it morbid, call it realistic. I just want to store it
all. Engage in it all.
Coincidentally, one of the anecdotes from her trip was about
interacting with the armed guard at the airport, the process of going through
customs and homeland security, and the stark seriousness of it all. And, so, as
she is wont to do, she planted a funny sentence into the bleak and rote
exchange with the check-point guard.
He cracked a smile and then cracked wise. Suddenly, it was
an exchange between people instead of
I told her how synchronistic it was that just this very week
I wrote a blog
about learning from her to talk with strangers, to make our interactions
with one another just that much more engaged and alive.
I shared with her my own story about being in Port Authority
around the Bush Iraq invasion, and bantering briefly with a guard walking
through the orange-tiled halls about exchanging his gun for some flowers.
I love that she does this, and that I do it, as I wrote the
other day. It’s part of what makes this life worth living and engaging in, part
of the surprise of being alive. When you engage, you don’t know what will
happen, you’re rolling the ball onto the Roulette wheel. Maybe the person won’t
want to play, maybe they’ll look at you with a “look, I just want to clock out,
please stop talking to me” impatience. But, perhaps, both of your days will be
lightened just that little bit. Maybe, in fact, it’s the only time you talk to
someone all day, as can happen in our disconnected world of modern
I asked my “intuitive” once what she thought about my moving
back to New York-ish to be closer to her, since sometimes it really is painful
to live so far away, to not get to pick up the phone and say, hey that movie’s
playing on 72nd tonight, wanna go? Or, I just saw this exhibit is opening at
the FIT Fashion Museum, meet up this week? Or, can you come with me to Sephora,
I need to find a new blush?
Honestly, it pains my heart to not get to do that with her.
But, my intuitive, whenever this was, a year or so ago, had
a pretty logical answer: If you go, you’ll be her caretaker, and that will not
be good for you.
It’s true. There’s a fine line from being involved to
being too involved, and there’s a
pattern of being her caretaker that I don’t want to repeat from my childhood.
And it’s a role I know I can easily fall into, without strong enough
boundaries: Love as Caretaking, instead of Love as Equanimity.
The jury has been out indefinitely on my move back to the
East coast. It doesn’t have to be New
York. It doesn’t have to look
like moving into caretaking distance. It can look like, “I’m coming down or up
for the weekend, let’s do stuff,” which is easier than “I’m taking a
Luckily, I am not in charge of my destination, I’m only in
charge of doing the work. Perhaps my boundaries become stronger, perhaps I am
better able to stay out of the grooved rut of caretaker. And perhaps they
don’t, and I allow myself to say, That’s okay, Mol.
But, on a rainy Saturday morning, I can still give her a
call, and we can laugh, meander, and enhance one of the cherished relationships I will ever have.