Mary Beth Writes

“Unexpected travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.” Kurt Vonnegut

Yesterday I got a text at 5AM from one of our kids. “Mom, are you awake?”

Heart stops.

Heart starts again.

Nancy Drew (her cat) was sick. Nancy had been stumbling, rolling to her side, couldn’t walk, tried to jump up to our daughter’s bed and fell. Daughter took Nancy to a 24/7 emergency vet clinic.

Obviously, she had already done the only thing there was to do. Get to a vet.

Daughter was almost back home, sans cat, when she called. The three of us worried together and then Len and I fell back asleep. Two hours later we realized it might be a good idea to get a crate big enough to put Nancy in when she would come home from the vet. Keep her from jumping and falling. Keep Frank (the other cat) from bothering her.

So yesterday we drove first to Madison to borrow a dog crate from our son and daughter-in-law. Son had had enough time to make a cherry custard pie for us. (He was also boiling a deer skull in his garage for a friend who wanted it for whatever unfathomable reasons men want deer skulls.) My son is a true Wisconsin Renaissance man.

Next, we drove from Madison to Chicago to deliver the crate. Then we sat around a few hours watching the cats, watching Nancy Drew looking much better and not stumbling at all. We ate pie. We talked. 

Len and I got home around 8:00 last night. Nancy Drew is doing well and has an appointment to see her regular vet this afternoon.

Our other Chicago daughter called this morning. The nanny can’t come to their house tomorrow and daughter has some important work meetings.

“Umm?”

Absolutely. We can drive two hours to watch our grand-kiddos. It will be a lot of energy and a LOT of fun.

Daughter called back a few hours later. Things got rearranged and we are no longer needed.

Won’t miss getting up before 5. Will miss playing with the kids.

I read these tweets this morning:

“It took me a long, long time to realize that I should not try to build my schedule based on what I could accomplish in crisis mode.” @MaryRobinette

“My therapist told me that if I had to perform ‘at my best’ all the time, then it wouldn’t be my best, it’d be my norm.” @yeseniaa

When I was 16 my sister told me this. “If someone asks you to do something and it isn’t illegal or immoral, say yes. That’s how to have adventures.”

Most of us have learned how to say no to plenty of things. I say no to getting my hair professionally managed. I say no to many lovely and/or important opportunities in my congregation and community. I say no to social invitations I know I would enjoy because I want to spend my energy on personal projects. I have enough time to do more things, but not enough focus. You know?

But family is different. When they ask (they don’t ask very often) we say yes.

Maybe the way to have adventures is to say yes? The way to love and belong to your family is to say yes? The way to know who you consider family and who are just the people you are related to is to observe who you say yes to and who you don’t? The way to have a rich interior life is to say yes to oneself?

I think it’s curious what we say yes to. Dancing lessons from God. 

Comments

Leonard's picture

Try what's on your plate. You might find that it's not so bad, after all.

Love this one! It’s so “that’s how life is”. Cherry custard pie made my mouth water. Glad Nancy Drew is better.

One of the VERY BEST!! One of those 'bingo!' moments!! thank you. xxx's
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate knowing when something touches "home."

Amen to all of this!!!!

Add new comment

CAPTCHA

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

A-Z Danger

Years ago Len took this photo of a lone coyote. 

2/7/2023 

I just finished rereading Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News. Boy oh boy do I love her writing.

The story asks this. How do people who were damaged by their childhoods find purpose, meaning, and love as adults? Good question, huh?

A-Z Cats

This is Lil Girl hanging out while I wrote this. 

...

2/2/2023

Cats

 “Every family needs a cat so there is someone to blame everything on who won’t actually care.” Quote attributed to Len. 

I was 21 when I got my first cat through the fraught circumstance of someone dropping him off on a highway. He made his way to the backstep of my brother’s house where Sebastian the dog began to bark his head off. Paul went to the door to discover a kitten hanging by its wee claws to the screen door.

A-Z Barbara

Barbara 1/26/2023

A-Z means I’m writing short takes on random topics and I’m going in alphabetical order. I love this quote: “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.”

That’s the spirit I’m pursuing: Undisciplined, irreverent, and original.

A-Z, Alaska

1/25/2023 

I’ve never been to Alaska. I’m sure I’d love it but going there is not a big dream for either Len or me.

However, this. When our son was around 12 he developed a crush on all things Alaskan. Kid who lives in a ranch house on a Midwestern cul-de-sac wants to get lost in tundra and mountains with moose and wolves. Yup.

At first he just talked, dreamed, read books, and watched shows about Alaska. Then, at 14 he got a part-time job as a janitor at a vet clinic and he kept that job until he went to college. It was a good fit for a kid not drawn to homework.

A to Z

1/25/2023

I am not exactly depressed, but I can whip up a pretty good glum at almost any moment. There have been about three sunny days since Thanksgiving, and four colds, and I’m feeling it. How about you?

We can’t even properly whine. Not with the Atmospheric Rivers of Doom in California, and tornadoes in the south. And all the other glum and hateful news.

Sara Kurtz & Healthcare by Zip Code? Really?

1/22/2023 

Many of you have been very generous in the past. Please think about making a donation to the GoFundMe account of Sara Kurtz. Donate here. 

Who is Sara? She’s a friend of my niece Susan.

Tag Cloud

9/11 17 minutes 500 Words A-Z AARPtaxes AAUW abortion Acadia accident Accountable Advent aging Alaska anniversary antibiotics antlers apples appointments Arrows art Ashland August Augustine baby Badlands balance Baldwin Barbara Barkskins Beauty Becky Becoming Esther Berry birthday bistro BLM BookReport books boy scout Bread BrokenDays BuyAngry Cabeza de Vaca Cahokia calendars Canada canoe cat romance cats cello Chicago China Choosing Christmas cilantro Cinnabuns circus clouds Clowns clutter Colonialism comet ComfortZone CommonSense community consumerism Cops Corvid-19 Courage Covid-19 Crazy creditreport creosote CrimeShows danger DarkRiver death Debate December DecisionFatigue decluttering democracy dentist depression Destination Today Detroit Didion disasterprep dogs dollhouse Dreams Duty Easter eBay Eclipse election EmilyDickinson eschatology Esquipulas exit polls eyes Fable FairTrade family farmer Fata Morgana firealarm Fitness Five Flatbread Flexible flu Fort de Chartres frame Franc FrancGarcia friends frugal FrugalHacks Frugality frustration Ft.Ticonderoga fusion Galena Gannets Garden GarfieldParkConservatory Gaspe genius geode GeorgeFloyd gerrymandering ghosts gifts girls gorgons GovernorThompsonStatePark Graduation grandkids granola groceries Guatemala gum guns happiness HaveYouEver? hawks healthcare Healthinsurance hearings heart HelleKBerry heroes hike History home HomeRepair Honduras Hope hurricane impeachment Innkeeper Instincts integrity InternetPrivacy Interview InviteMe2Speak James Baldwin Jan 6 Janus JoyceAndrews Judy JulianofNorwich justice Karen Lamb LangstonHuges LaphamPeak laundry LeeLeeMcKnight lemming Len Light Lincoln Little Women LockedOut Loki loneliness LouisArmstrong Love Ludington Macaw macho Manitoulin MargaretFuller Maria Hamilton Marquette marriage Marsden Hartley masks Mayan MayaWorks meme Memories men Middlemarch MilesWallyDiego MindfulChickens Mistakes MLK moon Mother MothersDay mouser movies museums must-haves Mustapha Nancy Drew New Mexico New York City Nomadland OBUUC Ocotillo OnaJudge ordinary OscarRomero osprey Outside oximeter Parade mayhem PastorBettyRendon Paul Hessert PDQ Penny persimmon photos Pi Pies pineapples poetry Preaching privacy Protest QE2 Quern quest Questions Rabbit holes racism recipe recipes recommendations Remember RepresentationMatters Reruns responsetoKapenga Retirement rhubarb Ricky rime RitesofPassage Rosemary Ruether Roses Roti Ruth SamaritanWoman Sanctuary Sandhillcranes Santuario de Chimayo SaraKurtz SaraRodriguez sculpture Sermon ServantsoftheQuest sewing Shepherd Shontay ShortStory shoulder sick sickness Slower snow Social Security SofritoBandito solstice South Dakota SpaceShuttle spirituality spring square feet staining stele Stereotypes stories StoryStarts stress Survival swim taxes teenager thankgsgiving Thanksgiving TheBridge TheMaid ThePerpetualYou ThreeBillBoards Three Thing Three Things ThreeThings TidalBore TimeBeing toddler Tom tortillas Trains travel Traveler Tubing turtle Twilight Bark Tyrone Ukraine Ulysses Grant UnrelatedObservations Up North urgency vacation vaccine Valentines vanilla Vietnam vision VivianWokeUpDrowning vole volunteer WalkingAndSeeing Wampanaog war WarsanShire weather weaving Webs wedding whines WhyAttendChurch Wiley Willa WillaCather Wisteria
Ad Promotion