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!!!!

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WHITE CAKE!

The picture is our wedding cake, made by my friend Karen, who drove it from Indiana to Chicago on the hottest day of that year. It was in the back seat so their two little boys had to ride in front (remember when kids could ride in front?). They got lost in the city but I didn't know that for years because Karen and her husband start early and had time to get lost and then figure it out. Sometimes wedded bliss is a lot of work. 

The following story and recipe is not about the wedding cake, but it is the photo I have...

...

6/30/2022

How Do We Remember What We Remember?

6/30/2022

The Jan 6 Hearings, huh? This is an amazing moment in US history and I’m trying to understand our incredibly intense response. Four of 10 voters have watched at least some of the hearings, which is 20,000,000 people. It’s not just me that can’t look away.

Our Terrible Canoe Adventure

The eagle photo was taken by Len - but not on this trip! 

6/23/2022

We are fine but I have a tale to tell.

American Successes / American Failures

Did you ever have to tell the truth when it was hard? Did you ever lie to avoid a hard situation?  Did you ever know a hard, wrong thing but you told no one because it was going to be complicated and some people wouldn’t believe you and you might end up disrespected or worse for “telling on” someone else?

Most people work hard at learning truth-telling when they are 4 and 5-years old.

Molecule Moving

6/8/2022     

I didn’t know a Panoply of Dental Moments was coming my way this week, but such is life with teeth. One can brush, floss, slosh, and swish - but if one’s teeth want to crumble, they do. Yesterday I had my six-month cleaning. The hygienist said several times that I brush and floss beautifully. I was proud and thinking maybe I would give myself a “well-done” sticker when I got home. Then the dentist came in to do the check-up and said two fillings had cracks around them and needed to be replaced.

Rough Stories, Tough Week

6/1/2022 

Last Friday evening on PBS Tonight David Brooks said something like this. “I am afraid for all of us. The news just pummels us.”

There are as many tough stories as there are fingers on a closed fist. The shooting in Uvalde. The shooting in Buffalo. The corrupt power of the NRA and other obscene wealth-mongers that are destroying our society from the inside of elected reps’ pockets outwards. Ukraine. Global climate mayhem. Oh, and covid is everywhere. Less traumatic for most; long covid for some. So that’s six fingers on that pugilistic fist.

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