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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Happy Birthday to Len

11/30/2022 

Today is Len’s birthday. I told him this morning I might write about him but I would let him read whatever I said first. He said not to run it past him, he’d like the surprise of reading it when you all do. Let’s see what I come up with.

1. This is cute. Len was born in Chicago’s Passavant Memorial Hospital which was the grandparent hospital to Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital - where two of our grandkids were born.

Stories, Q Club, Us

The photo is not by Len or me, its from I Love Canada on FB. I've seen a sky like that just once. 

11/21/2022

Last week I read two books about young people who left their homes. They experienced some good and too many rough experiences and they couldn’t go back until they figured out how to not be who they used to be. Both novels knocked my socks off.

The People You Keep by Allison Larkin

Covid Diary #979 - Still Paying Attention?

11/17/2022

Yes, it’s been 979 days since Friday the 13th, March 2020, when everything changed.

Last Saturday one of our kids visited for several hours with their kids. It was fun though our kid looked tired. They said they’d taken a Covid test that morning and it was negative. They figured it was the wine and rich foods they’d shared the evening before with friends at the end of a very busy week.

Next Day - What Are You Seeing?

11/9/2022

It was a late night last night, wasn’t it? Len worked at a polling place 6:30 AM until 10:30 PM. He said the actual experience is a lot like working retail (which he has not done since he was 22). Stand up most of the time, pleasantly say the same thing over and over. Wonder if lunch is soon.  

Professional reporters and pundits are talking a lot about “what just happened”, but heck, we are noticing interesting things, too.  Let’s talk about what We The People saw and heard and are watching now.

Here are some things catching my attention.

Election Day

11/8/2022 

So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

That Beep-Beep-Beeping Moment.

In spring Len got a $100 traffic ticket when he turned right at a corner we’ve been turning right at for seven years. However, construction had started and there were orange barrels and cones everywhere – plus a small sign NOT facing the street Len was on, telling drivers to not turn there.

Len went back later that day and took photos. Len called the city to mention that if they posted a sign that actually faced the traffic, the city could save the cost of the cop parked there ticketing drivers.

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