Friday, November 22, 2013

A chance encounter.....and THE Holidays.

Today I was killing 20 minutes in a local Starbucks in between jobs. A young man came and sat down at the table next to me. He clomped up in his big boots, slopped his leather jacket over the back of his impossibly small chair, laid his motorcycle helmet on the tiny table and proceeded to just sit for a few minutes and drink his sugary iced coffee drink.

Next came a woman probably in her 70's, hair dyed a lovely shade of deep auburn with just a hint of grey roots showing at the top of her little head. She wore a fuchsia fleece jacket with matching fuchsia lipstick....she was adorable. She asked if she could share his table... "its super crowded today!"

She proceeded to talk his ear off and he proceeded to politely (and sweetly) listen. She spoke of how freaking cold it is outside and she would imagine its even worse for him on a bike. "Do you wear long underwear? If not, you should." LOL I was trying not to LOL and was just watching his face. He answered that no he did not have any long underwear but it was in fact very cold out there riding around. She told *us,* yes, by then I was in... she told us about her dream to cook in a commercial kitchen. Of all the crazy things! But that was her dream and she was heading off to cooking classes in a bit. She told us about an opportunity she had had to use a "french water oven." She explained how they are used and that soon we all will be using them.

Then she asked the young motorcycle rider, "So what are you doing here?" He forthrightly and honestly and courageously I might add, explained that he was killing time until he went to the classes he had to begin to attend today because he had been arrested for a DUI. He said, "Yep, she's going to cooking classes and I'm going to DUI classes because I got arrested." Then we heard about her husband who had died 3 and a half years ago who had taught traffic school classes. "Oh my've never driven until you've driven with a teacher of traffic school!"

We all had to go our separate ways after just a short time, but what a treat! 3 lives intersected for a few minutes. I patted my DUI friend on the leg and wished him luck and told her that she had made my morning with her pursuing of her dreams. A simple blessing in my day.

The holidays are upon us. This could be a post all unto itself....but I am so swamped right now....I gotta say it while I can. I have had years where I just wanted to crawl into a ball and not get out of bed. I have had years where I bravely, if I do say so myself, pulled myself together and decided that the show must go on. I have had years where I was ok and despite our disjointed and broken family, decided that we would celebrate the best way that fit for us. We could manage a simple celebration because we always have things to be grateful for. There are always good things in my life.....even when one part would feel so tragic and painful.

You remember last year I posted a picture of all of us at big brothers. That was a really wonderful Thanksgiving. My girl was clean about 8 weeks, for the first time in several years, looking healthier than we had seen her in a long time, we were all together, everyone got was so fun. This year has been filled with multiple relapses, multiple ups and downs and all arounds and all that goes with all of that....yet here we are again. Another year has gone by and it looks as if it will be a happy, clean and sober Thanksgiving. We all know how quickly things can change...but for today I will plan on a happy Thursday until I am shown differently. IF I am shown differently. It has certainly not been a straight shot to this second happy Thanksgiving. Which is what I have come to accept as my life. I have 4 is a rare time that all four are doing alright all at once. They always have something going on....relationship issues, contemplating transferring schools, finances, moving, changing jobs, struggles with algebra, depression (yeah, we are all predisposed) ....the list can go on and on. Nothing is ever a straight shot in my world. It really makes living one day at a time imperative.

With the above said, I would encourage....I know we aren't supposed to give advice, so we can call this "encouragement" ... as sad and as heartbreaking and as disappointing as this time of year can be, whatever your circumstances, remember that YOU count too. If your holiday is reduced to only you or a few of you, you deserve to have a beautiful day filled with whatever will bring you joy DESPITE what your addicted loved one is doing or where they are at. Going on to live despite your feelings of loss, allowing our addicted kids to live out their choices, their compulsions, is the definition of "detaching with love." We get to choose what we will do with each day that we are given.

With that said, my heart really goes out to each of the families that are in such heartbreak right now.
I had a friend call me a few days ago and leave me a voice mail. The bottom line was that she had heard her daughter's voice and she knew now that "she's alive." It broke my this world that we share here, our mothering gets brought down to the most primal level. "My child is alive....ok, I can breathe."Just for today, let us all breathe deeply, let us look for the good, let us allow our hearts to feel gratitude despite the tragedy that some of us live with.

Love to all of you hurting mama's out there. You have freely loved me when I felt like I couldn't lift my head.....I want to gently hand some back to all of you.

I am prayin!


Tori said...

I love you. You are such an amazing person.

amy said...

I love it when I find the common thread. It reminds me that we are all here and all in it together.

My heart aches for your friend.

I'm glad you're practicing letting it happen.


Carrie Kaffer said...

Hi, Annette (I've always loved that name!!) I am intrigued by your ability to experience such richness in a random (if there is such a thing) encounter at Starbucks. I think it may be a skill one learns with sobriety as that singular focus on the next glass of wine fades and our field of vision widens to include others than just ourselves. I hope to follow in your footsteps- and now I feel like going to hang out at my local Starbucks and see what is happening there, lol!

Anonymous said...

I'm prayin' too, Annette. Thank you for telling that delightful story. And for the rest ... I couldn't have said it better. My love goes out to everyone this holiday season.

notmyboy said...

The woman in Starbucks could have been my mom. I swear that is exactly something she would do. She and my dad both, at 73, literally make friends everywhere they a plane, with the the check out line...and at a Starbucks. As a young teen, they used to embarrass me, I'm sorry now to write. Their outgoing personalities sort of created my introverted personality. Today, oh how I long for that skill of talking to anyone about anything...but, lol, this isn't about me. haha I'm so glad you were able to see that interaction as a blessing. And you are so right with your advice/encouragement.

Anonymous said...

This gave me goosebumps. I love when things like that happen because, I believe, there is always a reason. Even if we never get to know what it is.

kristi said...

That lady sounds magnificent. I know a lot of people get DUI's but atleast he was trying to pay his dues.

I, too feel depression creeping in but I always try to pick up and go on.

dawn said...

I LOVE those random, but meant to be encounters1 What an eclectic three-some. How lovely! God love the lady with the matching lipstick who so boldly asserted herself with an unlikely companion. Why don't we all feel that degree of security and comfort/ Why take up three tables when three single coffee drinkers can easily share a table and rather than sit alone with our judgmental thoughts of those around us, we can experience the blessing in chatting, albeit moments, with a perfect stranger. love it!!

dawn said...

an eclectic three-some sharing some down time, random, yet no mistake, no coincidence. Beautiful

mary Christine said...

Thanks for sharing this lovely experience Annette. I am praying too. It's a hard time, my daughter is one of those suffering.

SoberMomWrites said...

Enjoy your holiday my sweet friend.

Liz said...

Thank you Annette.. for the sweet story and for reminding me that each and every day that my daughter is clean is a blessing. I am so grateful to have her home this year and cherish each moment.

Signe said...

Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing!