Hope is what keeps me going. Despite evidence, or past experience, I am undaunted in my hope for the better. This morning I woke up and with a few spare moments between my husband heading off to work and the kids waking up I picked up a book of inspirational quotes. I had yet to make coffee and my lower back was already stiff – in defiance of what I knew it needed to do later (painting the deck in long sweeping strokes whilst hunched over). But ten minutes into the book I felt transformed. My thoughts were clearer and kinder and coming along quicker than they had been. I was energized and buoyed with a fresh sense of I-can-do-this.
After four hours of cleaning and painting, I gotta say I lagged a little again. There was some paperwork I had to drop off, a fundraiser for the kids’ school at the local frozen yogurt shop I wanted to take them to, I needed to get gas and make a quick stop at the grocery store…my day was far from over. But at that frozen yogurt fundraiser my perspective about how “busy” I was changed pretty quickly.
One of Little Sister’s classmates was walking out of the shop with her mom and little brother as we were heading in. We met up with the family again when we brought our cups outside to eat on the grassy square just outside the yogurt shop (think super soft Bermuda grass flanked by trees and benches). Little Sister’s classmate’s mom and I had the friendly hello-and-wave acknowledgement relationship that I suppose you have with any other parent you stand outside of school alongside while waiting for your kids. English was her second language but any barriers we had were always bridged with smiles.
As we stood there today though, away from the school’s flagpole she talked about her kids, her life, her job and not for second, did she seem anything other than incredibly uplifted by it all. Whereas I had mentally lamented how I was going to get done what I needed to do today (all bonus and non-life supporting things) she cheerfully talked about how despite the long hours as an overnight manager at a fast food restaurant, she was grateful for all the opportunities it provided her family. Her husband worked days, and she was home in time to pack his lunch and send him off before getting the kids up and off to school. After that, she would come back and cook and clean, hopefully getting in a few hours of sleep.
After uncovering a developmental delay with her son she researched doctors and specialists who also spoke Spanish so that she could access medical journals and studies that would shed some light on what she was up against – again she pointed out how fortunate she was to have health insurance (which she secured during the fifteen years she had been with the company) so that she could seek treatment plans for him. Normally I would be inwardly chastising myself at how selfish I had been to think I was “busy” or how foolish, or how indulgent. But today the resounding message was that we are all here to do our best. No matter the circumstances, or what you were gifted with, you should do the best you can with what you’ve got and remain optimistic about the opportunities that are unfolding around you every day. I thought I had really grasped that in the book this morning, but maybe I needed those quotes to open my eyes and ears and try a little harder to listen to the lesson that was waiting for me. There was work to be done today and it started on me.