|My mother's view|
I will be flying to Jamaica in a couple of days to spend a week with my mom. Even better, my son is going, too, having decided to spend his spring break squiring his grandma around. He wants to get her out the house, even in a wheelchair, taking her for walks under the impossibly blue sky. He wants her to sit on a bench in the garden and feel the sun on her shoulders. He is being trained in the mechanics of human motion so he knows how to get her down the stairs safely. For sure he inspires confidence. He makes my mother feel taken care of and safe. She is thrilled he is coming to see her. Yes, she's thrilled about me too, but it's her grandchildren who strum her heartstrings like no other.
And yes, while I am there, I will attend that weekend retreat in the hills that my cousin, the life coach and spirit talker, is holding. My brother kept saying, "Helen is running it?" Because you know, we remember each other as children, and she was our little cousin, a blithe giggling spirit, eyes dancing. And now, so many depend on the advice she gives, gentle and affirming and dosed with such good humor. My weekend will be profound or it will be wacky. Either way, I will be happy to be there with my cousin and her clients in the hills of the place that was my first home.
But first, I have to get out of the city. Ooooh boy! I am proud of myself for having determined to go, because really, it does seem that I am throwing a lot of details up in the air and trusting others to take care of them. It is a good start that I understand that I am not as essential as I think to the process of closing this short-staffed magazine. Still, there is so much to do before I go, so much to hand off, and it really is the worst week I could possibly take off in the closing cycle. But the greatly gifted writer who is my friend and who is about as OCD as I am, has agreed to cover for me, and though she will make different decisions on things than I would, I know her decisions will make sense, and everything will get done. I am grateful to have such a colleague, even if we squabble sometimes (in a plainspoken and ultimately productive way). She's part of why I love my job.
Also before I leave, I will be sitting around a conference room table in lower Manhattan for two days, judging entries for a certain magazine award competition. There will be publishing industry muckety-mucks around the table with me, and it's a big deal to be a judge for these awards. It's made my week crazier than it needed to be, there was so much reading and deciding to be done ahead of time. But when I was asked to do this I knew I needed to say yes, even if I didn't know what I would wear, even if I am leaving for the airport right after the second day of judging.
Something I'm working on is showing up more in my life. A friend from many years ago, who had moved with her family to Austin, Texas, was in town last month and she left a message on my voice mail asking to see me. I am so much fatter than when she knew me, back in my 20s and 30s. All I could think about was the look that would flicker in her eyes as they first settled on me, and I didn't return her call. And this is a woman I love, whose hand I held in the delivery room as her youngest child was making his way into the world. Her husband, a photographer, was out of town when she went into labor. And yet I didn't return her call last month. I'm trying to let go of self-recrimination, I'm so very good at it, but I do need to say I'm a little ashamed. So I'm intending to do better, to be better, to show up.