All my lovely pole friends have left Boulder, the kids are in school, and I’m getting back to my life.
One might think that it would be hard to say goodbye to the fantasy existence that was my summer of travel, camping, and beauty, but it isn’t. That shit is exhausting and I as much as I love living in my alternate universe, I’m pretty damn happy with my real life.
Last night we returned from a picnic at the reservoir to hear loud whooping and hollering coming from The Poulet Rouge and it wasn’t the chickens. Loony and I assumed that there were some drunks harassing the birds and we’d have to coax them off our property.
As we got closer we saw it was a small group of people in their 20’s who discovered a beloved children’s book from their youth in my Little Free Library and they were reading it out loud by the light of their mobile phones. They were laughing and loving life and my irritation turned to delight.
I let Blue out to get some friggin’ pets while the folks oohed and ahhed over the chicken coop, the house, the library, and the animals. They were full of joy and gratitude.
That’s how I feel these day as I write on the porch in the afternoon or the sun room in the early morning now that autumn’s chill has driven me inside.
I am grateful that Scratchy is so excited about the fourth grade. I am relieved that Itchy made it through the first week of middle school (let me tell you, it was rough) and is in a much better place now than he was a week ago.
There were some serious parental challenges as I had to stand by and watch him struggle through the discomfort of not only starting at a new school, but entering a whole new phase of life. Of course I was there to support and counsel, but in the end I knew that this is his work, his struggle, his path, and I would be doing him a grave disservice to him to make it too easy.
I remember all too well that new school smell, that feeling one has when absolutely everything is alien, that fear that it would never become familiar, never make sense, that I would never remember the order of my classes and I would never figure out how to open my locker on the first try and get to class on time.
And then a week goes by and it feels as natural as breathing. I was able to do it, all kids starting middle school do it, and he did it. I’m very proud.
Yesterday a very old friend showed up at my door. He and I used to walk our dogs (well, his dog and my boyfriend’s dog) almost every day. I was 19 and he was in his 20s. He was a dirty hippy and I was a vapid young thing and we were friends. I was there the day he met his wife, he was at my first wedding, we endured divorces together, he moved to Telluride, I remarried and had babies, and now he was in town visiting.
We met up at The Trident, our home-away-from-home back then.
It was the first place I went to after I moved to Boulder. I met all my friends there, I’m pretty sure I met Loony there, and it was where I started my morning and ended my day. Words cannot express the deep love I have for this place even though I don’t spend much time in coffee shops these days.
To pile on the nostalgia, Lobo joined us.
We reminisced about what it was like to be young and in Boulder 25 years ago. We talked about the conversations we had, the boys and girls we chased, our dating disasters, and all with such candor and humor. There was no sting in the memories of failed attempts at love, just mirth and grace and gratitude for the lives we lived.
And for the lives we live now. One of my young friends told me of a recent heartbreak and I found myself giving advice I never would have thought of twenty years ago. It reminded me of Marcia, my spiritual mother, repeating to me over and over again in my time of need, “Peace. Peace.”
I said to do no harm and give the benefit of the doubt. Have an open heart and deep commitment to having a conversation saves the friendship. Don’t talk about it until everyone has a chance to get some distance and perspective. Avoid stoking the flames in the meantime. It’s okay to be hurt and sad but outrage never helps.
I’ve been the bad person many times in my life. It’s called being human. It’s called being young. I’ve had to ask for forgiveness and then forgive myself.
I love not being young.
So what next? My sweet mother-in-law is moving in with us for six months and I’m putting myself in the right headspace. She has been the foundation of this family and has shown me endless love and acceptance from the moment I met her. Now she needs us.
I am not a patient person and I value my solitude so having someone live with us will be a challenge. You see, she has very little short term memory and is often on repeat. Anyone who has experienced living with this knows it is trying.
She isn’t going to get better. Her memory will never improve. All I can do is come from a place of love, gratitude, and service. I didn’t know this but there actually a spiritual practice called Bhakti Yoga.
I don’t have a spiritual bone in my body but a yogi friend of mine said that it doesn’t have to be about God with a capital G. It can be about love and devotion to my mother-in-law. She deserves it.
It is also an opportunity for me to work on my reactiveness and patience. What better way for me to hone my skills at taking three deep breaths before responding in frustration? I feel like I often pivot to sarcasm and annoyance far too quickly and what better way for me to create a new habit?
I’ll probably rejoin my gym, devote time to caring for my body (I have really let myself go, but I kind of needed the break) and write my book.
That’s right, I am finally going to write a book. A good friend with connections in the publishing world has been encouraging me to do it for a long time (Hi JJ!) and has offered to guide me through the process. I wrote the preface today and I have a working title.
Now is the time to pack up my summer and look forward to the internal work of the fall and winter. I welcome it.