One satisfaction with getting older is seeing how my past pain can be redeemed. What am I redeeming it for? Well, in a recent situation, it was for a connection with my niece*.
The other day, I eagerly called my niece, thinking the conversation would be filled with details that only an excited (albeit slightly dramatic) 8 year old can give; however, much to my surprise, most of the conversation centered on the unfortunate splinter wedged in her finger; it had not worked its way out of the skin yet, and she was anticipating what would happen next. I think we analyzed that splinter and discussed it more than any other topic of conversation.
I loved it.
I spent some of my formative years in a home with beautiful wood floors. Getting a splinter was not unusual for me. Sometimes with much determination, bravery, and a few tears, I could pull it out; other times, I had to involve surgery equipment (a flash light and a needle) with my Dad as the surgeon.
So, when my niece worriedly shared with me about the splinter, I knew exactly how she was feeling. I remember the throb of the sore skin, maneuvering around with a swollen toe, and the fear that my foot would become infected and need to be removed (I was an absolute hypochondriac).
Even though a splinter is a relatively mild bump in the road of life, the pain I had experienced lead to a better connection with my niece. Of course, many past hurts have yet to be redeemed, but I am reminded that like the splinter, there is still hope for other, more intense pain I’ve experienced; because of this, I’m more enthusiastic about life, and able to face pain with a little more strength and sense of purpose.
*Because I want to keep this blog post on the lighter side, I’m going to talk about a physical pain that isn’t extreme.
The older I get, the more I remember bits of advice my parents gave me that I dismissed with a scoff, only to loop back years later and humbly think, “Yup, they were spot on!” I’ve devoted a little section in my blog where I will periodically share a story that illustrates that while my parents don’t know everything…they sure know a lot. And while their advice may not hold true for everyone, I find that it often did for me (and isn’t that what they secretly wanted, in their heartest of parent hearts?)
Sometimes I feel like my mind is a TV screen, my thoughts are the channels, and a happy toddler is pressing the remote and changing the channels. Very Fast. As a result, I’ve found the best thing to do to stay organized is to maintain a “to do” list. it is the one thing that keeps me on track. I write down everything – even the tiny details – to tame the thoughts in my head as they whirl about.
Ahhh, my list. It’s like a fuzzy security blanket.
The other day, looking contentedly over my list at work, I stopped in horror.
Mom was right.
(Isn’t it funny how the channel of your mind always stays put when an uncomfy thought steps up?)
In my mind’s eye, I left my little cubby at work and was transported for a moment to the days of childhood, when anytime I told my Mom something I needed, her command was “write it on the list.”
This meant I had to stop whatever vital project I was involved in (no doubt something like reading Baby Sitter’s Clubbooks), and locate my Mom’s latest to do list in the kitchen (typically on the fridge with a magnet). Then, next to my Mom’s pretty writing, I would quickly scrawl out whatever it was I needed, ranging anywhere from scheduling a haircut to new shoes laces.
I thought my Mom was out of control (and my Dad too, because he sided with her on writing everything down.) A busy girl like myself, with many vital interests and an intense social life didn’t have time to add to Mom’s to do list. But I certainly had some time to roll my eyes first and ponder the following: Isn’t that what memory is for? And doesn’t writing it down actually use up time you could be using to do other precious stuff – like (sarcasm here) perhaps the thing you noted?
I was incorrigible. I’m not sure how or why my Mom put up with my theatrics.
But as I’ve gotten older, and my world has expanded greatly to include more people, events, work, chores, groceries, etc…that list is my shining light, my tiny director, my compass of sorts. To do lists are genius, brilliant, and a staple to keeping my sanity.
No wonder my parents kept one. No wonder they encouraged me to do the same.
Yup, Mom, Dad, you were right.
I have a favorite mug that my sister gave me for my birthday a couple years ago. It’s created by designer Kate Spade, and if for some reason you can’t see the picture, it says: Eat Cake For Breakfast.
I like stashing it in my purse and taking it to my work cubicle during the week. It reminds me of my sister, and I love drinking tea out of it- especially this time of year when there is a slight chill in the air, and pumpkin, chai, and apple teas are most tempting.
As an adult, I heart that I don’t have to go by “the rules.” I have eaten cake for breakfast. Other favorites include blackberry cobbler, leftover Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake, and holiday cookies. (Please don’t judge me too harshly.)
Sometimes I don’t even plan it. I wake up, remember the gift tin of Christmas cookies on the counter, and think “I’m actually gonna do it.”
Should I be doing it? Nope.
Do I advocate others doing it? Nope.
Does this mean I will stop doing it? Nope.
There is something so shamelessly delightful about eating dessert for breakfast. For health reasons, I only do it every now and then (and of course if health reasons put an end to this delightful era in my life, so be it.) In the meantime, on dessert mornings, I savor every bite – as if it’s even more flavorful with the scrumptious taste of the once forbidden, the sweet aura of adulthood and the sheer delight of a little luxury first thing in the morning.
Creator of Love, Auntie.