“Breathe. Take care. Stand still for a minute. What you are looking for might just be looking for you too.” Cleo Wade
My horoscope yesterday said I should write. I didn’t find the time. I had a productive day nonetheless, but I knew later today I’d regret diving into Sunday without first releasing all the joys and ickiness of last week.
Yesterday, the best moment of the day, let’s just make that year, was my daughter’s smile. A grin so lovely and warm that my heart smiled right back. She was gone for a week at summer camp. Her first time away. No friends. No phone. Nothing familiar. Yes, I kind of threw her in the deep end of the pool; fully confident that she could and would swim.
And she did.
As a mom, I know I am loved, and I know I am needed, but rarely do I feel the two together. “I love you” comes when we say our goodnights, and “I need you” comes at all hours of every day from the important moments to the mundane. Yesterday, when I watched Bridget walk over to me, in the surety and confidence of a young woman two weeks away from 13, when she hugged me without abandon for a moment, until she realized we were in public, I physically felt the love of my daughter, who missed and still needed her mom.
What a moment it was. I’m teary-eyed just thinking about it. Last Sunday, I sat in the car crying on the side of the road, overcome with fears that I made a terrible decision. Yet, there was this Mom- type of confidence that kept me grounded all week; I knew I did the right thing. A decision confirmed when I received a postcard from Bridget’s camp counselor, who wrote that my daughter was a joy to have in camp, that she had kind words for everyone and her campmates enjoyed and appreciated her ability to use humor to bring them together.
This morning I thought about that postcard, about the tears on the side of the road, about a date I had Friday, about my Improv classes last week, about the meeting with my siblings and their spouses about our parent’s age, health, and finances, about the wicked cool performance by Arcade Fire at Summerfest last Sunday, about my much needed and now coveted blissful savasana Monday morning, about my annual mammogram, my annual physical with my primary care physician who reminded me I have a lot to celebrate, about the blog I wrote from Ruby’s point of view that will soon be published with other Illinois writers, and about the hummingbirds who graced me with their visits yesterday and today.
All of those thoughts and moments swirled in my head this morning as I found myself staring in disbelief at the disarray of my shirt drawer. As I refolded the shirts, by sleeve-length, just moments before positioning myself before this keyboard, I asked myself, “Am I insane?”. I thought of Einstein’s definition: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Admittedly, when I need to just get shit done, I throw the shirts in the drawer. It’s half-ass, but at least I check the box that the laundry is put away. The result: I return the basket to the laundry room, my bedroom is absent piles of clothes, my bed is cleared, my bedspread rumple-less and smooth, and I feel good with the knowledge that the chaos of the drawer is not in clear sight.
So, I’m clearly not insane. Now, I know there are other drawers where the question applies. Like the drawer filled with socks, that I will never successfully sort. An I am ok with that. But there is this other drawer, this crapshoot of dating in a digital world. It is a sock drawer, with a sea of unmatched socks. Every time I try, I think the result will be different. It’s not.
Last night, one of the teams at Westside Improv, ended a set with a statement about what a woman wants from a man. The player, Annemarie, said something to the effect of “confidence”. And I leaned over to my friend Linda and said she is right. I felt like this Annemarie (was really my sister Annmarie) telling me that’s what I need: A man with confidence. I was recently asked by a dating prospect what do I really want? A question I loathe. This morning I wish Annemarie was there with her last line of the set, prompting my fingers to type “confidence”.
Venturing out into the digital dating world means we all come from a place of vulnerability. But, being vulnerable doesn’t mean you can’t be confident.
Even though I knew my daughter would be vulnerable at camp, I was confident she would have a good week. She knows that her parents love her. She knows that her mother made a decision to send her to camp because she was ready for the challenge. She also knew that her mother had all the confidence in the world that her daughter would tackle it. Bridget never articulated it, but when she motioned that it was time for me to leave as I helped sort her stuff around her bunk and her cubbies last Sunday, she told she was confident that she could do it. And, despite my fearful tears at the side of the road last Sunday, my confidence in my daughter never wavered.
It’s a different story, in a very different part of my life. The part of my life that is separate yet tethered to being a mom. This experience with the digital dating world, that I confidently jumped into again earlier this month, and now on this Sunday morning (so sorry this is so bad) into which I am ready to throw in the towel. It’s disheartening that I continue to find a whole lot of ego and arrogance, or conversely an utter lack of confidence. Rarely have I found confidence in a man who is sure of himself and his path.
This Sunday morning, with that knowledge in hand, I know to continue on this path is insane. Because repeating an action, that yields frustration goes against the grain of who I am. I am a joy-seeker. I seek out people who and things that help me celebrate this life, not squander it. I seek out people who want to solve the problem, learn from it, and move past it, not blame its existence on others and wallow in it. I seek out people who want to share in laughter, not unload a cheap joke at the expense of another. A day without joy is a wasted day. Today, it’s time to move on, confident that I’ll find what I’m looking for when my path collides with the person who is surely on the same course.