never stops teaching.
Journaling for awareness. Growing for life.
Last week I was concerned that I’d upset a long-time friend by canceling our dinner plans. I had to leave her a message the day before explaining my conflict, and when I still hadn’t heard back from her several days later, I began to wonder if I’d let her down. I mentioned it to my husband, Kevin, the other night while we were washing dishes. He smiled and casually handed me a plate to dry. “I’m sure she just has a lot going on. I wouldn’t over-think it, babe.” I promised him I wouldn’t, but not before calling my friend again to check in. “Just calling to tell you I love you. Hope to have dinner soon,” was all I said into her voice mail. I was a bit more at ease about the silence then. Still her lack of response seemed odd.
When I tucked the kids into bed later that night, Brennan gave me a huge squeeze before he rolled into his pillow. Keegan drew a picture on my face with his magic finger pencil and quickly drifted off. But Adeline was wide-awake. “What’s on your mind?” I asked my seven-year-old.
“Are you going to bring Brennan and Keegan with us Sunday to the barn?” She asked, thinking about her upcoming riding lesson.
“If they’d like to come, they can,” I told her.
“Keegan likes going, and I don’t want them to feel left out,” she explained.
“Thank you, Adeline. I’ll be sure to invite them along.”
She nodded. “Good night, Mama,” she said and cuddled under the covers.
“I love you,” I told her with a kiss. “Try to get some sleep. We need to make birthday treats in the morning for your uncle, and I’m going to need my helpers.”
“You can count on me,” she said, licking her lips at the thought of sugar.
After I closed the door I thought about how she is so aware of her feelings and those of others. She pays attention to the makings of a day, offering to go to the store with Kevin so he won’t have to go alone or walking with Brennan over to his teacher in the morning to be sure he feels comfortable. While there are times when I have to tell her, “I got it, babe” or “you don’t need to worry about that,” I love watching her responses to what’s going on around her.
I stood in the hallway outside her bedroom door for a long moment, thinking about my own reactions to my world. I feel in tune and live with a positive attitude, yet I have to refocus myself at times. Kevin has been known to gently unravel some of my concerns until I realize they’re unnecessary. Does the average woman over-think things or simply live with eyes wide open? We don’t need to worry what other people think of us, but we do need to remain mindful of how we affect others. Perhaps that is the gold nugget at the center of “female fretting” (a term I use with endearment). Awareness is something to lift up and celebrate. Think of how essential our awareness is at home, let alone out in the world. And what would we do if the people we love stopped noticing when we needed a little companionship or encouragement? How would life be different if we felt overlooked?
Like Adeline, I recall my own tender heart as a child, my glowing awareness. The teenage years were a bit foggier, but still I found life-long relationships. I realize now that the times when I fell short or let someone down have one thing in common—my loss of awareness. There was something there for me to see that I failed to notice or respond to. Awareness improves any story.
This morning after I dropped the boys off at school I saw that I had a voice mail from my friend. “Christie, I’m so sorry I haven’t called you. My whole family has had the stomach flu! I was the last to get it, and it knocked me down hard. But your message was a real pick-me-up—I love you too! Thank you! Let’s talk soon. Call me.”
It turns out that I didn’t need to be worrying about my friendship. Yet the silence did mean that something was up; there was a need there. So the next time it is suggested that I might be over-thinking things, I will take that into consideration. But I’ll also reach out. That is the hinge on which the meaning rests. Fretting is pointless unless we can find a way to respond.
Raising a daughter has challenges that I find are unique to raising sons (and vise versa). I hope to find a balance between quelling her needless concerns and celebrating her deep, feminine, intuitive awareness. I hope to work towards a deeper awareness within myself, and like a child, be someone to count on.