Can’t help myself

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Now you will feel no rain

For each of you will be shelter for the other

Now you will feel no cold

For each of you will be warmth for the other

Now there is no loneliness for you

Now there is no more loneliness.

Now you are two persons, but there is one life before you.

Go now to your dwelling place

To enter into the days of your togetherness.

And may your days be good and long upon this earth.

(Apache Blessing)

I am feeling nostalgic about my Arizona family! Just left there last night and miss them already. Melissa found this blessing in a Louise Penny novel she is reading and shared it with me. Sweet! Now I share it with you.

Sedona and Flagstaff seen from Jerome

I have a friend who is a gifted therapist and a successful writer. Back in the late eighties he wrote a book on adult children of alcoholics, who often find themselves struggling with a different kind of addiction, work addiction. At the time I was teaching full time, chauffeuring my three kids around to their various after-school activities, and being a whirlwind housekeeper and hostess with the mostest. We entertained a lot. My friend asked me if I would agree to be interviewed for this book.

I sat down with him and we checked the boxes on my neurotic over-achievement, and he thanked me for my time, scribbling copious notes. I assumed that my contribution would be a small footnote on a huge project. Much to my surprise, though, when he completed the book and it was published, I received a copy. Lo and behold, the whole first chapter was a discussion of me and the crazy stuff we had discussed. I guess I was a little embarrassed, but shrugged it off. I would rather be known as working too much then for being a lazy slug, I thought. 

Not too much later I got a call from the Charlotte local news station. They were doing a segment on this new book and wanted me to be interviewed for the show. They also wanted to film me thought a day as I went around being compulsive. I wanted my fifteen minutes of fame, so I agreed. I checked with my school and they okayed the filming, and shortly after that the camera crew and the reporter came out to Country Day to follow me around.

Lizie, Seth and Cole

While Country Day students have very good manners, they too wanted their few moments of tv exposure, so it seemed on the tape that I was constantly besieged by students in desperate need of my help. I could barely walk from classroom to classroom  as there were so many people surrounding me. 

After school the crew got into the car with me as I ushered my kids around to their practices and as I dashed through the Harris-Teeter getting food for dinner and then rushing around picking the kids up. Once home I barely had time to take off my coat before I was in the kitchen chopping vegetables and wrapping tofu in a dishcloth to drain.

I had a few moments of fame after that. Folks came up to me in the grocery store saying they saw me on television and I felt seen. But seen as what? A neurotic workaholic? Great. 

Champion Skier

Some years later my ex and I had divorced and he was seeing a woman whom even I thought was beneath him. One Saturday night as I sat home doing what I usually did on Saturday night: grading papers, the phone rang and it was this woman. She wanted to tell me that she was excited to discover that she and I were just alike. “Whatever do you mean?” I demanded in a condescending tone.

“Well, I read the book on workaholism and recognized you in it, and I remember seeing you on the news. We are sooo much alike!”

I was disgusted and threw up a little in my mouth. Now this low-life companion of my ex-husband thought that we were soul sisters. I guess that’s the price of fame. Probably Kim Kardashian gets calls all the time from women with big asses telling her they are just alike. What would Kim do, I asked myself. Go shopping, probably, but I had papers to grade, so I did that.

Snow On the Peaks

I’d like to think I am better now, but I still scurry around all the time doing things that don’t need doing. At the shop I rearrange things, dust, polish, spray the plants, and do anything but sit down and relax between customers. I am even worse at home. On a recent Sunday when Ron and I agreed to take a complete chill day, Ron watched over the top of the Sunday paper as I cleaned the house, baked biscotti, and called friends to come over for a dinner that I then began preparing.

This week I am at the home of my son Seth and his family. I brought a stack of books and my knitting, but I am still left with big blocks of time with no chores to do, and instead of relaxing, I stress over what a slug I am. I spent this morning at Target going up and down the aisles looking for a tea strainer to steep the loose tea I spent yesterday afternoon tracking down. Everyday I take Chester the dog for a long hike that leaves me breathless (we are at 7000 feet and the air is thin.) I am drinking a cup of good tea right now and relaxing but wishing I were back in the shop doing my usual.