Yesterday’s post started with song lyrics, so perhaps today’s should begin with words from “The Facts of Life” theme:
You take the good, you take the bad,
you take them both and there you have
The facts of life, the facts of life.
My day yesterday consisted of really good moments, and really horrific moments. As a result, I am working on no sleep today. I considered breaking up my experiences from yesterday into 2 or 3 or 4 different posts, but really I think you have to take the good with the bad and so, in that spirit, I present them all together.
I knew all day long that the evening would be sad. I would be watching a friend as her husband was eulogized . I would watch three teenagers cope with the loss of their father.
And yet, the day started with attending my 4 yo’s preschool Gratitude Lunch, watching the children sing songs of Thanking God for their teachers and their parents and their toys. I sat with friends and took pictures of the kids, many of whom I’ve known since they were tiny babies. Because I work full time, I don’t often have time to catch up with what is going on in the lives of other moms, and I truly enjoyed the opportunity.
I especially enjoyed it when one friend (who is very familiar with my shopping passion/addiction) mentioned a huge sale at Saks. I had a two hour period before the next event (a birthday party) and stopped home to check in on work. Finding it reasonably under control, I also found my husband at home grabbing a quick lunch. I asked if it would bother him in any way if I went to the Saks sale, promised not to spend a grand there, and I was off.
It felt so luxurious! Shopping in an actual store, and not on-line. Playing hookey from work for a short time. That alone would’ve been a high point in any day. I gently browsed the tables of shoes by the “Sale” sign, but the prices all looked like regular prices to me. I thought about walking away, but instead asked the question. I couldn’t believe the answer! These beautiful shoes were 50% off and then an additional 40% off, and I could open a Saks account and get an additional 10% off of that!
Now, I have never spent more than $200 on a pair of shoes. I own some very nice shoes (but I am not one of those women with a closet full). I always drool over the Chanels and Pradas and Guccis, but I never actually buy them. Ever.
Until yesterday. I bought a pair of each.
I felt so great to be able to do that for myself! To be able to buy what I really wanted, and not just because it was the best of what I could afford! I was buying my first actual designer shoes, and shoes that I loved – not just for the labels, but for the places I knew I would wear them and for the actual styles! I felt like it was symbolic of how far I’ve grown my business. In some ways, it felt more real to me than buying a second home. It felt damn good.
I went upstairs to the clothing department and the fun continued – and then it was time to take my daughter to a birthday party. Sometimes, for weekday birthday parties, I drop off our daughter with the au pair. But today I really was feeling good and wanted to spend time with her and with our friends. I’m so glad I did. Connecting with friends is so important; as a mom with a job there are definitely times of the year when I feel out of the loop and disconnected from my community.
That’s when it hit me. Yesterday was about community.
I remembered that as I got dressed for the funeral service. We arrived early because I wanted to be able to see my friend, to feel connected to her in hopes that she would feel the love and support emanating from me. Of course, the entire room was packed with people hoping to do the same.
I listed to stories from the life of a man I really didn’t know very well (except to know I adore and admire his wife). I learned that I probably wouldn’t have had much in common with him – a grand adventurer, a bold presence, a proud cynic. But I learned things about him I never would have learned even if I’d taken the time to engage in 100 conversations with him during his life.
I sat as a member of the community – our religious community, our philanthropic community, our community of friends. Even people who barely know the family are signing up for the meal train. It’s a terrible, sad, and tragic event. But there is beauty in everyone coming together as well.
All of this, of course, made me want to squeeze Brent’s hand a little harder. It made me want to give him his Tom Colicchio cook book last night instead of waiting until Hannukah. And it made me want to inscribe it with words of love.
And then, cruelly, I found myself calling an ambulance at 3 a.m. Brent was very sick. I won’t go into the details, but it was frightening. He is sleeping it off now, and he will be fine soon, but the parallels made the evening more scary. It made a stomach bug feel like it could be so much worse. And the sight of six gargantuan paramedics coming into the house at 3 a.m. is something I hope I don’t want to see again for a very long time (if you know what I mean – if I need those 6 guys again, I will WANT to see them!)
Today, I am tired. But my father in law took Brent’s car to its service appointment, my mother in law took the girls to her house, and the friend whose house we were supposed to visit for dinner tonight is instead bringing dinner here. And, the love and support of my friends on Facebook has only reiterated for me the importance of being part of a community.
As I promised, lots of good, and lots of bad. Without intending to leave you with a Tip of the Day on How to “Make More, Be More, and Do More,” I think that there is one after all:
Invest in your friends. Invest in your community. Spend the time, even if you don’t have it. Today, it might just seem like a hassle to leave the office for a preschool party or a Saks sale or a birthday party when you have clients who need you. But, tomorrow you may need your community more than your clients.