On the Word of the Year, Anticipatorily

I usually have a “Word of the Year,” which is sometimes actually a phrase. That word (or phrase) is my goal for the year, a mantra, something to consider mindfully as I progress throughout that time.

The most successful year was the first year I did it, 2011. That year, my word was “gratitude,” and I’ve found that not only did I practice it actively that year, I’ve continued to practice it since. It settled into me in a very wonderful way, and I’ve seen hugely positive results in my life as a result.

I don’t remember what my word was this year. Maybe I never settled on one. Indecision is a bad habit I’d like to break. So for next year, which is rapidly approaching, I think I’m going to start thinking about it now.

My list of potential words/phrases so far:

  • mindfulness
  • adulting
  • organization
  • focus
  • finish

To be honest, none of those are really striking to me, except for maybe mindfulness, which would delight the hell out of my therapist.

I’ve been sick for a few weeks now (who knew you can get mono twice? that’s ridiculous), and in my downtime, I’ve been appreciating the quiet and the doing nothing. I’ve been taking baths nearly every day (you absolutely must go out and buy some bubble bath by this company “everyone” — they make the best lotions and now, I’ve found this grapefruit and black pepper bubble bath, which sounds ridiculous but is beyond fantastic…they’re at Sprouts. Buy their lotions! They last forever and aren’t greasy or weird), and I’ve been reading again, which is a simply joy that’s been lost to me for too long. I’ve been catching up on all things Netflix, and am enjoying myself and the silence.

I’ve been grateful for my lovely work friends, who have made me homemade juice, brought me tea, and put up with the loss of my energetic spirit.

I’ve been grateful for my boyfriend, who’s laid low with me for two weekends in a row playing video games and watching Netflix. I’m grateful for my mom, whose insight into life somehow manages to still astonish me…

By the way, this has nothing to do with anything really but it’s been on my mind lately. I’m quite shocked it took me so many years to realize this, and I’m not sure at what point it finally all made sense, but…

My mom had her first brain surgery when I was in kindergarten. It was early 1994, probably, which would have made me 5 or 6. (This could be wildly inaccurate – maybe I was in first grade and maybe it wasn’t 1994. As soon as I post this, my mom will call to confirm when it actually was. But that’s not important.)

Before her surgery, my grandma took us shopping to buy my mom headscarves (because to get to the brain you have to have to shave the head) so that her head wouldn’t be so naked after surgery. Being little, I picked out the most fabulous scarves I could find. They were pinks and greens and all of the brightest bright colors. I was in love with all of them. I remember the store, too, light and bright and soft and gold. Maybe it was at that point that I fell in love with shopping.

Anyway, my grandmother ended up picking up a sensible dark blue head covering, which we called the turban, but now I’m not sure what it would actually be called. It was very much like a fortune teller would wear, perched on the side of her head because somehow her hugely curly hair would need to be contained, with big dangling hoop earrings. Obviously, that’s not how my mom wore it. On her, it was just a sensible head covering on a lady with no hair and a huge battle scar running down the back of her skull past her neck into her back.

But she bought all of those colorful scarves. She didn’t have to. She knew my mom wouldn’t wear them, practical and not disposed to flagrant displays of color.

I’m still awestruck by that. I love that my grandma bought those scarves, knowing there was no chance my mom would ever wear them, but wanting us to feel as though we had a part in it. Twenty-odd years later, I’m still taken aback by that simple act of love. Not just love for her daughter, but love for us, too. Knowing that we’d need that small satisfaction of having helped. “Helped,” ha.

My mom would never let me play with the scarves, and they became a source of fascination for me, until slowly, she did. They became a part of my dress up routines; I wore them as dresses, as capes, as anything. They were knotted, tangled, thrown carelessly back into the drawer, scattered always with my carefree play. I never realized until I was older why they were there and what they meant.

My mom kept them; she still has them, a whole drawer full of them. It’s the second one down on the right, in case you ever decide to rob her of their silken magic.

I want to be that good of a parent someday. I always talk about how selfless and kind my mom is, but now I’m starting to realize that she learned it from the very best. I hope to be half the woman those women are, because if I get there, I will have succeeded.

 

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