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In the land of lost and found/ my brief appearance at the January East Side Weblog Meetup

January 9th, 2006 · 1 Comment

You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.

But I can try to cherish and recognize what I have now.

Last Tuesday I had planned to go to the January East Side Weblog Meetup 7 pm at Crossroads Mall. Trying to combine multiple goals into one ferry trip, as a matter of efficiency, I had multiple missions on my agenda beginning at 10:30 am when we left our house. Perhaps that was my first mistake.

By 5 pm I was frustrated, exhausted and suddenly ravenously hungry. After accomplishing my first two goals of the afternoon, I had planned to stay and shop at Crossroads Mall until the Meetup time, but I was beginning to wonder whether I could last that long. I had a number of dilemmas and didn’t know what to do.

My coat zipper broke in December, leaving me without functional outerwear in the middle of winter. Many stores have already put their coats on clearance, favoring swimsuits instead. I had hoped to find a coat at Crossroads, but was soon disappointed by the selection and the absence of stores I had somehow believed were in that mall. Unwilling to venture into rush hour traffic, I felt stuck, all of us hungry and tired already, with two hours to go.

As I began to feel famished, my cell phone rang. Beth Grigg, who had seen my post and knew I would be in town that night, offered to get together. I decided to take the risk and leave the mall. An hour later, I met her at Bellevue Square, where I talked her into watching my kids while I shopped for a coat. I appreciated the chance to talk to an adult and the opportunity to find a companion in the midst of my stress. I found what a friend she is to me. Thanks, Beth!

Our next stop was supposed to be Crossroads again, where we’d find the Meetup folks. However, as we were driving away from Bellevue Square, one of my daughters declared she had lost her hat. I’d be lying if I said I reacted well to this announcement. This was a hat she and I had made together from ballet-patterned fleece she’d chosen at the store (see photo of the hats on flickr here). People were constantly commenting on the cute hats the girls had, including earlier that same day. And now one of them was gone.

Another daughter then said she had lost a prized notepad she had been carrying on the way to the car. So I returned to the parking lot and we retraced our steps in and out of Bellevue Square. No hat. No notepad. Nowhere. I called one other store we had visited. The next day I called information at both malls. No notepad. And no hat.

Perhaps it seems silly that the loss of a hat would hit me hard. But as I explained, we had made this hat together. Perhaps it was pride. My own sense of accomplishment and identity as a Mom. Or perhaps it was frustration at the details I had forgotten to notice. One more reminder of how I miss the mark as a Mom.

Finally we head back to Crossroads. We arrived just as everyone was beginning to leave. I’m sorry I missed Tommy Williams, Alex Barnett and others. Anita and Jack stayed, as Jack took the girls and his grandson R—- on the rides together with our combined pot of quarters. I was glad we had come and I was grateful for the warm welcome we received despite our very tardy arrival.

Yes, as Anita said in her post, it had been too long. In fact the girls didn’t quite remember who Jack was. Later I learned, they somehow weren’t sure whether he was Dave Winer, Steve Gillmor or Jack : “All those beards confuse us!” We’ll have to come more often! And bring more quarters!

It was a relief to me to end the draining day on a note of fun, watching the girls laugh, our youngest holding onto R— on the horse ride. Again, I found what friends Anita, Jack and R—- are to us. Thanks for rescuing our night!

Tuesday I realized that when I give the girls a gift, I have to let go of it. If I give my girls hats, I have to be prepared that they may lose them. Whatever I give to the girls, I have to know that they might lose it no matter how much it means to me. That’s what a gift means. That’s what motherhood means. Giving and letting go. With grace and patience and love. And forgiveness.

We lost a hat. I lost my temper. But I gained a deeper understanding of gifts, how precious they are, and how much I should enjoy what I’ve been given while I have it. Including these years of mothering small children. 🙂

I wish Tuesday had been a better day. But in the midst of the loss and exhaustion, I found friends who were there for me and my kids. In hunger, we treasure what we have. My emptiness was filled with gifts. What a surprise! And what grace these friends had for us. Thanks. (and to think that these gifts began with little links on blogs…I remember how I met Anita and Beth, each through a link one day…)

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 echensf // Jan 9, 2006 at 7:02 pm

    As a teacher, I had to accept early on that despite all my efforts at teaching something to the kids, that when they didn’t get it or blew it on a test, to not take it personally. When they act up, blatantly talk to each other in class or act like 14 year olds that they aren’t doing it against or at me. But it’s when you have no expectation or don’t think they have it in them to do something is when they blow me away and it’s those moments that make the adult/student (or child) relationship so amazing.

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