Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Best Things in Life are Free

I'm not always upset about something, although this blog is certainly my place to comment on the aspects of the world I want to change before my daughter inherits the mess we've made. Yeah, I complain about celebrities and crazy situations, but once it's out of my head (and on the blog), I can let it go. Usually. I've said my piece, and will give no further gray matter to Sean Penn or Octomom with complete zen-like acceptance.
Sometimes, however, I am perfectly happy to reflect on the things that make me perfectly happy. Today is one of those days. These are the things I am most grateful for in this weird world, and all but one of them are free.

1. A husband who tells me I'm beautiful every day--even on the days when the extent of my personal grooming is a shower, a T-shirt and a stolen pair of his workout pants (because mine are all dirty). Sunday he upped the ante even more by commenting during the Oscars: "I don't like Angelina Jolie. She's just gross." When I reminded him that most men would consider her sexist woman alive he added "I guess. If you like way too skinny, no boobs, but disturbingly large lips, and a bunch of nasty tattoos. Not my thing, yuck." Is he lying or delusional? Yeah, probably. Do I care? Not at all.
2. Friends who "get it." These are people who will raise an eyebrow and shoot you a knowing grin when someone else says to your face "We don't watch the Simpsons, it's trashy. Oh, did you see Grey's Anatomy last week? Awesome!" They are also the ones who offer to drive when you call and say you're running away to Mexico, but settle for a 15 minute phone conversation instead and assure you you're not crazy at the end. They read your blog and still know that you are nice, most of the time, but need a space to yell when you are feeling picked on.
3. Oxi-clean. I love this stuff. It gets out poop and any baby stain you can throw at it. I am currently soaking an entire load of darks that fell victim to a dryer cycle with a chapstick in my husband's pocket and praying it works its magic again on half my wardrobe. What Oxi-clean does for fabrics, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers do for any other surface, and I'm grateful for them too. They get marks (and even markers) off walls!
4. People who will take you to the airport. It takes a special relationship to ask someone to drive you to and from the airport, and I'm insanely grateful to have people in my life who will do it for us. Seriously, driving to the airport is a pain and a major commitment, and the carseat only makes it worse. Thank you so much!
5. A daughter who says "Numm!!!! Nummmmm!" to every single bite I give her, even if it's something inherently disgusting, like baby food green beans. Sometimes she oozes food from her mouth because she's smiling while she tries to eat. She teaches me to appreciate what we have and finds joy in things I've long taken for granted.
6. Along that vein, I'm thankful for a daughter who sees everyone as a new friend. The world is a friendly place to Sam, and while I am usually a shy person in public--terrified of weirdos and rapists--Sam's constant waving and smiling at strangers has forced me to be more friendly. I've discovered that the world is indeed a friendlier place when you are friendly--even strangers have a kind word if you smile at them. I've even caught myself doing it when she isn't with me, which doesn't get as warm a response, but still has helped me relearn what brutal years in high school had beaten out of me. The world is a nice place, and you can keep yourself safe and vigilant without being withdrawn and unsmiling. I may be the mom, but most of the time, Sam is the teacher.
6. People who are real live examples of what I'm trying to teach my kid. Not long ago, I walked up to a line in a store while holding Sam. I noticed a man in a wheelchair at the front of the line who was struggling to get his backpack back onto his chair while the other 3 or 4 people in line just stood there. I knew they were probably embarrassed and didn't know what to do to help, but I wasn't embarrassed (for once in my life). I threw Sam on one hip, walked over and asked if I could help him out. It took all of four seconds (okay, eight with Sam's insistent "help") to get his backpack on, and he was so grateful that he turned to his assistant dog and asked him to wave to Sam to say "thank you." The dog waved--Sam squealed and went ballistic with joy. She had a new best friend. We got so much more out of that gesture than we had put into it. Further, watching the sweet moment between a stranger, a baby, and a dog got everyone else in line to loosen and cheer up--the couple behind me kept her happy and engaged while I tried to do my transaction (much easier without her eating my wallet). I think that's the very definition of paying it forward. I want my kids to learn that it's always better in the end to be nice no matter what the response, but it is always wonderful when it does work out the way you hope right on the spot. I learned that helping others really does help you more.

So there you have it, proof that I'm not always grizzled and crotchety (as my father would call me). Turns out, I have a heart and soul after all. :) Don't worry, I've not gone totally soft, and will be back to my crusty self in no time at all, I might even watch the news tonight, and that always gets me fired up!


Vance & Amanda Williams said...

Wow I need to get me some OXI-CLEAN.. I had scrub baby clothes for hours and try to get poop stains out!! I will definatley be picking some up :)

Carly said...

Get some. Miracle product! I always soak Sam's clothes in the sink with Oxiclean for a few hours and then wash it with detergent and a little more Oxy-clean. Seriously Awesome. (Can not get out set in melted chapstick unfortunately)

~The Pies~ said...

I love this blog entry! LOL! We will take you to the airport any time. It helps that we have a van too. I rather enjoy taking people to airport. Oxi-Clean is amazing!!!!