Photo: We took Auntie to the farm on Wednesday. She loves it as much as we do. This place… it’s magical, I swear.
Lordy, it has been an incredible week.
Thanks again for your patience this week while I had so much fun with my sister. She left yesterday and made it home safely. There were tears and promises, hugs and kisses. Today, I hosted my very good friend, who has two boys of her own and came out to the country to visit me. She has a fabulous top-floor apartment in a cool part of the city, yet all she wanted to do was stare at my house. We talked about our sets of boys, gossiped about old colleagues, spoke about this insane suburban existence of mine…
I’ve written a lot about my loneliness these last few months. Especially during the winter. To be clear, I’m with people all the time, I’m even functional and pleasant, but I haven’t been my full self until this week. This week was me. All of me. All of my truth and my fullness and my self.
And it felt awesome.
Sometimes, you have to fill the jar.
I filled my jar with laughter this week. And with good stories. I filled it with revelations I didn’t know, and retellings of truths I needed to remember. I filled it with people who know me and truly love me telling me the things I needed to hear: “you’re doing a good job.” “You work so hard.” “This is all how it is meant to be.” “Your home is warm, welcoming, and perfect for you.”
And “stop listening to Mom. Why do you pay her all that attention?”
My sister is a funny one.
But she is right, as many younger siblings are. Unencumbered by the feelings of obligations and responsibility that first-borns usually feel, they see the world with brilliant clarity and have a whole lot to say.
About Mom poking me about not having a “real” job or working on my career:
“Yeah, Mom doesn’t talk to me about that. She knows I ignore her when she starts that shit.”
About Mom not coming up here to see the boys:
“She hasn’t come to visit Texas and I’ve been there for three years. So when she makes a fuss about my going to Maryland, the very first thing I ask is, ‘when you comin’ to Texas?’ She never seems to have an answer, so I don’t give her one of my own.”
About the suspension of the annual family vacation (by Mom and other members of that generation):
“That’s why we need to have a Sister Vacation. Next year. We are going to pick a beach, a property, and a week. It’s going to be great!”
About the universe seemingly falling down all around us in an onslaught of insanity:
“You’ve gotta stop watching the news all the time. Here, we’re turning off the television.”
Isn’t she great? I am really lucky.
While it wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine, my sister and I have had a civil and cooperative relationship our entire lives. Being away from each other since my going to college has only strengthened the bond… absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say. But now, especially, being two grown adults with adult lives and adult problems has opened up even deeper channels of friendship and sisterhood. I don’t know when or how, I just know that I’m grateful. I didn’t realize how much I needed her until she got here, and now that she has returned to her awesome life far away, I miss her beyond measure.
But my jar is so full of all the warmth and joy that she brought with her that I know that I’ll be ok.
As a fairly sensitive introvert, I have to remember how to fill my jar. It isn’t just the quiet times to read, write or craft… that’s the daily required self care, but minimally filling. To fill the jar, I have to be with people, but only my closest confidants, sharing with full honesty with an openness to any and all consequences. I can’t fill my jar by simply being with people, listening to stories or even telling one or two of my own. What fills my jar is the significance that such sharing implies and gives, the fun of revelations and surprises, the depth of understanding that comes with time. This is not something that can be done with just anyone and, unfortunately, those people who I love most are busy, beautiful and far away.
But every six months or so, the jar is filled. My jar is full. I feel completely full and happy today. I feel understood and seen and loved and full today, something I haven’t felt in a while.
Slowly, but surely, it will drain again. The little and big things alike will take away from this feeling. But it just means that I’ll get to fill it again, and isn’t that so wonderful?
It’s a Friday when all who love and are loved can be equal under the law. It’s a Friday when a President can lead thousands in healing, prayer and hymn. It’s a Friday when the needed rain gives way to blue skies and brilliant sun. It’s a Friday when I wish you a jar more full than empty. Fill it with music, beautiful and jubilant, preferably while outside in the glory of summer. Bonus if you move your hips and kick your feet. Extra bonus if you dance with a person you love. Fill it with food, light and fresh, prepared by skilled hands. Bonus if it’s at your favorite little spot. Extra bonus if you share it with your favorite person. Fill it with a single act of kindness, humbly and joyfully performed, spontaneous in nature. Bonus if your kindness is passed on to another. Extra bonus if your kindness makes a person smile for the rest of the weekend. Fill your jar, Dear Reader, with the sweet song of wisdom: knowing that you are loved, knowing that you are admired and knowing that you are so worthy of both.
Until Monday, take care.