Simple pleasures are always encouraged and we are told to focus on the things that really matter in life, not “stuff,” but people and time well spent. There is, however, one “thing” I truly love and it represents some of the best time I spend. It is my green couch. I know it is not new and is tattered as a result of my dog sneaking up there to sleep in comfort when no one is home, and lately, even when we are home, the rascal!
The couch represents relaxation, time to myself and my favorite thing to do is to curl up under the plaid blanket with a good book and time. I can get up early, before the family awakes, and sneak on the green couch, get settled under the blanket and luxuriate in the escape of a story, someone else’s adventure, problems or revelations.
As I gaze up occasionally, looking out at the trees swaying softly, the prayer flags we made last New Year’s blowing our wishes into the breeze, I sigh and sink further into the soft couch pillows, pull the blanket up to my chin and return to reading. These are the times I treasure, when I can regenerate and rest my mind, the thinking turned in another direction and my life on temporary hold while I explore other possibilities.
The complicated relationship of sisters is one that is both frustrating and compelling for sisters share more than just genes, they share history and experiences that no one else knows about or relates to. Sisters have periods of extreme distance and extreme closeness that don’t always coincide, but the fact remains that the sister connection cannot be severed.
I am so grateful for my relationship with my sister for we share more now that we are older and have more in common than we have differences. We both love to: read, write, create art, talk, research, walk, explore, learn, share family experiences, and most importunately share and relive our memories of each other, our parents and our years of growing up together. We are lucky to live relatively close to each other and fortunate that we get some special “sister time” to spend together.
I have always told my three daughters that their sisters are their best friends and though I am sure they don’t always believe me, I hope they find it to be true, as I have, as they grow older.
A friend told me recently that we are given packages in life, so I began to think about the concept of our lives being a series of packages and it seems to make sense. We are given these gifts and all are different, some wrapped in seemingly lovely wrapping, but holding something different from our expectation once opened, while others are wrapped in simple butcher paper but hold a treasure inside. Packages range in size and shape and also in content. We sometimes get more than we bargain for and other times open our package to fine it nearly empty, but the truth is that when you accept a gift, it becomes yours and you own it.
Often we don’t realize the gifts we have until they are no longer ours, the packages opened and the contents familiar, then suddenly taken away. Tonight I drew the card: Follow the Scent and I was reminded that the memories of our lives can be evoked by a familiar or long lost scent, which triggered a memory of my mother in her last few years. I think that as we age, our senses are weaker and for my mother, who loved scents of all kinds, it meant a strong dose of perfume so she could smell it beginning with Oscar de la Renta, then later a blend of eucalyptus, Stress Relief, it is called, doused liberally and filling the room with her presence even after she left the room. Now I miss those smells and I find myself inhaling as I stroll through her rooms in the house, or drive in her car, which is now mine. If I take in the remnants of her scent, I actually get choked up and feel a wave of her sweeping over me. It is torture, but I love it.
The thing about packages is that they sometimes arrive when least expected, as a surprise and other times I feel like a child waiting and wishing for the holidays and my package arrives late, slightly torn open on the corners, and not quite as prettily wrapped as I would expect. I open the package up, cautiously, not sure if it will meet my expectations, and then get something I have to keep even though I have no use for it, like a handmade knit sweater that I will never wear. I take out the contents and think, “Great! What am I supposed to do with this?” I am empathetic and don’t want to hurt the gift giver’s feelings, but this package is just not what I pictured, yet here I am stuck with the contents and forced to find a use for them, put them away in the back of a drawer or “re-gift.”
Life is funny that way, delivering surprises and testing us to figure out a use for them. Sometimes a gift card is the best package after all, to be used for what ever you want and saved for a special occasion or just to provide a needed dose of happiness.