You’re A Natural


“That’s great mothering!” The woman exclaimed as I ushered the two boys out of the bathroom stall at Mission Playground.

I smiled, reached for the soap dispenser and looked at her in the mirror, “thanks!  But I’m not the mom.”

“Oh, well, you are a natural at nurturing, you should really now that,” she smiled, waved at the boys and left the bathroom.

“What did she say to you?” The oldest boy asked washing his hands and then playing the favorite, which also happens to be one of the most annoying games he plays, hand dryer roulette, in and out of the automatic hand dryer, which makes the three-year old clap his hands over his years and squinch his eyes shut until the noise has stopped racketing about the ceramic tiles in the bathroom.

“She said I was doing a good job,” I told the five-year old and then we headed back out into the world.

I don’t think about it much, maybe after 8 1/2 years of doing it, it really just does come naturally.

But.

I suspect that I am a natural at care taking.

I can take it too far and not take care of myself, but over the years I have developed better and better self-care.

I still have to practice a lot.

I had to do so this afternoon.

I was invited over to a sleep over snuggle fest at my friend’s house.

Oh.

How.

I.

Wanted.

To.

Damn it man.

He’s got one of those California King beds that you could just sink into and float away.

Except.

Well, I know that I would drift off and never come back.

There are things to do.

Places to be.

Dance parties to go to.

Yes.

I am going dancing tomorrow night and I am looking forward to it, I got a sweet little thumbs up from a friend I haven’t seen in a few weeks about seeing her there and my lady, the luscious Bon Bon will be hitting the floor sans walking boot from when she hurt her ankle.

Ah walking boots, love to hate you.

But yes, dancing, and I even know what I’m going to wear and that was part of it, the turning down the request for the sleep over, I need to be here, in my space, in my home, using my shower and doing my deal.

It’s a part of my self-care that I can and have neglected over the past weeks and days, I get carried away in the experience and then I’m not present or tired at work and that is no good.

I get frustrated and often when I am telling the littlest guy to use his words and take a deep breath, I am really talking to myself.

I am often at the emotional level of a three-year old.

I just have to take myself in hand and say, hey little girl, you’re going to be alright.

It’s all going to be just alright.

I’m not always a natural at self-soothing, but at least I don’t obsessively wring my hands any longer or rub my feet back and forth–classic self-soothing actions.

I will still catch myself twirling my hair, which I used to do as a child and would give myself bald spots on my head.

I’m not sure how or when I stopped.

I suspect there was a shard of violence behind the lesson and today I strive, really strive to be the best nanny I can, and to explain and express and take time and be tender and love the boys.

I really do love them.

Awful hard.

Even when I get tired and don’t think I can do it another day.

I do it.

I show up.

That’s natural too.

I show up for a lot of people and though I know I need to create that space that allows me to be there for another, I can only do it if I’m taking care of numero uno.

I used to think that was the ultimate selfishness.

Of course.

I was taught that.

How dare I take care of myself or my needs when others are reliant upon me, my money, my skills, my abilities to provide comfort.

I like those characteristics about me, I love them in fact, but as it’s been said before, I do have to make sure that oxygen mask is on me before I go assist another.

I can spend the night tomorrow or Saturday at my friends.

Or not.

Time will tell.

I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.

I hardly know what’s going to happen the rest of today.

I am going to finish my blog.

I will fold my laundry.

Maybe I will have a bowl of cherries.

Life is all about the sitting in the space and seeing the beauty inherent in the right now and the right here.

“You’re always going to taste like cherries to me and cinnamon spice tea, you’re going to smell like wood fires burning in my back yard, no matter what happens, I have this sense memory and association,” I told my friend and laughed, looking up at the stars.

Paris was painful, hard, egregious at times and so raw and beautiful it scoured my soul and set me on a different path.

But no matter how much it hurt, it was always smothering me with gorgeous sense memory.

Paris will always taste like apples to me.

Specifically the apples from the market around Square D’Anvers on Friday afternoons.

I wish I could remember the name of the apple, it is just there on the tip of my tongue.

I remember the flesh though, crisp and tart and sweet, white snowy flesh with marbles of red through out and a sort of yellow cream mottled skin that was also burnished with red.

I was not always happy to engage with the woman who ran that stall at the market, but as the weeks came and went and I always went back with my cloth canvas bag from Le Merle Moquer bookstore in the 20th, she grew if not friendly, at least not curt and once even threw in a pretty extra apple for me.

I have a tendency to always dwell on the positive.

Paris tastes like apples.

My friend like cherries, wood smoke, and cinnamon.

My heart is a deep well of many flavored things and smells and love.

Love.

All the things.

And I am.

Indeed.

A natural at that.

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