What is the measure of a good year? I’m sure that if one feels optimistic at the end of a year you could say that it was a good year. If one learned something during the course of that year you could say it was a good year. I know like I know that I discovered more in the past year than at any other time in my life and sharing what I’ve learned seems only too appropriate. In no particular order:
I know like I know that it is never about the dogs if they are unruly, skittish, peeing at inappropriate times or just plain crazy. I know that you can send the dogs out in front of you so to keep people away and you can pull them to your side to bring people back. I know that the phase nothing for nothing is not a bad thing in the dog world and that big hellos and big goodbyes can lead to anxiety. I know that exercise and discipline can give a dog purpose and that love can give them a chance to forgive people for what’s been done to them. I know that waking up nose to nose with a dog starts your day better than any cup of coffee and that training a dog to walk “the loop” every morning will get you a good dose of exercise yourself. I know that a good trainer will teach you more about yourself than about the dogs and that your gratitude for both the trainer and these rescued girls is bigger than you ever could have imagined. Thank you Shawn.
I know like I know that I can never be without a garden no matter the size. The promise of shoots in the spring and the prospect of getting good and dirty on any given day are too good to pass up. To be without the kindness of gardeners would be a shame, as they are among the best people you will ever know. These are people that understand that sharing is not just something you learn in kindergarten but a way of perpetuating beauty and wildlife. Watching the birds go in and out of a garden for food or fodder for their nests is amusing and fulfilling, as if you had some part in making their lives easier and better. Really, the reverse is true. I know that my garden will bring me hours of enjoyment and I’m grateful that I was able to establish it as soon as I did with the help of some wonderful contributors.
I know like I know that I was meant to be on Stowe Lane because I can breathe. No gift has ever been more appropriate than the one from my Summer Sister; a stencil for my wall that says “Breathe, you’re home. “ There isn’t one person who enters my door that doesn’t see those words and exhale. I’ve surrounded myself with only things I love and everywhere I look I smile. I know my home is welcoming and warm and comfortable. It lends itself to entertaining on an intimate scale and my people come often and are willingly to kick their shoes off, eat and laugh. They truly make themselves at home, sometimes staying over in a tiny little guest room that holds the promise of a good cup of coffee in the morning no matter how uncomfortable the pullout might be. My home is a refuge for me and the girls. We have all found a new start in a place that is conducive to growing, learning, relaxing and sharing.
I know like I know that my work is important and appreciated. I know like I know that I am well respected and sometimes just a bit feared. I laugh every time I see that email that says “be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, oh shit she’s up” because there are times I will have to make a visit to someone and inevitably I get the same reaction. I once had a boss that said I could slap you so hard you think you got a kiss. I’m grateful for that gift, it’s served me well. I know that I am grateful for my work, it has allowed me the freedom to live where I live, make the decisions that needed to be made, and live a simple but fulfilling life.
I know like I know that I have work that I aspire to. I believe in what I have to say and hope I can be of some service to those building their own legacy.
I know like I know that the mind body connection is my most valuable tool for good health. I’ve learned to listen to my body and not fight with it any more; it knows exactly what it needs from nutrition, to exercise, to sleep and to heal. I know it will tell me all I need to know and that I should listen damn it. OK it’s not the easiest thing to admit you have limitations at times but limitations in one area seem to strengthen other areas like the blind having amazing hearing. I also have learned that for every physical ailment there very well may be a non-physical cause that one should be willing to explore. I’m grateful for my very good health and my willingness to explore healthy alternatives.
I know like I know that I can be a pain in the ass. Sometimes judgmental in the best intended way if there is such a thing. I know that I’m revered in an eye rolling kind of way but tolerated as that larger than life member of a somewhat conservative yet loving family. Our family is small now and as we get older I seem to live a more seat-of-the-pants kind of life that makes everyone just a little nervous. Make no mistake they love me they just don’t know what to do with me sometimes. I tend to do things on my own terms, I tend to keep things to myself, and I tend to be a little overwhelming in my never ending search for the best way to live my life. I know like I know that my family can depend on me to take care of things when needed. I know I love them very much in my why can’t you do it my way kind of way. I know that if ever I fall on my face they will pick me up. I know that they have a way of looking at things that is probably better than mine but I also know I’m in a very good place and wouldn’t do well in their salt of the earth world. I know like I know that I wouldn’t give them up for anything and if you dare to hurt them you will understand with full fury why the devil says what he does when my feet hit the floor every morning.
I know like I know that my friends sustain me. They get me in so many ways on so many levels. I know that my dear friend can now say the word fabulous. No small feat for someone who’s hemorrhagic stroke nearly killed him. I know that his daughter and I will be friends for life as we learn from each other and help each other on a near daily basis. I know that some friends will come and go throughout your life but you will always be a phone call away for them and them for you. I know that you can’t develop a friendship by yourself. I know that my old friends are my dearest friends and they have made me part of their family. I know that the measure of a good friend is just that they show up. I know that friend and acquaintance is two different things and that acquaintances are valuable in their own way. I know that sometimes you have to say goodbye.
I know like I know that it is a rare thing to have your life affirmed by someone who has not always done the right thing by you. I know like I know that it is a delicate process to get that affirmation in a positive way without ever pointing a finger of blame. And it’s not about just stating the obvious facts. There is a way to honor things that have happened in your life so that what you have become is meaningful. I was given that privilege and I did not take it lightly. My first reaction was anger and a gut wrenching look back over the thirty years of a marriage that fell apart. It was a drive home from Buffalo (6.5 hours) worth of sobbing that exhausted me but brought me to the conclusion that I am what I am today because of what happened to me. There is something called the George Bailey effect where you can imagine what your life would have been if only…. Truthfully, I don’t know what my life would look like now if not for the thirty year journey. I know like I know that I was truthful yet kind, I left nothing out, and yes I took responsibility for those things I let happen. I acknowledge the enormous amount of work that is ahead of me while accepting an acknowledgement from him of his own responsibility. It was the hardest conversation I have ever had but somehow the most forgiving. That does not excuse behavior but it does set me free. I know like I know that I am free to do the work required to heal from the wounds and develop into a loving and trusting person. Not many people are given that opportunity and I am grateful to have had it.
So there you have it, the 2009 I know like I know list. And I know like I know that I have forgotten something but I’ve learned that you can always add it later. I know that I am among the most grateful for this life I’ve been given and though I don’t have much, what I have is yours because this has been a truly good year. I have learned and discovered. I have grown and aged with some measure of grace. I have everything I could possibly need and I remain optimistic about my future…and yours.