by Susan Besze Wallace
MY FUNNIES: Making Scents of the World
Little feet pad into my room. Potty flushes. Bed creaks. Boy nestles. Then the comforting sound of even breaths is shattered by, “Ewwww! What’s that horrible smell? Your mouth stinks!”
Talk about killing a moment. You’re no bubble-gum toothpaste right now either, sweetie.
For years, we endure their smells. As a reward, we get adoration with no boundaries, no judgment. Then one day, they comment on our breath. My youngest shrieks when I wear exercise clothes, remembering the last odor I wrought in them. My eldest can smell if dinner has baked 12 seconds too long. They see us fully now, pointing out eye boogers, pimples and, sniff, our creases. Guess the only thing to do is to be thankful for the breath we have, putrid or not. Rejoice in the ability to exercise, in the laugh lines.
Rejoice … and maybe teach a little tact.
MY HABITS: Cutting the Cord
It’s never a good morning for a hair dryer to spark and die. I ran to my kids’ bathroom, where I’d relegated an old one. One minute and I knew why I’d replaced it. I ran to the basement, where I’d stashed another in guest quarters.
My 3-year-old walked in, furrowed his brow. “You OK, Mommy?” I saw myself in the mirror, a dryer in each hand blowing barely warm air, desperation etched on my face.
Time to face the music. Why on earth had I kept two useless appliances? Why couldn’t I let them go, admit it was over?
I try to coax lipstick out of an empty cylinder for weeks. I still have cheap champagne the title company gave us when we closed on our house — two years ago. I have a tattered cover to “The Big Red Barn” board book. I’ve read it 762 times. Precious to me, even without its innards. But they might show up …
I could start Keepers Anonymous. Bet the meetings would be full.
The stuff. The habit. The relationship. The grudge. The eating pattern. The labels we give ourselves. And yes, the clothes. What are you hanging on to that’s not working anymore?
Sometimes, the past is comfortable. It’s easier not to challenge ourselves, others. If you host the annual family whatever, always ending up draining yourself and your budget, it can still be more comfortable to say yes than rock the boat.
Sometimes, we just hope, a la the hair dryer, that the future will somehow make things work again. The jeans might fit. The friendship might become fulfilling. Sometimes time does heal. Pounds can be shed. The point is to examine what we’re doing, not just cling to what we’ve always done.
Grudges and labels are useless junk in the closet of the conscience. So you heard someone said something about you. Move on. The person or place you’ve always had very strong feelings about — are those feelings based on current truth? Or just hot air turned useless wind?
Use this summer to pull the plug for good on things that aren’t working. Chances are it will free up space under your sink — and in your heart.
Author, journalist and former MOPS leader Susan Besze Wallace enjoys the unfolding stories of Zach (8), Luke (5) and AJ (3) from Northern Virginia.