The days march, the apartment echoes, the tears well up. It’s my last week in Brooklyn, and I’m alternately excited and devastated. Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when it’s a place you feel so incredibly at home in.
Eugene, my neighbor of 9 years, turned 92 last week. He’s the oldest of the old-timers around here, and I’m sad to say I didn’t really meet him until about 18 months ago. You see, he’s lived in the house next door for over 70 years, and in this neighborhood his entire life, and he’s not forgotten a thing. I can’t really think about the 7 years I didn’t know him, and just enjoy every minute I get to sit on his porch and listen to his stories. He has no end of them, that’s for sure.
In the comments to my Friday Roundup (in which I refer to the subject of failing to feel lovely, among other tidbits and links) my friend Karin commented that she finds it a good antidote, when feeling unlovely, to do something nice for someone else “… even if it’s just flashing a brilliant smile and a sincere thank you to the coffee guy who looks more miserable than you - their startled and pleased smile could be just the thing you need!” It stuck with me, and when casting about for a Question today (the 186th one so yes it gets hard some days!) I remembered a not-so-nice encounter on the subway last week, and here we are.
So what interesting or meaningful or simply memorable encounters have you had with strangers lately? Glances, conversation, helpfulness, kindness, nastiness … what’s your story? I’ve had a few that stick out, and I’ll get the nasty one out of the way first.
Tidbits from my week, some observed, some linked … enjoy and have a great weekend!
- Being real is scary and makes me feel vulnerable, but utterly necessary and I need to do it more often.
- This powerful post on motherhood and identity on Her Bad Mother’s Basement comes from the other side of the fence in terms of kids and identity, and I found it a fascinating read. I don’t relate personally, but utterly respect her position.
- As I walked down the sidewalk yesterday afternoon, with both kids in tow and likely a longsuffering expression on my face, a couple and their two kids passed me going the other direction. The father had just had some sort of a confrontation with the girl, and as we passed each other, he turned to me and said “This parenting thing is HARD!”. I was jolted into agreeing wholeheartedly, and went on my way feeling a bit less frustrated with my day, and little less alone.
- How I spent five hours of my life on one pretnatal check up, thanks to Bethany Actually. We’ve all had days like this …
Of course, when one takes it upon himself to discipline your kid in your absence that’s one thing; when it is done in your presence - that’s another story.
Walking home with my boys today after school, they were in full swing as usual. We were on our final block and Douglas was in explanation mode, telling me all about an invention of some sort. Fynn was just jumping out of the stroller to run ahead and ‘hide’ on the steps. A woman walking past me got a lovely smile on her face, looked with appreciation at my boys, and then said to me, “Oh how lovely, you’ll never be alone! That’s so nice.” I looked up in surprise and a bit of wonder, agreed with her, and murmured something about them always having each other too. Barring tragedy, she’s right, and I’d never thought about it that way before. I’ll always have family. That’s a beautiful thought, and a new perspective for me. I got the sense that she was alone, and while not bitter about it, she was wistful. I’m extra thankful for my family tonight!