The Universe was all about life lessons today. I made sure to share them with Sweetie, right up to the moment that the student became the teacher. But I am getting ahead of myself. First, some stories from the day.
While stepping outside to retrieve the paper from the steps, I overheard a loud monologue of profanity echoing through the morning. With the 9:30 AM temperature approaching 60 degrees and the sun shining I thought, “What is all this?” Looking down the street I saw the municipal trucks and realized the traffic pattern on our 1-way street must be challenged because of tree trimming. Apparently, an older gentleman in car #1 (a 90’s Oldsmobile) must have passed through the stop sign in a manner that angered younger gentleman #2 (in a 2010ish Infiniti).
“Pull over old man, I’ll EFF you up (Censored by me-this is a family-friendly blog). Pull the EFF over old man. I’ll EFF you up EFFin’ Old man. Pull over right now.”
Well, the older gentleman listened to this for half a block and decided to put his car in park right in the middle of our street. When he got out and faced gentleman #2, I thought someone pushed pause on the soundtrack. It got real quiet. I could hear the leaves rustling in the fall breeze.
Gentleman #2 uttered a few weak, mumbled responses. Gentleman #1 called him some select, albeit sexist, names. He got back in his car and proceeded on his way, knowing in good faith that old school will always kick your ass.
Around 11:00 AM I was driving Sweetie to her painting class and I pulled up to a red light. I thought my lane was the right lane (all the rest of traffic was on my right), so I was a bit surprised when a white Impala pulled up on my right. I could see a parked car just across the intersection, so I assumed they were making a right turn. Well, with the green light we both went forward until we got to the parked car. Our stalemate ended with the Impala braking hard, swerving behind me and speeding past me on my left. When they passed the passenger yelled something unintelligible at me.
I let them drive on and noticed they were slowing, looking like they were going to make a left turn. Turns out the passenger had more to yell to me and kept making noise as I passed them. Instinctively, my foot went to my brake pedal to slow the car and set us up for a third passing and probably a confrontation. Then I saw Sweetie in the rear view, the fall sun out before me, and instead decided to cruise on to class.
Anecdote #3 (we’re almost there!):
Painting class was a bit of struggle, Sweetie wanted to do everything but paint her pumpkin picture. The class is really like “paint play”, but today she wasn’t having it. She had to sit in my lap, she didn’t want to sit still, she was demanding about the brushes, she dragged her arm through the paint, blah, blah, blah. Cue Frustration.
After class we headed outside to have a picnic lunch in the park. With the temperature safely at 60 and not a cloud in the sky, there was no way we were missing the chance. Sweetie ate fine, but the wind was blowing like 200 miles an hour. And the day was not as warm in the shade. And the park squirrels started circling us (which normally isn’t so bad but today they took a tactical position in the tree we were near and that freaked me out a bit). So lunch became a walking lunch. Bump the frustration a notch.
After the food was done and we escaped the squirrels got into some sun, Sweetie found the park’s largest leaves lying on the ground. She has a thing for leaves and will rake them up, stomp them, collect piles by hand-she just likes playing with leaves. So when she saw these leaves that were as big as her face (I’m not a dendrologist, but I think they were maple leaves), she was completely stoked. She would pick them up and toss them into the wind. And she was just cracking up helping the leaves blow away, outside on a sunny fall day.
So, finally, here are my “take-aways” for today. #1) I told Sweetie that beautiful weather, like today, makes people feel froggy – all big and strong and tough. Like gentleman #2 in his Infiniti and like the passenger in the Impala; when the sun is shining everyone thinks they want to jump in. #2) I let my daughter know that she should never let her mouth write a check her butt can’t cash. This is one of Brother-man’s favorite sayings, and it was a fitting description for gentleman #2 and his tirade being cut short when he was called out. And #3), my last life lesson for today, was all for me. Sweetie was a perfect example of enjoying a moment and finding happiness is something simple and accessible. It reminded me of a recent post from Stay-at-HomeField Advantage. SAHD “Ryan” talks about taking a page from a child’s playbook and remembering to see the wonder and the good around us. And that was what my daughter was doing today right in front of me. No structured lesson, no directions, do drama, no raised voices. Just the sun and the wind and the leaves to enjoy.