so, some of it got paid forward today

Today…. well, a bit overwhelming in bits and pieces.

On the way to Aberdeen along with my mom she let me stop by the brand spankin’ new business of a local blogger, Etsyan, and young mother for a mystery package. After touring their office (the pride in their hard work really shone through) I accepted a gift package and well-wishes for the family. When I got in the van I found in the packet coloring books, crayons, and other little bits for my children as well as a Visa gift card with the following message:

“Sometimes things can be tight – regardless there’s always someone looking out for you! Go buy some cheese for those pizzas! [heart] & hugs – [signed] Amazing Family

I sat there a minute and swallowed hard while my mom asked me what my brief visit was all about. It’s hard for me at times because I work so hard to make sure my writing here is never a specific communication to anyone or a plea for any kind of help or consideration (as my friend Cyn says, “can I tell you how I feel without you feeling like you need to solve me”). I always want the freedom to write what I want to write even if that might make others uncomfortable (or maybe, on the other hand, colossally bored, whatever). On the other hand, all the rest of you reading this, you are nowhere near as cool as this woman for how kind she was to me today.

I kid, I kid. No really. I am totally kidding. And yes, I am going to buy us some excellent cheese.

Three minutes after this visit I set my bag of goodies on the floor of the van, get out, and hoist Nels into the parking lot for our all-too-familiar trip to my father’s biweekly poisoning session. When we arrive in the new chemo ward (fancy!) I realize I know three of the seven patients there. My own father and two fathers of friends I grew up with. You know, I never get angry at Cancer. But today I was really struck by seeing these men and I felt like there was some cruel joke being played on all of us. Why are these men being stricken, weakened, and yes, taken from us while they still have so much to offer?

The second part of my day I am on foot with my two children through the rain and wind. This is because I had no gas in the van and had piggybacked on my mom’s errands (hanging posters for our theatre’s upcoming showing of Mary Poppins among other things) so when she suddenly found herself caught short she dumped us in West-ass Hoquiam to take her meeting. Luckily my children are seasoned winter travelers.

“You really need to learn how to play that game,” I tell my son as we walk. Nels has this remedial, caveman-like concept of Paper Rock Scissors, the game I’ve adopted to help the kids choose who gets to ring the bell on the bus, or pick the ice cream flavor to split with one another. He thinks Rock should beat everything else (I swear, this makes sense to me). Depending on Sophie’s mood she will either take advantage of this to win, or deliberately Scissors so he gets the prize. When she wins, and we don’t do a rematch, he howls with anger.

Spending so much time on foot, bus, and bike (I have $134 left to pay off my new bike’s layaway… I am just so excited for it!) is a real blessing. I experience my children, my community, and my world so much more viscerally. Things slow down. I am grateful for my alpaca mittens and I think ahead about packing snacks in my pockets for the kids. I rarely see anyone out with their kids in this town. I see dads walking fast with a kid in a stroller, smoking. That’s about it. Everyone else is in cars.

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