Sometimes all it takes to get my head screwed back on is a chance to take a look at my life through someone else’s eyes. Rarely do I have the opportunity to really see it, my life, my family.
I have been cranky. Scratch that – Cranky. And cranky leads to feeling ungrateful and bitchy.
MQD volunteered us to host a student from the local Won Buddhism temple. He asked me about it first, naturally, and I said “No problem!” in my customary way and promptly forgot all about it. I was knee-deep in being Cranky when he reminded me “I pick up the student tonight from temple, don’t forget.”
You’re fucking kidding me, right? I am limping (tendonitis and bursitis in my aging hips, a post to follow) and angry and Lucy is teething and I guess I need to put clean sheets on the bed and make dinner and paste a smile on my face and pretend to be the Happiest American Family in All the Land. Great.
“I can pick him up after dinner time and we will go to meditation at 6:30 tomorrow morning, it’s ok.”
It’s ok. MQD likes to say “It’s ok.” I used to translate “it’s ok” in my mind to mean “what you are saying is not important and actually not a reason to complain, why are you so damn difficult?” I heard it as a dismissal when all he ever meant was “It’s ok.” I have spent the last year learning to hear him say “it’s ok” and think only “Thank you. You’re right. It really is ok.”
So, in the spirit of “It’s ok” I said “Great. See you tonight. I will make dinner. Vegetarian something just in case.”
He walked in to the house smiling. He left his shoes by the front door. His iPad in hand with the Google Translate app open, he simply smiled. 19 years old. He has been in the US for only a week. MQD showed him to his room. Emily helped me finish setting the table. Lucy smiled back at him.
As I finished getting dinner ready I overheard him talking to Lucy. She was yelling at him “Shoes! Shoes!” and trying on the shoes he had left by our front door. Laughing again he said to me “I speak little English.” Pointing at Lucy I said “You speak more than she does, and I hang out with her all of the time.” I wasn’t sure if he had understood my joke and I resisted the desire to repeat myself, louder. “Lucy and me – best friends” and he clasped his hands together. He got my joke.
It was a nice evening. The kids were pleasant. Baked ziti for dinner. I had a cocktail on the porch with my neighbor while MQD and his new friend talked horror movies and music. Studying to be a priest or not he was still a 19 year old boy.
Morning meditation was skipped. He asked if he could spend more time with our family. Over the top of his cup of coffee MQD looked to me to answer. “Of course.” Somehow in the midst of pasting a smile on my face I had felt the fog lift just a bit.
As I drove him to temple later in the morning he struggled to find the words. “Envy. I envy you. Your house. Family. Two children. And a dog. It is as in a dream?”
It’s better than ok. It is a dream. And I needed to be reminded.