Monday, October 15, 2012

when sentimentality rules

Our house is a sailboat and the fuck is my life but my life is also a wildly exciting roller coaster ride. And I have been finding more calm lately by simply observing and accepting, returning not only to my yoga mat but also to my former dabblings in Buddhism. I'll write more about that later. The bit I wanted to share today is my newfound lesson that sometimes sentimentality rules.

So I have planned this crazy packed Europe tour for my book, leaving this Friday and returning on the 31st in the afternoon. There is no coincidence in my coming back on Halloween. I feel immensely sad and bad about leaving my four-year-old for so long, even if she'll be in the highly competent care of her loving papa. It's my second long trip overseas this fall and on the previous one I missed first day of preschool. I simply can't miss Halloween.

So I've made these really busy stressful plans, cramming as much as possible into those ten days I'm in Europe before catching a flight out of Amsterdam early in the morning of Halloween to be back, well, for Halloween.

And though it may sound like I've gone entirely mushy, the fact of the matter is that it works.

The concept of time is still way abstract to Lilly. When I asked her if it'd be okay that I'd be gone again overseas to read from my book she paused, then said yes. A while after she added, "but don't leave right now." So I didn't.

We've marked the days on the calendar for when I leave and when I get back. She is wildly excited about Halloween. She tried on her costume this past weekend, and first thing she talked about in bed this morning was about how much fun it will be on Halloween! I added, "yes! And I'll be back for it that day!"

So not only do I repeatedly get to connect something so wonderful as Halloween to my return, I sort of get to sidestep the entire issue of how long I'll be gone. Lilly is more focused on the coming of Halloween than the coming of my leaving. A win-win for both.

But the real lesson that sentimentality is not something to simply brush off, I got from a woman whose father had recently and unexpectedly passed away, a woman who is also the mother of a grown boy with both physical and developmental disabilities. A woman who knows a thing or two about what really matters in our daily life and what's worth holding on to. I ran into her downtown on a recent morning I felt particularly raw and skinless. In chopped sentences I briefly ran my plans by her, sheepishly adding that I knew my itinerary was crazy, but that I wanted to return for Halloween out of sentimental reasons.

"Oh no," she broke me off; "sentimentality rules." "Sometimes sentimentality is the only thing to run your life by."

I go by that.
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