A couple of weeks ago, Doug and I drove 2 hours north to meet the prospective buyer of our boat. We arrived early to make sure it was clean. It’s amazing how dusty and dirty a boat can get floating all alone in a marina.
As I sat on the comfortable seat cushions, I saw the evidence of my mom’s skill and presence.
She had no use for boats of any kind. She thought we were foolish for buying the boat. (she may have had a point). She was afraid I would get hurt. But when it came to helping with a project, she was always there.
Doug dismantled the bunk beds and seat cushions and brought them home. We bought new foam and fabric to reupholster them. Then, on one of my folks visits to Oregon, Mom offered to help. She was an excellent seamstress. I sew, but had never done upholstery. And I don’t like anything with extra steps, like piping around the edges. She assured me it was no big deal.
As we carefully tore apart the old upholstery, Doug cut the new foam to match the old cushions. Mom used the old fabric as a pattern on the new, showed me how to add piping and absolutely insisted I do some of the sewing. I would have happily let her do all the sewing, but she wanted me to learn something new and share in the satisfaction of a finished project.
Mom was smart that way. And sitting on the cushions, possibly for the last time, I was glad for the memory of something shared with one I’d loved so much.
And by the way, the guy never showed up to look at the boat. So… she’s still available!
As for patterns, seat cushions or life choices, we all follow them… bad, good or iffy.
A ridiculous pattern of mine – – get up early, stay up late, eat too many late night snacks. Then I can’t sleep and wake up feeling yucky. I’ve changed this pattern before. I know I can do it again. Just step away from the pantry, Brooke, and go to bed!
And it was my people pleasing pattern that convinced me I could become an open water, PADI certified diver in my early 50s. I carry my certification card in my wallet because I suffered greatly to earn it. But I truly don’t like being under water. My feet belong on solid earth with my lungs breathing open air, just as God intended.
It’s been a life long process to break that pattern of saying “yes” rather than an honest “no”.
I’ve been thinking about the patterns my husband and I have followed over the years. That is a crazy, big subject to ponder! Some patterns were well thought out. Some a little sketchy, like piling our earthly goods into a truck with our two year old son, my pregnant body and heading for Alaska. In winter. Turned out to be the best sketchy decision we ever made.
And what thought pattern causes a 71 year-old and a 76 year-old to put their house up for sale and plan a cross country move in the middle of coronavirus? It’s not complicated. It’s just called living a life.
We always knew we would sell the house when we were the only ones left in it, and… there’s a hot real estate market now, and… fear is not a part of our pattern. I give Doug much credit for this.
When Doug was diagnosed with leukemia, it was a huge shock. It was not an aggressive or acute form, but still, it came with a 5 to 7 year prognosis. There was no cure and no clinical trials. We were told to “watch and wait” until it was time for chemotherapy. Then chemo brought it’s own difficulties of sickness, infections and surgery.
That diagnosis was given to him 22 years ago! He chose, almost immediately, to forge ahead like a steam roller. Except for blood tests and an annual visit with the oncologist, we never talk about it. There is no point. All that can be done has been done. So, we live our lives. And that is how I view this pandemic.
To me, frequent hand washing and social distancing are common sense. Traveling this summer, I saw more than one masked woman enter, use restroom facilities then leave without washing her hands. And there will always be people who cough and sneeze without covering up. Nothing will change those patterns of behavior. But that doesn’t mean we should give up living our lives, our work, and our schools.
I love the answer Vice President Pence gave in his 60 Minutes interview when pressed if people should cancel Thanksgiving gatherings. He said they believed in the American people to make the choice that’s right for their family.
So do I.