A Season of Rebirth

Grandma Max & Pap

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. My late Grandmother Maxine would have us to her home in Tucson for a simple meal after church, and we’d all enjoy chocolate. She loved chocolate, and it was her annual sacrifice for Lent.

I think of her often, how she’s molded who I am today, and how I wish I was more like her. She rarely complained. She rarely missed church. Her family was always her first priority. She was a child of the Great Depression, and this made her a practical, frugal adult. Our Christmas cookies often came in recycled cottage cheese containers, for example. She felt no shame in this.

That said, she loved beautiful things, for which she also felt no shame. She loved American Indian jewelry. I was lucky to inherit several pieces when she died; I still get choked up when I wear them. I wore one of her necklaces when we were married, and always wear a piece of her jewelry for important book events.

This week, as the world watched Notre Dame catch fire, I thought of her. My grandparents traveled to Europe on vacation in their late 70s. Her heart would have broken to see a place of worship in flames, especially during Holy Week. However, I think her spirits would have been lifted, as mine were, to see Parisians fill the streets to sing hymns in response.

My grandparents also spent many years living in Louisiana, and knowing my practical, ever-loving grandmother — her charity would have gone to the Baptist churches burned by an arsonist earlier this month. I can see her writing that check to meet her budget –$12, or $18, or whatever she could give.

I miss her dearly. When I sit in silence, I feel her presence, nudging me back toward church, pushing me toward closer relationships with my cousins, giving me the eye when I put the cottage cheese container in the recycling bin.

How lucky I have been to have these strong, faithful women in my life. As we celebrate Easter this weekend, I am thankful for them. It was, after all, a strong and faithful woman who told everyone of the resurrection.

Happy Easter, Passover, weekend to you and yours.

Kelli

The Balance

Driving into work this morning, I thought about how the happiness and satisfaction of relationships depends on balance. Imaging each person on a seesaw, the best relationships work when the emotion desired in the center is actually centered.

He doesn’t love you more than you love him, for example. When the love sits in the center, balanced, you are both working to put the other person first. No one is selfish. No one is a martyr.

For other relationships, this center point is time. I have several where I want more time than the other person is willing to give. I want more attention. I’m on my end of the seesaw, flailing, waving my arms, asking for more. The other person is swinging along through life busy with their own thoughts and obligations.

The contrary is also true. Everyone has had the relationship (be it family or friend) where the person wants more than you can give. It may be time or attention or even pity.

The dramatic friend. The friend who always thinks the world is ending. The friend who needs you to babysit her kids so she can go to a party you aren’t invited to. No thanks.

The best friendships are those where you both go through life on your end of things and when do you have time for each other, everything slides into place naturally. There is no grief or guilt for not having spoken sooner. You’re too happy to be together now.

This year, I’m interested in two points of personal growth: being more disciplined and present. I am guilty of not listening to my husband when he is telling me about his day. I’ve spent all day waiting to get back to him, and yet too often I find myself playing on my phone when he is finally standing in front of me, waving his hands for attention. (Metaphorically, of course. My husband is the least needy person I’ve ever met.)

To 2019 and finding better balance.