You might notice that this dear girl’s eyes look a touch squinty. Poison ivy, or oak or any number of things was the culprit. Fortunately she’s doing well.
The other day I wasn’t feeling so hot. It was one of the last days of spring break. The kids were all sleeping in and I got up early with Paul but wanted to go back to bed. My reflexive shame kicked in and the monkeys starting beating drums, “You’re so lazy. You’re such a loser. You will NEVER finish your proposal.” (It almost always comes back to the stinking proposal, but that’s another story.)
I went downstairs to get a cup of coffee and realized I was hungry. In a rare moment of self compassion I decided to make myself breakfast in bed.
Later, when Eden got up, she came to my room and saw the tray on my bed and asked what I was doing and I told her.
“You just said my dream out loud.”
“It’s my dream to have breakfast in bed.”
“I’ve made you breakfast in bed.”
“But I had to ask for it. My dream is to just wake up and – there it is. You know?”
I did. As much as I preach the need to “Make a request” it is so lovely when someone knows you so well and surprises you with exactly what you want. I tucked away the reminder to do this for Eden some day soon.
Paul is sick today. He has finally learned to just take a day and get a lot of rest in order to avoid dragging for a couple of weeks. He called into work and then put himself back to bed. Eden and I left him alone until late in the morning I asked her to sneak into the bedroom and get something off my nightstand.
She brought it right back with the report that Paul was stirring. “We could make him breakfast in bed!”
I asked if he was really awake. She assured me he was. I should have run up myself to double check, but Eden already had a tray and was picking out Paul’s favorite bowl. I didn’t even know he had one.
While Eden poured the milk and cereal, I doctored up a mug of coffee, grabbed a napkin, a spoon and a pretty dish towel. Eden stripped a small branch from the redbud in a vase on our table and I filled a little glass bowl with water. These niceties, I don’t want to say they’re wasted on Paul, but they’re really for Eden and me, I know.
Eden led the way, I carried the tray and the dogs followed along.
We both knew he just needed to sleep and yet… Paul rolled over and pushed up onto his elbow. I gently set the tray on the bed. He took a few sips of coffee and ate a couple bites of cereal then thanked Eden. We left him to go back to sleep with the big black dog sprawled beside him.
Years ago, not too long after my dad died, I said to a friend who was a social worker with Hospice, “Don’t you feel like you know so much more about how to support someone who has lost a loved one?” I had learned so much as my dad was sick and dying about the logistics of suffering and assumed she, who had walked with dozens of families through the valley of the shadow, would be even more equipped.
An expression I can only describe as stricken, came across her face. “You know, I actually feel less prepared than before. I have seen time after time, something that would be perfect to say to or do for “that” family is the last thing that would be supportive for “this” one. I’m actually stressed that, no matter what, I’m going to say or do the wrong thing.”
When someone we care about is in crisis it can be hard to know what to do. Some of us get so tangled up in our worry about doing the wrong thing, we fail to reach out at all.
Others of us know exactly what that person needs and, with a heart full of love, barge in with an unwanted, albeit lovely, tray.
It is such a relief to remember that there is grace for all of us, still.
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