Let me back up and give you the story. Yesterday I heard a voice on my son’s answering machine saying that unless J.R. called to say he shouldn’t, he was on his way to Portland. Now, J.R. was at work, uncontactable, so the reality was that a person or persons unknown could be wending their way to Portland.
I’ll admit it: I had a sinking feeling. The house is already so crowded, as my daughter and granddaughter are visiting, how could we fit any more in? But I questioned my thoughts. Did I know that Person/Persons were arriving today? No. Were they here now? No. Is it my house? No. Is it my business? No. So I proceeded to have a joyful day. Until I heard, after my son was home, that his childhood friend (and a young man I used to call my “Second Son”) was on his way. Cool! With his FIVE children. I immediately escaped to my room to do The Work.
I managed to keep myself in the moment. Adrienne came down, I believe, and asked if I wanted to go to dinner. Gosh! Yes! Okay, so Adrienne, Kat, Cass, and I went to Riyadh’s. Lovely! Came home to find I needed to Work again. Is the house full of people yet? No. Is it my business? No. Adrienne, Cass, and I walked to New Seasons, where I saw a fellow I know, Charles, in the beer aisle, and he asked if I’d like to go for a pint with him in an hour or so. Yes!!!!!! A thousand times, yes! A bit of alcohol probably wouldn’t hurt if I were to face the prospect of 11 people in the house, sharing one bathroom.
So I went out for an hour or so, and we had a lovely time. I came home, and I realized the big family had not yet arrived, and the living room was full of people, people I love, watching a DVD I really wanted to see. But it was still too much for me; overload of senses, I guess. I was thankful I could just go to my room and read, which I did, sending my love to all first.
This morning, the first thought was panic that the house might be chock-full of people. I brought myself into the present, though, asking myself questions about my thoughts — welcoming them in, offering them a chair, and inviting them to share with me. They did, happily, and I found myself saying, “Jen, you don’t even know if they’re here! Do you hear them? No. Are you peaceful and happy and supported right here? Yes. Is there anyone in this house you don’t love with all your heart? No. Whose business is it if my son wants to share his home? His. If I want the place cleaner, that’s my problem, not his. They can just enjoy people being there and they don’t mind the clutter. Isn’t that great? I’m not sure how it happened, but I’m delighted my kids are not as finicky as I am.” And so on.
I bounded out of bed, a smile on my face. I thought I’d pop up and make some coffee while everyone was still asleep. Through the connecting door…heading for the bathroom..cue Sound of Child Crying.
Well, it wasn’t until I heard that infant wail that two realities hit me:
(a) They ARE here! Help! and
(b) I don’t have to be! Yay!
All of a sudden, I truly saw that it wasn’t my business. My business is to take care of myself, and My Self prefers less crowded and noisy spaces, even if they’re filled with loved ones. I didn’t have to stay! I was free to go! I turned on my heel and went back to my room. I changed my clothes, packed up my computer, and SNEAKED OUT THE BACK DOOR. I left a cheery note so no one would worry, but I left.
Rarely have I left home with such glee — and it’s probably been 40 years since I sneaked out a back door. I’ve been sitting happily at Tiny’s, doing the crossword, working on my blog, chatting with the staff, and having some excellent coffee.
And I did a little James Brown dance before I got here!