Day 70 of 100 intentional, reflective steps.
As I was frying some eggs for lunch and subsequently fishing some shells out of the whites I remembered my mother always saying “egg shells just ruin the taste of the egg.” As a child I wondered, what does an egg shell taste like anyway? How could it ruin the taste of a perfectly fried egg? So. I chewed up some shells (Yes. I was/am that child.), verifying my suspicions that eggshells in fact, taste like nothing at all. What she was trying to say is that the presence of eggshells ruin the eating experience, not the actual taste.
Growing up, my mother’s birthday was designated as the day we decorated our Christmas tree every year. It was our family tradition. I don’t remember telling the minions that but apparently I did. The other day one of them suggested we take up that tradition again, in honor of a grandmother that hasn’t met them, doesn’t know them and who has adamantly, repeatedly and actively rejected me since 1990. It was sweet. They were giving deference to my love of tradition by bringing back my childhood memories.
Only, I don’t want to bring that date forward. Its an eggshell in my skillet. I just acknowledge it as a day, among many, that has the potential to ruin my holiday experience. Dates are not impersonal. They are not a living “thing” but have characteristics that make us believe they are; kind of like children with their favorite toys. Dates can absorb and seem to expect attention and love. They sneak up on you and you realize you missed them or are reminded that you didn’t like them in the first place. We humanize dates and give them permission to speak because they pack memories and emotions with them. Their hair trigger responsiveness to our acknowledgement gives them life.
My mother’s birthday, December 9th, stands as a memoriam to all the days we’ve missed together and of all the fear and hurt I feel when I think of her. New Years Eve is no longer just a changing of the guard where one year takes over for the previous year. It is now a remembrance of another year without my sister. There are so many days that mean something significant. The calendar can become a landmine for emotions. My solution? I acknowledge the emotions I feel as days drip off the calendar. I stare them down like I used to eyeball mischievous little ones, just making sure they know I see them so they won’t be tempted to stir up trouble. Its my way of saying “I see you. You will not rain on my parade, color on my picture or tip my apple cart today.”