Aside from Harley Love and Bode, I spend most of my time with the same three people every day: Ben, Maya, and Katrin. While I would love to add Jonah to that list, the unfortunate truth is, especially in the summer when he is volunteering at Camp Jabberwocky on Martha’s Vineyard, it’s a period of time when we just don’t get to physically be near one another as much as we would like.
Those three, however, are the people that know me better than anyone else, are up to speed every day with what’s going on in my life, I trust the most in both their thoughts and actions, and who have proved their love and loyalty to me over the many years I’ve known each of them. They are not my “everything”, but they are three people who I feel an enormous obligation to serving well every day in return for the way they have cared for me over time.
As much as I’m painting a picture of a conflict-free life with them, we all know that would be a lie. There are inevitably times when each of them do something that bothers me on some level. Ben will do something as small as give the kids an entire sleeve of rice cakes to eat in the back seat of my car (the #1 crumbliest snack of all time), to as big as schedule a business event on our sacred family day (Sundays). Maya will insist on calling me well after my bedtime every night she’s at college because it’s convenient for her, and will sometimes spend noticeably more time at her Dad’s than with us. Kat will regularly set the fire alarm off sending us scrambling around the house to throw every window and door open in the dead of the winter, sometimes at 6am…when the kids are still fast asleep.
Sitting here in my rational, patient state, I recognize that none of those are monumentally terrible things at all. But, in the moment when all the stars align (I’m overtired, I’ve had a long day of things not going my way, etc.), I won’t have as much clarity and will allow these sorts of things to really eat away at my soul.
The thing that I do to help pull me back to reality when I feel myself getting frustrated with the people I love is this: I think back to a time when they really came through for me in my own time of need, a time when they gave up a lot of their own time and energy to invest in supporting me through a hard time. With Ben, I think about the times he’s dropped everything in his life, with zero hesitation, to be with me to care for my father in the hospital or simply come home to hold me close to him while I cried…for hours. For Maya, I think about the times she’s taken my own hardships on as her own; all of the times she’s looked at me with those eyes and spoke to me with that intention in her voice that left me without question about how I was not going to have to feel the hurt all by myself. And, Kat. This is a young woman who I have always been able to count on to completely dial into every detail and every angle of the many challenges I have faced from family alcoholics, body image issues, and friendships I have struggled with.
The moment I catch myself getting caught up in the little, minor things that are unimportant in the big picture, I go to these qualities and am immediately brought back to what does matter and how incredibly lucky I am to have them each in my life every day. All of each of them.