We laughed as we recalled the blue suit we purchased for Bill’s interviews that cleaned out our savings 30+ years ago. The suit that we planned on lasting for years but after a few drycleans started to disintegrate. How it was an investment into our future. The first job that Bill had selling copiers. He not only recalls how many he sold (two) but also to who. That first commission job that allowed us to survive for six months before he got his next one. The Pontiac Sunbird we had to sell to pay our rent and how the next better job came just in time as we were out of money.
Our camp fire weekend is over, but I still have waves of memories that are coming forth of that time when we first began. The apartment that seemed ideal but turned out less so after getting a call from the manager asking had we seen any bugs? My naïve response, what kind of bugs to her “never mind,” but the next day I saw my first one. What bothered me most was the smell of the exterminator fumes that would permeate for weeks after they’d spray that didn’t do much as all to keep they away.
My good friend from college who was finishing up her last year visiting me one weekend, putting all kinds of fancy items in the shopping cart not realizing that I didn’t have any money and me thinking, how am I going to be able to afford all of this?
The convenient store I worked at across from the apartment complex, porn magazines behind the counter that I would skim through waiting for customers as I munched on chips and candy. How I would play a game with myself and try to make change without using the register and when I made an error the annoyed look I would get from the customers who were in a hurry.
The WIC coupons I would use at the grocery store in town. I can still remember some of the foods on the list, milk, bread, cheese and Kix cereal. The cloudy days of Syracuse lasting from November through Mother’s Day.
The effervescent nature of our daughter who seemed impervious to our plight. Who in some ways would often compensate for our lack of station with her precocious nature extending her hand out to greet people politely saying, “nice to meet you and how are you today as she listened with a grown up ear.” Always preferring adult conversations to her counter part’s childish one. How I tried so hard to be the best mom, the best wife, the best daughter, daughter in law and student and how it took its toll as I started to lose my sense of ease, trust and joy in life. All that effort-ing was for what I wanted others to see in me rather than who I really was.
I remember well the PET (Parent Effectiveness Training Course) that I took on how to be a better mom and was reading it (maybe even quoting it) one day when my daughter slapped the book out of my hand saying, “Do not parent me out of a book!”
Memories of the first few years when things were difficult; but maybe didn’t have to be if I had just trusted more and had gone with the flow of things. Maybe I needed to go through those trials and struggles to get to where I am now. To learn. It is hard to say if it was necessary, but maybe? However, I know today that I am learning to trust my inner being and in doing so the flow of life seems much easier. The Chinese have a saying that I strive for Wei wu Wei—Doing good work and then trusting in life to take it from there.
Ps I think our favorite part of the camping was making the coffee in a pot similar to this one which turned out perfectly the next morning.