Sunday, May 31, 2009

Enjoy the nuts, they're free

I met my son for lunch the other day. I was expecting pleasant conversation and yummy food -- we met at a gourmet burger place that satisfied both his vegan requirements and my end-of-week desire for something unhealthy. I got that, and more.

Mothers worry about how their children are getting along, no matter how adult those children may be. At least this mother does. So our conversations invariably include my probing for how he's feeling about things -- is he happy? Does he have what he needs? Is he pursuing his dreams? What obstacles are in his way? Can I help?

At this point in his life he's struggling to define his way forward and doesn't appreciate my inquiries, but he usually puts up with them more or less patiently. This time, however, he took a different approach.

"Life is hard, Mom," he said. "It's just really hard. But if it's not going the way you want, you don't jump off the plane. You try to change seats, or wait it out until it lands, and when they come by with nuts, you take them.

"Enjoy the nuts," he shrugged. "They're free."

If Mr. James could talk, I think that's what he'd say. He'd probably substitute sniffing dog poop for snacking on airplane peanuts, but I choose not to split semantic hairs.

So in the days since, I've taken inventory of recent nut deliveries, so to speak. Here's the result:

* Two perfectly lovely May mornings, for long, refreshing walks.
* An elderly man riding a bicycle past me on one of those walks, calling out "Good morning, ma'm, have a great day!" as he pedaled by. His cheery greeting made my whole morning better.
* More than 14 hours of daylight now, and for the next 50 or so days. More light improves everyone's mood.
* Ripe canteloupe - as opposed to those awful orange chunks that pass for melon in restaurant fruit salads all winter long - with fresh raspberries and blackberries mixed in.
* Speaking of raspberries, a raspberry scone from the coffee shop.
* Discovering, totally unexpectedly, an absolutely perfect greeting card for somebody. I'll give it to her tomorrow and I can't wait to see her reaction. I'm pretty sure she will laugh, and she'll enjoy the moment of grace and support I intend for it to share.
* The air conditioner works as the afternoon sun heats things up.
* A phone conversation with a clerk in a government office who was friendly and helpful. You forget how rare it is to find someone, in government or anywhere else, actually willing to help you, and it's a little moment of joy when you do.
* And finally, hearing this quote, attributed to Virginia Woolf, on tv this afternoon: "Arrange whatever pieces come your way."

Seems like another way to say, enjoy the nuts.

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