reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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old navy flipflops

FullSizeRender68 miles doesn’t sound like a lot until you think about it all in flipflops. $2 on-sale-old-navy flipflops. in the last 19 days (5 of which were spent driving long-distance road trips) we have walked a total of 68 miles (this is the distance logged when carrying my cellphone….we don’t have fitbits so in-the-house or around the yard steps are not logged.). this doesn’t seem remarkable necessarily (although walking to downtown chicago – 66 miles from here – in flipflops seems a bit daunting); if you take away the road trip days and do the division it averages 4.9 miles a day. we are big walkers and will walk places instead of jumping in the car. but, if you remember (which is beyond the scope of your responsibility or interest) i had broken my little baby toe. this was right before we went out east to visit the boy and his boyfriend in boston.

although i packed numerous pairs of sandal-type shoes i was hoping to wear, the only pair of shoes i could wear was this one pair of flip flops. every day. black flipflops. (there are many women cringing right now, thinking of how flip flops don’t go with every single outfit, but as karen told me, “flipflops are my shoe of choice in the summer” so i felt better. i kept thinking about how much space i would have saved had i only packed that one pair. (ok, make that two pairs – i totally had a matching pair as a back-up in the case of flip-flop blowout disaster.). wearing flipflops every day on our trip (and literally every day since breaking my toe) has made one outfit decision easier. and we all know that the shoe thing for most women is stressful and cumbersome when it comes to packing. jay and i exchange laughing texts when we are packing for respective trips about how many pairs of shoes we are including. what is that they say? #firstworldproblems. that’s for sure.

regardless, these flipflops have seen great days. i suspect when they finally bite the dust i will want to add them to our special box….the place we store things that are mementos from, well, everything.

the 5 miles a day or so that these have walked have included time spent on the ball field watching the boy play softball, that batting stance i watched for years, the fielding and play where i can practically see the strategy wheels turning in his brain. what a joy to see him laughing in the field or loping around the bases. my amazing son.

these flipflops have prepared dinner together with the boys on a rooftop patio, toasting with red wine, talking and sharing and watching the rain come in over the boston harbor.

these flipflops went on a merry 7 mile (brisk, cause that’s how they roll) walk through the commons and the gardens, stopping to make the boys pose for pictures and totally play tourist.IMG_2147

they went on the crowded T train with david standing on my left, hoping to stave off people tromping on my little toe. the one time i didn’t have them on? – when we rented bowling shoes, mine two different sizes, one waay too big so as to fit this toe oddity.

these flipflops strolled on the beach by the cape, sat by the bonfire in rhode island, found their way to lots of coffeehouses everywhere along the way (starbucks and wonderful privately-owned cafes), walked along canalside in buffalo. IMG_2351they have since walked with my childhood best friend, the one who knows my mom, my dad, my brother, my grandparents on both sides, my growing up dogs, my old bike, my shag rug in my bedroom, probably still my locker combinations. they have embraced the farmer’s market every saturday, with cherished company and just the two of us. they have been there as we geeked our way cheering, eating, drinking and visiting through the kingfish game. they have walked our crazy aussie-dog. with them on, i have laughed, i have argued, i have tripped on uneven sidewalks snorting my own self-disapproval, i have cried (leaving the boy and the girl always always makes me cry.)

there is a quote on the side of the july 2017 edition of real simple magazine. It reads, “some of the best memories are made in flip flops.” (kellie elmore). I don’t know who kellie is, but i wholeheartedly agree. linda and i were talking on the phone just the other day. she said that she and bill once again agreed that it’s every single moment that counts; we must live every single moment. how many times i have re-learned this. how many more times i suspect i will re-learn this. i expect that i will live them in boots, in slippers, in heels, barefoot. but if every one of them were in flipflops i would be ok with that. these 68 miles have rocked.

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the faces of my life.

IMG_1991“…in the nighttime of your fear…” the lyrics of this hymn jump out at me. how many times have i been awake in the nighttime…wrapping my arms around fear of some sort. how many times have i been awake in the daytime with ‘the nighttime of my fear’? being awake with fear makes every muscle aware, every hair stand on end, every emotion close to the surface. and the fear doesn’t have to be physical…sometimes it is fear of the unknown, fear of change (no! really?), fear of differences that set you apart. any way you slice it, fear becomes visceral and, as carol used to always say, you can taste the adrenaline. in these moments, there are voices i pine for, people i want to be near, reassurances for which i yearn. how many times have i told david i wish i could just talk to my sweet momma. how many times have i asked my dad aloud – hoping for a sticky note to float down from heaven – for his words of wisdom. i’ve asked my brother wayne for car and fixing stuff advice; i’ve asked my friend richie for a tad bit of his sense of humor in a tense moment. the list of people on the other side extends out, in ever-larger concentric circles, as i realize how much i miss their words of wisdom. the faces of my life. and then, often in an awakening moment of grief, i realize that there is indeed wisdom and reassurance all around me.

the ukulele band rehearsals are at our house in the summer. most often outside on sometimes-warm-sometimes-cool summer nights on the patio, last night was inside with impending storms in the area. i had broken my little baby toe earlier in the day and was limping around a bit (and maybe whining also.) betsi and jay offered advice, carol and helen grimaced with me, remembering breakages of their own, david jokingly spoke of designing steel-toed flip-flops. a posse of people making my little toe feel better. there were conversations about dietary/lifestyle changes, inexpensive backyard solutions, growing herbs, new albums out, nitrate-free bacon, up north… really, anything you might want some solid talk-talk about was possible. the faces of my life. “…we are pilgrims on a journey, we are travelers on the road.   we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load…”

in conversation with susan or linda or jen or heidi, we talk about loss of a parent or we talk about children growing up and away or we talk about where we are in life…they have been there when i’ve cried…they have shared tears with me. they have laughed with me till it hurt. powerful moments of empathy. with david, the sharing of raw emotion, the frustrations and the bliss of being “too close”, the tears and the laughter are full spectrum. the faces of my life. “…i will weep when you are weeping; when you laugh i’ll laugh with you…”

we were standing on the opposite side of a stream from where we needed to be. three times while we were in the mountains this was where i found myself.  (well, metaphorically, i suppose that would be countless times, but who’s talking in metaphors?) the first time, david crossed over, using stones and a wayward log that had fallen. even now, my feet tingle thinking about it. he quietly told me that i could do it and reached out his hand to me so that I could grasp it as soon as i was within reach. his eyes, unwaveringly gentle and reassuring, convinced me to work with the fear i felt and move forward. “…i will hold my hand out to you..” IMG_2744one of the other times becky, david and kirsten (the girl) had already crossed the stream. it wasn’t a huge chasm, but it was enough to make me think about going the “other way”. and yet, it was their faces on the other side that helped the nugget of fear i felt go away.   the faces of my life.

” …i will share your joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey through…” our time on this beautiful earth is forever and fleeting. both. this journey is filled with design of the universe and gorgeous wisdom and warm reassurance. the faces of our lives. on this side and on the other side. they will hold us in ‘the nighttime of our fear’. they will hold us in the moment.  we are never alone.

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