Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!
Last week I was late posting the blog and right many people reached out to make sure I was ok. Warmed my heart! I was working at our club in Baltimore – wanted to see all of our renovations and was totally blown away. In the past year it received some major love and was transformed into a whole new club with a new fitness floor, new equipment, new social space (including fireplace), new café, and new locker rooms. But… I got way behind on the blog. Had a little excitement while I was there. I was working in an office near our front desk when an elderly lady opened the door to say “there’s a dead man in the parking lot!” WHAT!?! I immediately went out with her. Her car was parked at the entrance and she told me to get in. We drove about 8 parking spots (yes 8) from the front door and all I could think was “what is the code for a dead man in our parking lot?” She said she had been blowing her horn and he would not move. I bravely got out of her car (cannot believe I got in a stranger’s car, even if she was 80 and driving a big BMW), walked up to the man’s car window, and yes, he looked dead – head back, mouth open, car running – so I knocked on his window. Startled the S%#T out of him (and me!) and said, “Sir, just making sure you are ok.” Gave our member the thumbs up and went back in the club still shaking from the possibility of finding a dead man in our parking lot. WHEW!
Returned home Wednesday in time to pick up my car (had 2 new tires put on – remember last week’s troubles), finish the blog, do some laundry, and pack up so I could return to Charlotte Thursday evening for the weekend. My younger daughter was having wrist surgery Friday morning and I was going to be with her. So excited to see my kids 2 weekends in a row!
“Sometimes all you need is for someone to just be there, even if they can’t solve your problems. Just knowing there is someone who cares can make all the difference.”
My sweet nephew and his wife often share videos of Jack and Izzie with my sisters and me. (We can never get enough of those 2 sweet children!) Last Wednesday they sent one where Jack was ‘splaining’ how to make it snow. Basically, he said “you get vanilla ice cream and eat it and put the ‘poon’ under your pillow and it will snow.” There was also something about a toilet, but I’ll leave that out… besides, I kinda lost it after he talked about the ‘poon’! Obviously, Jack knew what he was talking about and put his ‘poon’ under his pillow because lo and behold, it snowed Thursday. Naturally, since I was driving back to Charlotte Thursday evening. It was a bit dicey traveling through southern VA and NC. Brought back memories of December 2009 when my son and I were stuck on 29 North for 17 hours coming home from Chapel Hill for his Christmas break. There was a major surprise snow storm that caused us to arrive home at 7:15 AM Saturday morning when we should have been home by 5:30 PM Friday evening! Luckily, the roads were nowhere near as bad this time and I had the 2 new tires. I felt fairly safe and prepared, even though I don’t like driving at night, and really don’t like driving at night in the rain or snow. But I made it to Charlotte safe and sound. And we woke up Friday to a beautiful and very sunny day! I mean, spring has sprung in Charlotte, even though they had some snow showers.
“My favorite part of winter is when it’s over.”
Surgery went well and we spent the weekend together, managing her pain and hanging out binging on Netflix. My son and future daughter-in-law came over for dinner and hung out with us. The weather was beautiful. I even got a good run in Saturday afternoon. My daughter suggested I run down her road to the park where she took my son and his fiancée’s engagement pictures. Had a great 2-mile run down there… and when I got to the park, I realized the whole run had been downhill, which accounted for the good time, and which also meant the 2-mile run back to her apartment would be uphill. But I persevered and made it, and thankfully, was still breathing (barely)!
Sunday was even more beautiful. My daughter and I walked to a cute café and met my son and his fiancée for brunch. And since it was such a beautiful day, we took the LONG way home, walking around another park talking and enjoying the sunshine. I left Charlotte knowing my daughter would be fine, and headed to Winston to see my mom on my way back to Charlottesville.
My younger sister met me at Mom’s with sweet Jack who put his arms around my neck and said “Les, I’ll hold you” (translation: Les, I want you to carry me). My pleasure (and my sister’s, because Jack is getting heavier!). Those sweet arms around my neck melted my heart. He entertained us and all the residents. Oh how the elderly love the sight of a child. We took Mom to the Ice Cream Parlor and while we all had cones of chocolate soft serve, Jack told us all about riding and brushing a “little horsey named Molly” at my sister’s barn. He even had on his barn boots and jeans. What a sweetheart he is! And he made a new girlfriend! No, not one of the “seniors,” but the 3-year-old granddaughter of one of my high school friends, who was there visiting her great-grandfather, who happens to be Mom’s neighbor.
“The soul is healed by being with children.” Fyodor Dostoevsky
Love shows up in so many ways, in so many places. In the very young, and the very old. There are so many types of love, and so many ways love is expressed. My daughter and I were talking about how different people show and receive love. Ever heard of the 5 Love Languages? According to Gary Chapman, the 5 Love Languages are: “Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Gifts, Quality Time, and Acts of Service.” Often, how you give love is how you want to receive love, but not always. The key is to learn how your loved ones prefer to receive love. Some show love with words – phone calls, compliments, texts. (My older daughter calls me twice a day – on her way to work and her way home from work.) Others show love with gifts. Very thoughtful gifts (proving they listen), and also love to receive gifts. Some people don’t like to be hugged, but love to be told they are loved. Some just want your time. You have to find what the other person’s love language is so that they feel the love. My sweet family has shown me love in many ways – words (texts, phone calls), gifts (flowers, famous UNC sweaters, updated wardrobes), service (they have helped me with tasks I cannot do and rescued me with car troubles!), time (getting together, visits), and of course touch (big hugs and kisses!).
“Love can be expressed and received in all five languages. However, if you don’t speak a person’s primary love language, that person will not feel loved, even though you may be speaking the other four.” Gary Chapman
Funny, I think love speaks to me in all 5 languages! I’ve always treasured words of love, but I am also a big hugger! I am not as big a proponent of gifts – I always tell my kids that the gift I want from them is a written letter – at least once a year on Mother’s Day. No gifts, just the letter. I treasure them and keep them with me. And while gifts are not a priority for me, I’ll never turn down the gift of flowers! But I show love with service. My momma was the same way. She always “did” for others – whatever they needed, but hated asking for help. One time she said to my brother-in-law, “do you think I could borrow the chain saw?” What she really meant was, would he please come up and cut down a small tree! Which he did, of course.
“There’s only one thing more precious than our time and that’s who we spend it on.” Leo Christopher
Family isn’t always blood. I called one of my oldest college friends (and the godmother to my oldest child) while I was traveling home on Sunday just to catch up. When we ended the call, we ended with a “Love You!” Another sweet friend took the time to go with me to an appointment this week. She offered, I took her up on it. The love of friends.
“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile & who love you no matter what.”
Today is the first day of Lent y’all. Are you giving something up? Instead of giving something up, why not find ways to share love with those you love, in the way that works for y’all. Make people feel special with your words, your time, your service, your touch, and your gifts, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.
PS – Happy Leap Year Birthday to all those special people celebrating their true birthday, which only happens every 4 years, this Saturday, February 29th!