Holy hell, what a day.
Sophia decided at 830 this morning, after I was already dressed nice for work, that we should undertake a project we’ve been talking about for years – redoing the front flower bed of her office at work by transplanting the existing plants and buying new ones. You may or may not recall that we work for the same company, just different offices.
Mind you, in an effort to boost the shit mood I woke up with, I had dressed extra nice – white shirt, vivid blue and white stripped long skirt, my curled hair held back by a cute, scrunchy white headband, white sandals with sparkly straps holding them on my feet. I had just admired the finished product in my full length mirror when my phone rang.
“I don’t want to go to work today!” Sophia wailed when I picked up. I could hear she was already in her car, driving in.
“Man, I’m right there with you,” I answered.
“I want to transplant those daylilies that are out front of my office. You should come over and help me.”
I was standing in my bathroom, in front of the mirror. I looked at my reflection, the white shirt and white headband, I glanced down at my white sandles, my cute skirt.
“Well, text the boss. See if she’ll let me come over. I’ll have to grab clothes to change into. . .”
“I’m turning around now to go get mine. I’ll text her.”
We ended the conversation, I finished preparing for work.
And sure enough, we got permission for me to leave my office and go to hers. We got paid to play in the dirt today, instead of sitting at a desk in front of a computer. I couldn’t have been happier.
First, we made a trip to the store for the necessary plants, and of course you know I came out with some of my own. A beautiful hydrangea – I’ve been eyeing them for a couple years but could never justify the expense. They were on sale and gorgeous, so I got me one. I got some tomato plants, pepper plants, and one single cucumber plant, for an experiment I want to try. I had bought seeds, but being so late in the season I knew I couldn’t plant and be successful. I’ll save them for next year.
Anyway, back to her office to change out of my nice clothes and into gardening clothes. Shorts and a tanktop for me (one that semi covered my tattoos, since we were still technically at work) and my gardening flip flops, some extra comfy Adidas ones that a friend had picked up for me last year.
And we dug. And we planted. And we joked and laughed.
One of her residents came and helped, the little boy from next door assisted while asking us constantly “What are you doing now?”
It was a warm, muggy day, and it was a good day.
Before I rushed out the door this morning, I stopped for a photo of the quote. It’s actually one of my favorites, although I don’t happen upon it often enough in my life.
“I am not afriad. . . I was born to do this.” – Joan of Arc
The quote speaks for itself. Obviously I identify with it on a deep level.
For the most part, we aren’t given more than we can handle. There are times I wondered. . . If adversity and hard shit makes you stronger, I should probably be able to bench press a Buick by now. Like, one of the old boats, not something newer, like Scarlett. More like my ’94 Buick Park Avenue Ultra, Christine.
I joke, but for real guys. . .
Facts are though, I was born for this. I was born to go through the shit storms because I can handle it, and I can handle it fairly well.
And that’s the attitude you have to have. When shit gets hard, you just have to know that there is a rhyme and a reason. All through the hard years I kept saying, “I don’t know what this is preparing me for, but I must need to go through this.” At the time I thought it was preparing me for something really, really hard. The pessimist in me said that if I thought what I was going through was bad, imagine what was coming. I can say that I never knew fear at the prospect of more shit coming. I felt weary, sure. But afraid? No. I just knew I’d square my shoulders and handle it.
Really it was preparing me for the good stuff. It was giving me what I needed to be able to enjoy the little things in life.
Like today, digging and planting with Sophia. My extremely feminine friend got dirt under her manicured nails and her white t-shirt was covered in dirt. She worked extremely hard. “You’re probably used to working like this,” she told me at one point, blowing her highlighted blonde hair out of her face. “This probably isn’t a big deal to you.” I laughed. I put in my entire garden – all five yards of dirt, all two yards of mulch, every plant and seed. Yeah. I can do some manual labor. That dirt at her property is no joke though. After I actually bent the sturdy little hand shovel I was using in the hard clay, after I had stood with both feet on a large shovel and it stuck in the ground and didn’t move, even after I rocked it back and forth, even after I struck my heel against it. . . I looked at her and said, “Fuck this. Ain’t nothing worth this much work.” But she wanted it. And I watched her do some shit that she never does to get what she wanted. I was proud of her. And I was glad to help her accomplish this goal. She felt like a bad ass afterwards, as she should have. She’s gonna feel how bad ass she was in every muscle in her body all day tomorrow though, haha.
As I watched her bust her ass, as the sun beat down on us and I felt dirt clogging my nose, as I sat with my sandals off while taking a break and watched my feet leave heat marks on the cement, as I watched the little boy from next door draw things on the sidewalk in chalk, as I watched the resident happily digging with us, I knew.
I knew. I knew I was born for this. I was born to endure the hard shit so I could enjoy the wonderful things I have now, so I could appreciate every kindness and sweet moment.
I got home, slightly sunburned despite the sunscreen I had used, tired, hot. . . and knew I had to plant my new plants.
Chase has been gone for a couple days, but had been dropped off earlier in the day by Emma. I walked in my door and hollered, “Little Chaser! I know you’re home! Come give your momma a hug, I missed you!!!!”
“I am home, Momma, and I have a surprise for you!” And he ran from where he had been sitting in the living room with Grandma and presented me with a beautifully made heart, made out of colorful magnets. I hung it on the fridge and he jumped into my arms. I wrapped my arms around him, despite my aching feet, despite my stinging skin, and enhaled his little boy smell.
“Come outside and see the beautiful plant I bought! Do you want to help me plant it?”
“YEAH!” he yelled, and whooped and ran out the door ahead of me.
We proceeded to haul a large pot and a fuckton of dirt up onto the back deck and plant the hydrangea, so I could admire it while I sat there in the evenings. He helped me haul more dirt to a spot near the porch for my single lonely cucumber plant – I’m trying a container cucumber plant this year as opposed to putting it in the ground. I just can’t keep up with the vines, so I’m hoping if I keep it in a container it will be a little more chill with the vines and I can contain it better. We had used old pots of dirt to fill this particular planter up, and they weren’t breaking up very easy. In an effort to help, Chase poured water into it, thus making mud. As we tried to mix it up, him elbow deep in the muck, me just up to my wrists, I said “Chaser! Look at Momma!” and he immediately looked up and I immediately wiped mud across his cheek.
“HEYYY!’ he said. And then with mischief in his eyes, wiped mud all the way up my arm. And he looked at me giggling, and I giggled right along with him. In that moment I knew complete and utter joy, kneeling in front of a container of mud across from my child, both of us covered in it as the sun peeked out from behind a cloud and radiated heat onto my back. His eyes were lit up with the joy I was feeling, and I knew.
We finished and watered everything, and I sat on the deck afterwards, admiring our work, my feet propped up. I noted the dirt covering my toes, my tank top, my jean shorts, under my fingernails. . .
And I knew.
I knew that life had been preparing me for this. Life had been preparing me for the joy of the little things. Planting things with my friends and with my kids. It had been preparing me to be able to really enjoy this life as opposed to just skimming over the surface of what life is.
Even though I was bone tired, I put Chase in the tub and heated him up some soup. I called and talked to Sophia, and text Emma while he played in the tub. I started this post as I sat out on my deck, the string lights kicking on as twilight descended, and I admired my beautiful hydrangea, and brushed dirt off of my legs.
Oh, holy hell, what a day.
Finally it was my turn to get in the shower. I scrubbed at my feet and rubbed Noxzema on my burned arms, the eucalyptus easing the sting of the burn. The water ran brown, and I scrubbed dirt from beneath my finger nails. . . I even scratched dirt out of my eyebrows for fucks sake . . .
And I knew.
I knew that I was born for this. I was born to turn my life around, to beat the odds, to take tragedy and turn it into badassery, to inspire. . . and most of all, to enjoy every single little sip of life that I’m offered. The dirt and mud, the sunshine, the giggles and hugs from my kids, the sweat, the aching muscles and sunburned skin. . . every cloud and pretty flower, every single beat of every song I love, the guitar solos, the bright lights and crowds at the concerts I love. . . Good God, there’s so much good to take in.
Chris Cornell is singing the Soundgarden song Outshined through my bluetooth speaker this evening as I finish this. My feet ache like they haven’t in a long time, and the dirt has sapped every ounce of moisture out of my hands.
And I know without a doubt I was put here to love every sensation I feel and every moment I encounter. . . as for the bad moments, those are just there to reinforce the good in my life, to make me appreciate it all that much more.
Today’s quote reminded me why I was put on this Earth. I may not be where I thought I would be or thought I should be, but I’m right exactly where I belong. And enjoying every bit of it.