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My day started out different than I had intended.  I had planned to spend the day in the office, knocking items off of my alarmingly long to do list.  Last night, my cousin, Tom, called to see if I could stay with his girls while Lisa went to chemotherapy.  Their youngest has a double ear infection, and they were worried that one might rupture while Lisa was gone.  Their thirteen year old is a wonderful helper, but would be stuck if anything happened.

Because I can work remotely, it was easy to pack up my laptop and head over this morning.

When I arrived, the four-year old was staging an all forces resistance to the non-pink, non-bubblegum flavored antibiotic that she desperately needed to get down.  Having been there, done that, bought the tee-shirt with my own two kids, I reassured Lisa that I could get it taken care of…she didn’t need to be late for her appointment.  I won’t deny that there was a bit of insistence used and some holding of flailing legs on the part of myself and the thirteen year old, and a yowl or two issued by the tyke; but, as soon as the swallow went down, we had drinks of water all around, a hug and all was forgiven.  We headed downstairs to the family room, popped in a movie and the kid never left my side the rest of the morning.

I was just glad for the opportunity to help Lisa.  She is an amazing woman, as I’ve mentioned, and she is not great about letting others do for her.  It was nice to be able to be there for them all today.  Whether she knows it or not, it is a gift to us, to let the rest of the family and her friends help out.

Later, as I drove home from work, my mind was occupied by the random meanderings of the day.  I sometimes leave the radio off in the car, letting my mind drift.  Do you ever do that, and then try to trace the thoughts backwards, to see how far afield you’ve come?

My normal route home was detoured by an accident (mini-grace here…a friend of our family was in a car accident this morning, and is, thankfully, okay.)  I ended up sitting at a light along Car Dealers’ Row.  There are no less than ten car dealerships along a two-mile stretch.  It was clear and hot today, and a good part of my attention was focused on adjusting the air conditioning vents to *just* the right angle.

As I stared absently ahead, the dry desert air suddenly stirred all of the gigantic American flags along the row.  Each dealership boasts an enormous flagpole.  I’m sure that it’s the same across the rest of the country…each flagpole and flag is just a little bit bigger than the next.  Something about the sight of our flag always clutches at my hear a bit.  Perhaps it’s because of the larger freedoms that the flag represents, or perhaps it just reminds me of my beloved grandfather, a retired lieutenant colonel and veteran of two wars, who put up a flag in his front yard every day.  Whatever it is, I may brave that busy stretch of road more often, just to see the billowing, snapping stars and stripes rolling high overhead.

When I got home, my daughter hopped into the car and we took off again.  This time, we were headed to our favorite pizza place so that she could drop off a job application and get some driving practice in.  We’ve had some tensions between us of late.  She has a “friend” that is in trouble.  It’s someone who I don’t care for and that I feel is taking advantage of my kind-hearted daughter.  We spent most of the drive in silence, only uttering short, necessary bursts as needed, even through the stop at the grocery store.  Once we got home, though, she came into the kitchen and just started helping with dinner.  Suddenly, I can see a light at the end of this dreadfully long tunnel of adolescence; and, for the first time, I can feel some confidence in stating that it might not be a train.

I am a fortunate woman.  My cooking skills are adequate…I am not Betty Crocker, but I am fairly adventurous and willing to try new recipes.  I give Dave and the kids credit…they will try anything once.  Tonight’s dinner was a simple pasta dish and a salad; but, they all made the appropriate “yummy” noises and cleaned their plates.

Once we finished, I saw several Tweets on my phone.  One, from Roxanne Krystalli, had a link to her latest blog post.  If you haven’t discovered her blog, “Stories of Conflict and Love,” may I be the first to scream at you?  What are you waiting for?  The link is to the left.  Her posts will make you smile, marvel, want to explore the wide world and to sit in a cafe somewhere, eating fabulously exotic food, listening to her talk.  Her post tonight, on its surface, was a simple one; but, by the time I could read it through for the first time on my phone, I was making a mad dash for my laptop.  The post had awakened several memories for me, all of them happy and some of them inducing a few tears.  I couldn’t wait… I needed to post a comment and thank her for the unexpected gift that she had unwittingly given me.

Dale Chihuily Exhibit - Desert Botanical Gardens March 2010

As I was furiously typing away, my son brought in the mail.  Another gift!  I had recently ordered a copy of Heather Grace Stewart’s book, The Groovy Granny.  It is a collection of poems by Heather, and illustrated by her daughter, the very talented young artist, Kayla.  Inside was not only the hard cover copy that I had ordered, autographed, but a soft cover copy autographed for my daughter, Isabel, and a lovely personal note tucked inside.  We were thrilled.

The Groovy Granny

I love the supportive community that has sprung up around me from Reverb10.  Through Twitter, Facebook and various blogs, I am amazed at the way that people nurture and support each other.  I am sure that there must be a large amount of negativity out there…how can there not be?  But, our little group, which is growing all of the time, is a warm, friendly, supportive cheering section.  It is how I “met” Heather.  I am inspired by how she seems to think in poetry.

I sat down to write out this blog post and about all of the wonderful surprises in my day, and I was gifted with one more.  My friend, Mark Stratton, another fabulous poet, set out to tweet his #FollowFridays.  Rather than just blasting out lists of Twitter names to follow, he put together very specific, kind follows with reasons for each.  To say that I was flattered doesn’t begin to describe how touched I was.  We all harbor wishes as to how we appear to others.  Mark’s #FollowFriday for me warmed my heart and made me grateful to be seen in that particular light.

For a day that didn’t start out with much promise, and began way too early, it turned out to be bursting at the seams with all sorts of splendid gifts and lovely sentiment.