My mother, who is somehow still able to parent & teach from a distance, emailed this article from MORE Magazine to my siblings & I yesterday. I want to hang it on my inspiration board and store it away in a mental box of advice & wisdom. It's by Patti Davis (the daughter of Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis Reagan). Perhaps you'll like it, too.
"I'm living in a house that will soon not be mine. When I leased this Victorian two years ago, I imagined someday buying it. But after getting to know the place intimately, I decided it would not be a good marriage. The floor plan is choppy, not meant for socializing. The kitchen is far from the dining room and each of the two "parlors" can accommodate one person and a cat as long as neither is overweight.
As soon as my lease was up, the landlords informed they were going to sell. I couldn't afford to move right then, so I made a deal. They could revamp the house while I was still in it; I'd stay and even put up with showings when it went on the market.
The other day I was weeding the garden, and one of the handymen asked me why I bothered. I told him, "I don't want it choked with weeds."
I won't be living here anymore, so who cares how I leave the place? But what remains after we settle elsewhere reveals much about us. It shows how caring we are or how careless. Those who leave weeds and rubble in their wake probably do the same in relationships. Long ago, in another house I moved into, I unlocked the door to find mouse droppings in the kitchen, a bathroom that had apparently not been cleaned for months and windows so dirty, I could barely see out. I was casually acquainted with the couple who had preceded me and from then on, whenever I ran into them, all I could think of was the dirt they had left for me to clean up.
As Rickie Lee Jones sang, "You never know when you are making a memory."
Maybe that's why I prune the bushes and plant lobelia in a garden that soon won't be mine. Lobelia can sprout unexpectedly. After a season or two, it just appears, like a gift. What we plant takes root, produces seeds, and blooms not just for us but also for whoever comes after us.
I sit in this garden at end of day, after the handymen have gone and quiet descends. I listen to birds perched high in trees that someone else planted. I spent months transforming this garden, thinking I'd stay forever. I put in lavender, daylilies and jasmine. It's May and all are blooming.
A few friends have told me I made a bad deal with my landlords. And in a way they're right. But I'm learning a precious lesson in these inconvenient months. I'm learning how, at age 60, to become the person I want to leave behind on this earth."
until next time,