Your Most Memorable Act

Last year, my daughter’s teacher asked me to provide some healthy Halloween treats for the 2nd grade party.  Everyone knows how terrible I am at anything involving baking, crafts, or decorating.  I try, but when it comes right down to it, I’m just not good at these things.

Halloween Boo Platter

I am good at words, though.  And I recalled the wisdom of my friend in Texas who says firmly, “Heather, God gave these children to you.  You are the perfect parent for them.  Your gifts are perfectly matched to their needs.”  So this time last year, I arrange some vegetables in the shape of the word, “Boo.”  I have no idea what I am doing.  I take some foil, make a pattern, and fill it in with vegetables.  That’s about as crafty as I get.

The Boo Platter

Despite my anxiety about this platter (was it cute? would the children love it?), I bring it to the school party.  My daughter beams.  Children come over to read the word, and they laugh and eat vegetables because they are in the shape of a word.   It isn’t even that beautiful as you can see by this photo. (Feel free to comment to make me feel better about this). 

Story over.  A year goes by.

This week, my daughter bursts from the school doors and calls out, “Mom, I signed you up to make treats for the Halloween party.  Everyone wants the Boo Platter!  Let’s make another Boo Platter!”  She’s holding my hand, staring up into my face, and talking about this Boo Platter like it’s become a public school legend.  

I wake up this morning and arrange the foil in the shape of a word.  It might be the most important thing I do today, the thing that matters as the years go by.  God made me a certain way, and when I act out of that authentic self, I leave a beautiful mark.  A simple embellishment–in my style–to a platter created a memory–a tradition–that children remembered and needed.   These small acts that I think make no mark, that make no difference, that seem silly and awkward and out of place, actually embed themselves in neighborhood memory. 

Living with flair means pressing on in small embellishments that flow from my personality that help shape a family and a community. Sure, some other parents made more creative and impressive things, but what my children remembered and love was a word.  Because that’s me. 

Share

Would You Wear These Shoes?!

My shoes look a lot like this:  brown, basic, sensible, sturdy.  No heel.  
 

Are you surprised?  I’m the same woman who wore flip-flops to a fancy Manhattan party.  No matter how hard I try, I could never wear shoes like this:  Pink, Satin, 10 inch heel.  Strappy.  

Put me in shoes like these, and I’d entangle the heel in my clothing; I’d fall into the street; I’d look like a fool.  But every once in a while, I think that I’m supposed to wear high heels.  And they have to be satin and pink and absolutely adorable. 

Once I asked my friend (she wears 10 inch heels regularly, with jeans even) if her shoes were comfortable. 

“Of course not!  I’m in excruciating pain!” she hollers at me.  She has to walk back to the parking lot from our building. She’s barely making it.  I think I see blood. 

My shoes, in comparison, look beyond boring.  What happened to all my sass?

Many years ago, I chose to throw off the conventions that torture rather than free, that bind rather than release.   I’ve spent too much of my life entangled in fancy externals that masquerade as the good life.   In that life, the things that promise freedom actually oppress.  You know it because of the pain.  You know it because you’re following some rule about what’s supposed to make you happy.  And you can’t remember what you love anymore.  Instead, you’re living a cliche as scripted as pink satin 10 inch heels.

They aren’t me.  They were never me.  I love comfy shoes that I don’t have to think about.  

Release the buckle and strap, slip off the entanglement, and run free.

Share