A year ago I had a phone conversation with my friend Valerie.
"I think I have to get a job."
"You have a job."
"I know. I have to get another one. One that helps bring in some extra money. I'm not sure if I can do this and be a mom and continue to be an artist and a writer."
One part of me was calm and moving through what had to be done. Another part of me was panicked. It felt akin to the weeks before we moved across country from Ohio to California (10 years ago) with no real plan, just a lot of faith, hope and love (only with way less faith, hope and love this time around). In those weeks prior to our departure it felt as though California was some foreign land and that I was to travel to another dimension in our green mini-van time machine. I had no clue what to expect and crossing into the portal meant I could never come back in quite the same way.
Valerie was calm, her voice soothing.
"You'll get a job at some coffee shop and you'll learn how to make drinks. And you'll meet all sorts of wonderful people and you'll come back to your blog and tell us stories about them. You'll document the whole thing like an experiment. You'll make it magic, whatever you have to do because that's what you do. You take the ordinary and make it magic. Why, I bet you'll start reading tea leaves. You'll find your way with it. This is not the end."
One year later, I am up at 5 AM this morning because today is the day I start training at a coffee shop, and I want to ease into it with exercise and writing and a bath, so that I can honor this process and let it unfold organically and wholly. I don't want my life to be in shifts. I want it to all play off of each other. I don't see another way.
Yesterday I read Hayley's words in one of the blog comments - Divinity in motion - and I think that is good a mantra for this morning. I baked pies to ground and grieve and grow, and I will prepare food in the kitchen of a local coffee shop to do the same. I will ride my bike there and feel the wind on my face. I will allow change and be on the look out for Mystery. I will do the best I can with what I have.
The night before last my son was going to bed with wet hair. He asked me, "Will you help me with my hair in the morning so it doesn't stick up all crazy?"
"Of course," I said.
Yesterday morning all my kids slept in. So by the time they did wake up and get breakfast and gather their things, it was time to scoot right out the door.
"Oh man, I forgot about my hair," my son said, rubbing his hand over the wild mane sticking a couple inches in the air.
"It looks great," I told him.
"I love your hair," my husband told him.
"I don't mind how it looks, but the kids all point it out and say, 'Why does your hair look like that?' And I hate it when they do that!" He was in tears as we all piled into the car.
We let them out at school, and as they walked up the sidewalk Tony said, "He's really upset about his hair." He was walking slow and with his head down, flattening his hair as best he could with his hand.
"Let's take him home and fix it. We can check him in late."
Tony hollered for him to come back to the car and when we explained to him our plan he wiped the tears off his cheeks and smiled big. "Okay!" He said.
I think about his smile as I am getting ready to start this part-time job today. His smile tells me I am not bound by the rules, or the schedule, or the constraints of one more weekly commitment. I have access to the world I desire. There are loopholes all around. Ways to slip in and out of convention. Ways to make myself comfortable whether here looks like a chaotic mane flapping in the breeze and drawing attention in the worst of ways or here looks like a part-time job squeezed into my already full-time life. His smile tells me, much like Valerie did on the phone one year ago, this too can be magic.