Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Jazz Brunch thoughts

I'm sitting on my favorite part of the patio at my favorite natural foods co-op, enjoying nice music, pleasant weather, and the laid-back, friendly feel of Sunday Jazz Brunch. Turns out, I got some kind of employee recognition at yesterday morning's biannual all-employee meeting, and since my managers know I love this place, they got me a gift card for here. :-) So, I'm enjoying some Moroccan cous cous salad and tabouli, and about to head in to pour myself a nice cup of El Salvador Dali blend coffee.

It's a nice morning.

In fact, it's been a nice few days. Sometimes, I think when something has begun to eat me up inside, just saying it out loud-- admitting it to myself and to whomever needs to know it-- ends the drama for me. Within 10 minutes of saying what needed to be said, I was over it. I still want to apologize to my friend, but no longer really feel an ounce of irritation or anger over the situation at all. I've had a wonderful few days, although very sleep deprived.

I closed the restaurant Friday night, and didn't get out of work until after 1:30 am, and wasn't able to get to sleep until almost 2:30 am. Then, I got up at 6:30 Saturday morning to get to the aforementioned employee meeting (which, due to the nature of the business, must necessarily be at weird hours when the place is otherwise empty). One cheesy video, 50 gift card dollars, and 60 minutes later, I was loading into the car to head to a volunteer training. After training, I had some time with my kids, and then found time to squeeze in a 15 minute nap, which almost seemed to make it worse. Then, back to the restaurant to close again, and I got into my bed at almost 2 am this morning.

(It is interesting to point out at this point in my writing that the "jazz" band has shifted to playing middle-eastern-sounding music and there are about 40 people hooping and pseudo-bellydancing on the lawn not far from me as I write.)

But, gift card aside (because I love me some WSM), the training was the major highlight of my day.

Backstory: Back in May, I began a training program to be a volunteer at a local rape crisis center. In mid-June, we were fairly certain that we'd be relocating to a town just over 30 minutes away, out of the zone within which I'd need to be when on call. We even had a place lined up and everything. So, I dropped out of the training. Then, after touring the schools in the other town, I just knew I couldn't give up our local school district. But by then, I had missed two weeks of the training that I couldn't make up. So, I asked them to let me know when the next training would be, and it started back up yesterday.

So, the previous training I attended, being over the summer, had been a very small group (5 or 6 women). Most of us (all but one, if I remember correctly) were in the 25+ age range. It had been a very intimate group-- perhaps a little too much so, full of incredibly heady and intense women.

Yesterday's training was awesome. I would guess there were about 30 people there, and that there were maybe 10 of us in the 25+ range, including one really cool guy. The rest were all undergraduate students at the local university. Can I just say that hearing some of them speak-- being witness to their passion and their intelligence and their compassion-- has lifted my already lifting spirits tremendously? My oldest will be a teenager in a couple of months, and my oldest daughter has a birthday this week that will place her fairly firmly into the realm of preteen-hood. I'll have a child in high school next school year, and the countdown in my mind has already begun until I'll be sending my children, one by one, off into independence, perhaps to include their own time spent at university.

I remember my first attempt at university studies, by the way. I remember it too well. I remember confusion and anxiety and trying to find my place, being surrounded by alcohol and drug abuse, making questionable life choices. I remember events that led me to first become painfully familiar with the kinds of experiences that make rape crisis centers such an imperative. I remember all of the fun, and all of the angst. I remember dropping out after a few years, amidst a whirlwind of intra-and interpersonal confusion. And I know, no matter how strongly I work to equip my children with faith and confidence and power and strength, they are going to face their own battles that bring them into adulthood-- battles that I will not be able to fight for them, battles that I should not fight for them because they are THEIRS to win.

And in the midst of my worries, thoughts of where my children will be heading and who they are becoming every day, yesterday, I had the privilege of walking into a room full of intelligent, empowered, thoughtful and funny college students-- the kinds of young women I would love to see my daughters become, the kinds I'd love to see my sons grow up to respect and honor and count among their friends.

I left the training yesterday not only hopeful as a mother, but energized and empowered as a woman, knowing that although there may always be crimes against certain categories of people deemed "disposable" or less than, there will always be small groups of thoughtful, committed people working to change the world. In this is some small reassurance.

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