Everyone in the family had things to do this weekend. Except me. Home alone with no car, I started out with the lofty goal of getting all the laundry done. The week in the hotel set me way behind and I like to start the week with all the children’s clothes clean. Sometime Saturday afternoon, I got sucked into the abyss of LMN and now I have a mountain of clean but unfolded clothes. LMN is the harlequin romance novels that I have aggressively avoided all my life. It is indulgent, self-created dramas and problems that are resolved in under two hours. Everyone and everything is pretty. There are no visible scars, stains or spills. As the fluffy television movies manipulated my face from tears to smiles, I realized that instead of jealousy veiled as disdain for the mundane-lived women who spend countless hours in their pulp romance novels and the entire genre that Lifetime embodies, it was okay to allow myself such indulgences. My escape from reality was both interrupted and encouraged by a brief visit from a neighbor. The last time Doug went camping, my neighbor brought me enough potatoes to feed a small village. This time, she brought over tomatoes. Potatoes may be sturdier and more substantial in an empty stomach, but tomatoes are a decadent treat for the taste buds. Is the delivering of food to neighbors strictly a southern thing? If it is, I never want to leave the south. I may not like the pudginess that middle age has brought me, but food is too much of a comfort to spend life wanting. I remember my grandparents giving vegetables from their garden to all of their neighbors and I just thought they were getting rid of the excess. I never even thought about my grandmother’s habit of making double dishes and sending entire meals to people who were sick, suffering, overwhelmed or just hungry. It took me until adulthood to realize the unspoken words in the sharing of food. Tonight, Doug and the boys will return from their camping trip. They will be dirty and sweaty and their equipment will be unceremoniously dumped all over the house for me to unpack, clean and put away. I will not work myself up into a *tizzy over the mess. I want to hug my stinky family and listen to the stories of their adventure while we eat fresh BLTs. I had no adventure. I had calm and quiet. I usually feel left out, but this time it was just what I needed.
*I’m not saying I like the disaster they create when they come home from these trips. I’d have to be medicated to not notice the total destruction of the house in less than 15 minutes.