Wednesday, December 22, 2010

regularly scheduled & programmed

there's a chicken joint downtown. a little diner with brick walls and a shingled roof. salad bar tuesdays and check-out counters lined with homemade strawberry cake. waitresses wear name tags and will leave a pitcher of sweet tea on the table if you ask. in our little town, it's a major hub. faces pour in and walk out. the crowd is constantly changing, evolving and growing.


but every tuesday night for years, the same two sweet faces sat at the little corner table. holding hands across the silverware, sugar bowls, and bread baskets. robert's great aunt and uncle made it a point, every single week, to stop what they were doing and go there. to be around happy people. to dip some tenders in fresh honey mustard. to just get out of the house. even before i knew robert, i knew blanche and george. him in his gelled, combed hair and she in her ruby lipstick and best dress shirt. they made a point to look dapper, even though it was routine. commonplace. weekly.


because there's beauty in routines. and even more than that, there's comfort. knowing, without question, that today's events will follow the foolproof pattern of yesterday. however, being a slave to routine is different. if the possibility for beneficial change is presented, clinging too tightly to tradition will turn days into quicksand. the idea--the ultimate goal--is to be flexible without breaking. to hold to what's familiar, with one eye on what's unforseen, new and even a bit scary. 


but boy, do i love my routines.


like every tuesday and thursday. on these nights, i join hands with the six people i love and cherish most in the entire world. over my nanno's formica table, we break bread, watch wheel of fortune, and talk about our afternoons. we use paper plates and throw-away cups. i feel the heat pour in through the floor vents. we keep up with who's a return champion on jeopardy(tom has been on for almost three weeks!) and it's beautiful. 

engrossed

my sweet sister and brother


i believe those daily routines, those little eccentric rituals that encompass our hours, are central to our being. they root us, ground us and sustain us. and they're not boring, and partaking in them does not make us sticks in the mud. humans are creatures of comfort. like any good thing, too much will ruin you. but just the right amount? why, i believe we could live on it alone.


that's why my morning are like clockwork. each involves a hot cup of coffee, slippers on my feet, curlers in my hair and my husband's wave and air kiss out the front door as i drive away. i wake before robert and pablo, and return to the dark bedroom gingerly, the sweet smell of sleep permeating the air. i always pick up pablo in my arms and carry him to the guest bed, where, every morning for past two years, we have engaged in belly rubs. every single morning. and just as my morning would be totally off without it, i'd like to think his would be also.



so i'll keep doing it. 


keep waking at the same sunrise hour. keep arranging my schedule to have tuesday and thursday nights free to eat with my family. keep giving the best belly rubs ever. keep meeting robert's smile in my rearview mirror before work. because those routines are healthy, lovely and intensely special to me. i'm open to change, and willing to alter my ways, but right now, this isn't quicksand.


it's the only truly solid ground i've got.

19 comments:

Thisisme said...

Very sweet! I love it that Blanche and George visit that place every Tuesday. So romantic. It wouldn't hurt if a lot more couples took time out to do something like that. Also think it's lovely that your family all meet up like that - you are so blessed. I can see that little Pablo loves those belly rubs!! Happy Christmas vintch!

In My Tennis Shoes said...

LOVE routine! its so very comforting... and yours sounds devine. i wish i could have more of a routine! its hard having a work schedule that changes every week... but, that may be changing soon too:D

Ana* said...

How nice it is that you and your family meet two days per week. That is a tradition I would definitely want to start after I get my own place. Going to school and working doesn't allow me time for routine, I am so looking forward to finishing my degree and having a more organized schedule.

Erinn Honeycutt said...

I love it! Could Pablo be any cuter??

Jessica said...

Aww, Nanno looks a bit grumpy, so adorable! So great that you still get together with your family so often, I really should see mine more often. :(

Shalyn said...

So sweet. Love the story about the elderly couple- I would love to know a couple like that. And your puppy is adorable!

Casey said...

I am a creature of habit as well, and our routines are rather similar, right down to the belly rubs!

Have a fantastic day my friend!!!

Xo,
Casey
www.blondebargainbabe.com

Jude said...

The Blanche and George story is so sweet! I believe in not being a slave to routines either, but there's definitely something to be said about the good that can come out of certian routines :)

I loved the photos you shared too, and hope your day is filled with the goodness of a good habit!

lindsay said...

that story about the elderly couple is so adorable. i like to know about other peoples routines as well...i like change as well, but sometimes it's nice to be comfortable in your ways...it's always consistant and always beautiful :)

xoxo

ps those belly rub pictures are adorable :)

Lynn said...

oh Courtney, i've loved reading this! yet again another wonderful story that makes me feel as though i'm floating through the words as i read them. there are writers and then there are WRITERS and your style is completely captivating, evoking much emotion along the way.

Robert's great aunt and uncle are the epitome of what i consider a rare (old-school) kind of love. these days with all our gen x/gen y immediate gratification seekers (i have to admit, that's me sometimes too) it is beyond nice to be reminded of what's true and real.

the routines and moments alone to be with our thoughts are so important, i agree. some type of a pattern can be the template we need, marking where we've been and where we are going. xo ♥

Blondie's Journal said...

You have really made a good point about the balance between routine and putting ourselves 'out there'. It has not always been easy for me. I appreciate your sensitive thoughts.

This is a great family post. Hold them close, today and always.

XO,
Jane

Ashley said...

Love this post. I, too, love routine....my favorite right now being the nightly routine of putting my sweet Hudson to bed. It's the best time of the night, cuddles and hugs and rocking and singing.

for now said...

PABLO! I love him!

Mo Pie, Please said...

My heart has swelled up after reading this wonderful post! Lucky Pablo, the cute little fella! Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Dawn said...

So absolutely beautiful...this post. Thank you.
The first part about the couple almost brought tears...I could imagine it all out so beautifully as they sat together every week....Lovely.
Thanks for this post.
And thanks for coming by today.
I'm glad you did- now I can read you too:)
Adding you to my blog roll so I don't miss a word.
Dawn:)

a whole lotta love said...

I love this post. Its good in our crazy world to have something that grounds us and there is nothing better than family. :) Have a wonderful Christmas!!

Paula said...

You have such writing talent! Thanks for a beautiful post about the importance of family and making an effort for others...consistently x

mskanorado said...

I always enjoy reading your blog daily miss Courtney! When I waitressed I had a couple that had the days they would come in during the week, order the same drinks and same food. Routines are a beautiful thing as long as they aren't like you said, quicksand! Moderation is a wonderful thing!

Peaches said...

I love this post. I love your take on routine because I'm a routine lover too. And it sounds like you've found the balance between being 'flexible but not breaking.'

And I love your pictures!! I love the vintage feel they have. =)

Love & Hugs!

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