Monday, January 23, 2012

a lesson from dolores: a meaningful life

"he just looked at me, on the stoop in front of his parents' house, and said, 'well, dolores. it looks like we're in love. you reckon we ought to get married?' and i said 'well lewis, i reckon so.'"

we sat side by side on her couch last night, our thighs touching as we embroidered. i've been coming to see robert's grandma twice week for four months now. and while she has almost completed an entire set of pillowcases, i'm still working on the same dresser scarf. but we gab. we sit. she feeds me yams and chew bread and banana pudding, green beans with corn and apple fritters. and as lewis sits in the recliner cracking walnuts, an hour or two passes. then, she pulls the curtains forward and hugs me close, breathing me in and telling me how much she enjoys our visits. i tell her the same.

i asked her about courting. about her favorite movie stars (clark gable) and where she met lewis (walgreens. he stepped on her foot.)

she sighed. "you know, life sure is meaningful."

and we talked some more. and i completed a few more back stitches. but that sentence stuck with me. for its simplicity. its honestly.

it's meaningful, what we're doing here.

every corporate memo you type.
every time you fix the paper jam in the office.
every time you stretch against the kitchen counter waiting for the coffee to drip.
every early morning and late night meal prepared against music.
every phone call you make to encourage, to check in.
every time you're tired and just want to eat cereal, take a bath and go to bed, but you swipe on the lipstick and go dancing anyway.
every time you eat cereal and take a bath and go to bed.
every handshake you give and nod or tilt of the head.
every time you sit on your bed in the middle of the afternoon and watch the sun dance across your quilt and think about when you were young, and your parents were invincible.
every time on your knees, in a group, in your car or under the covers, you whisper a prayer.
every time you look someone in the eye and say i really, really love you. 

they mean something. they are vital to your story. the story you build, shape, tear down and remold. until one day you find yourself in your eighties, sitting beside a woman you won't know until your children are older. i pray our stories are as colorful, detailed and bright. and sweet enough to stop someone mid-stitch.

24 comments:

Chelsea said...

wow, unreal. Thank you.

anddsoitgoes.blogspot.com

adesertgirl said...

Beautiful. This post is meaningful. Thank you for sharing it. And good luck with your dresser scarf - what wonderful memories you'll have of making it!

Ana Magdalena said...

This is so beautiful, everything sure means something.. even the little things. You're lucky for having someone so wise in your life!

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I love every single word. Every single one.

Thisisme. said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!! I am sure that Dolores really treasures the time that you and her spend together.

larissa said...

So beautiful. You should probably write a book. And that quote? So sweet. Grandparents are the best.

Emily said...

that quote is amazing! i mean both of them that is, the one about getting married made my heart leap and life is meaningful is so true. What a shame we waste it sometimes or miss the beauty of it.

Kira said...

This is lovely, and so true.

Tiffany said...

I love this. Everything about it. Especially his proposal! Life is meaningful--thanks for the reminder, Courtney!

~Tiffany
http://tiffanyd22.blogspot.com

wildchild said...

such a sweet reminder. it is all important. thank you

Amber said...

that proposal made me smile so big.

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

so pretty- I like the idea that all the small thing we do are meaningful- it certainly puts into perspective that we should be careful of the negative things we do as they too are meaningful.

Holli said...

this is wonderful!!

chambanachik said...

What a chillingly hopeful thought. I love that.

Vanisha @ Vanisha's Life In...Australia said...

Just the beginning lines are so captivating. Loved it.

Eleanor at Mirror Of My World said...

thank you for adding more meaning to my day through your beautiful writing :) xxxx

Lynn {hearted girl} said...

do you know how absolutely blessed you are to have those moments with Robert's grams? oh i was filled with goosebumps while reading this because i remember having talks like that with my nana too. she's long since passed away now but this reminded me of those very special times, thank you for that! your blog does that a lot you know. it is kind of a touch stone that helps me recall my own memories and also allows me to realize the specialness in the smallest of things.

you are a dear, dear heart Courtney, i wish i could give you one of those deeply felt hugs. i sure haven't visited as often as i'd like but when i do there's that mid-stitch pause every time. bless you. xo ♥

ginanorma said...

"every time you're tired and just want to eat cereal, take a bath and go to bed, but you swipe on the lipstick and go dancing anyway"
LOVE that and all of these. what most precious moments come out of visiting the elderly, oh my what moments, thank you for sharing these with us--xoxo

SymbioticLife said...

It's so easy to let the meaning of everything we do slip away from us isn't it? This was a beautiful reminder for us to seek it out and hold on to it.

Mackenzie said...

i feel like i should write you a thank you note for all of your posts and mail it to you with love. because they are such a gift. so thank you for this gem.

jessica said...

This is such a beautiful story. Seems like a very special lady. This is a really inspiring post. I just found your blog and I'm so glad I did, tons of inspiration here. :)

jessica said...

This is such a beautiful story. Seems like a very special lady. This is a really inspiring post. I just found your blog and I'm so glad I did, tons of inspiration here. :)

Jessica Wray said...

what a sweet post. I like having conversations like this with older people... they're so wise!

Cara-Mia said...

A wonderful thought to hold on to.

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