You have no idea how badly I want to wake up and find that the year has started off perfectly, and everything is right in place. I’m realizing that I’ve been acting a bit superstitious, and that I place massive amounts of value on the beginnings of things and the signs that come along the way.
It’s January 5th. Until my new organizer arrives, I’ll continue to write down future appointments line by line in the old one. Dates are out-of-order and bill reminders aren’t where they should be, but none of that matters because the whole thing is begging to be put away in a drawer that doesn’t get opened again until it’s time to file my taxes. That’s where all old organizers go to die, holding the next year’s resolutions between their pages.
The first day of the year was a trick. It was so perfect, making me believe that the rest of the year would be magical and easy too. It started with me getting up early to quick-soak black-eyed peas. I had the whole kitchen, all lit up with new sunlight, to myself. I showered early, and tried to put on an outfit that would match something my Mom might be wearing in her own kitchen at home, then sat down to chop herbs I’d need for the big meal. The phone calls started coming in with well-wishes for the new year, and I was smiling through tears that were rolling from my eyes every time I let the knife sink into a fat onion. I was holding match sticks between my teeth when Brandon came over to the table where I was working to give me a kiss on my head. He looked at my wet cheeks and made a face as if to say, ‘Why are you holding matches in your mouth?’ I stepped away from my station, spit them into my hand, and then said, “I saw it in a movie.” He asked which one.
“It’s supposed to keep your eyes from watering when you chop onions. I saw it in “The Help”. Or ”Batman”. I don’t know. One of them.”
Black eyed peas are heralded as a Southern New Year’s Day tradition, and are believed to be good luck. In some families, you place a coin in the brew and whoever picks it out will have good fortune where money is concerned all year long. I left the coin out, and now I’m wondering if the coin would have kept me from getting sick, screwed the lid tighter on the bottle that spilled liquid soap into my bag, kept my new organizer from getting lost in the mail, prevented issues with work, or kept my skin from randomly breaking out. Of course it wouldn’t, and I know that. But I need something to blame.
All of that planning, all of that resolving I did in those empty hours at the financial firm, only to see it go out of the window at the start of the year. And all of it brings me right back to where I should I always be: ready to hear from God, act on His plan, and be obedient. And I am. Not even forty-eight hours into the new year, and I learned a lesson about making time for God on an everyday basis so that you’re not stuck running to Him only in times of trouble. Starting Sunday, it’s Jesus and P90x Insanity everyday, all day. Hardcore fitness routines were a part of that planning, and I still can’t believe that I let my hand click the submit button. That fitness plan will be arriving any day now, and it’ll be too late to go back.
The first day I pretended I was fine, but by the second day of truly being ill I decided to admit it, take some medicine, forget about work, and sleep in. As soon as I made that decision, my phone chimed and I read a text message from a great friend asking if I could pick her daughter up from school. And of course I said I would…because I’m a nice person and that’s what nice people, who rarely get sick and refuse to be sick at any time, do. Brandon’s work day ended early so he made the trip with me. It was four degrees outside. And there were no buildings in lower Manhattan to shield us from the wind.
We scooted our butts onto a small ledge that housed a radiator and waited for little M to find me. Parents began strolling in and out of the office closer to 3pm, and all of them seemed to know one another. One woman arrived with her granddaughter who was cute as a slice of key lime pie, but behaved like a bulldog. She stared at Brandon like a toddler bully. He laughed it off, but then commented on how he didn’t like being in a small space with a bunch of adults who didn’t have anything to talk about but their kids. I told him that one day that would be us, that one day we’d be doing it for our own kid. This was our future. I said it as a joke, but it made my heart quicken for an instance. Is this really my future? To just be sitting on a little radiator, grateful my behind is warm, waiting for my kids, sniffling and achy and wishing for my bed, with no plan, with nothing substantial to look forward to the next day and a purse full of soap?
That, or this, is not how 2012 was supposed to start out. But it did. And I’m not sure why– maybe to show me I really am as tough as I’ve been telling the world I am–, but to sit around wondering why is a major time-waster. There is no such thing as superstition. Open every umbrella in your house and walk under every ladder you see, ’cause nothing’s going to happen. There is no bad luck. There is only what you SPEAK and what you DO.
Dare luck. Dare luck to challenge you. Only don’t break any mirrors–
I need those. Every time I pass one I’ll be flipping my hair and reminding my reflection that this, yes this, is going to be the best year of my life.
Written to: Hall&Oates “Maneater” on repeat; (for editing) Hall&Oates “You Make My Dreams Come True” and “I Can’t Go For That”