Dancing outside my comfort zone

Tonight was the first night of Chanukah.  As I left the house mid afternoon and didn’t get home until after 10, I had to light the candles late.  It was weird lighting them just for me, but then I realized; it’s OK!  In fact, it’s better than OK, it’s wonderful that I can keep my traditions, even if I’m all alone.  It still feels special and more so knowing that the kids are keeping the traditions in their own home too. 

Today was the first time I’d had my hair re-done since before Heather’s wedding, and my dance peeps went totally crazy over how it looked.  I guess it had a lot to do with the drastic change since it was pretty much back to its normal state before Jen worked her magic on it! 

One of the regulars is a real hoot, but he just has no filter between his mouth and his brain.  He kept putting his hands in my hair to feel how soft it is, and kept insisting that I keep it like this forever.  I tried to tell him that I’d been having this done for a couple of years, but he wasn’t hearing any of it.  In his mind, this was the first time I had had it done, and it looked amazing. 

The crowd was very light tonight, most likely as a result of the start of the holiday party season.  Several couples I know had to attend other functions.  And I realized today that not having a lot of people in my life can, at times, be a blessing because while friends are missing dance nights to attend parties and such, I am there like clockwork, getting my exercise, letting my endorphins run amok, and working my knee so it will get back to 100% sooner.  One friend I ran into earlier in the day was a bit envious that I don’t have to give up my dance nights for other affairs.  However, it was mostly a couples night tonight so that meant no two-steps or couples dances for the single gals unless, like one or two, they managed to hook up with the odd single guy.  (and believe me, they stuck like glue tonight!)

I made my annual trip to Costco today to get gift cards and a Crayola activity box for Toys for Tots.  Fortunately, I was able to find a place to drop it off and took care of it on the way home from dancing.   It happened to be a movie theater and the woman at the door told me that I was supposed to get something free from the theater for donating.  I told her that I don’t buy a gift for the freebies, but because I want to do it, but thanked her for offering.  I think it’s great that area businesses offer free stuff to try to encourage people to help with the program, and I have, on occasion, accepted something, but I realized this year that it means a lot more to give from my heart and not expect anything in return.  Heaven knows the girls and I went through some tough times, and perhaps I overcompensate now as a result, but they always had clothes, at least one book, and pajamas under the tree.  Some years were pretty lean, but there was always something.  The families for whom the Toys for Tots program is intended often are doing well to put food on the table.  So this is my way of showing my gratitude for having been able to manage the lean years without outside assistance.  I may not have realized it at the time, but in a lot of ways, we were very fortunate. 

My big find today, though, was a T-Rex pillow pet!  I know a certain little boy who will go nuts over it!  But speaking of nuts, I may have gone a bit too far in that direction myself.  But I figure, if there is too much, I can just hold back a few things for Easter and his birthday.  I also broke down and got something else for Sera because it was just too darned cute!  It’s a purple unicorn pillow pet.  I figure that I’ll wrap her gifts and drop them off at her mother’s house sometime between now and Christmas.  She can either explain why the gifts were just dropped off or not.  Her choice.  I’m not doing much, though it would have been quite easy to go as crazy for her, but I just can’t do nothing, so I won’t! 

Conversations tonight went in a lot of directions, but a couple in particular bear mentioning.  One involved a friend commenting on how we learn a lot of our lessons from our children.  I remarked that the biggest one was patience and he heartily agreed.  But I have stated on many occasions that I learned something from my girls.  The most recent was a lesson in kindness from Heather.  Lessons definitely go in both directions and anyone who doesn’t see that we really learn more from our kids than they do from us is missing the point entirely.  I’m not talking about basic life lessons like “don’t cross the street without looking both ways” or ” wash your hands after you go to the bathroom”, but those lessons which not only build our character, but take us further down our Spiritual path.  Those same lessons which may temporarily scar us, but which ensure that the lesson is embedded into our character but the pain we experienced is allowed to fade away.    I still stand behind what I told the girls over and over.  “The lessons we remember the best are the ones which were the most painful.”  But they are also the ones which benefit us the most. 

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my daughters who, each in their own way continues to provide opportunities for me to learn and grow.
2. I am grateful that I am able to do a little something for those who are less fortunate, be they human or animal.
3. I am grateful for another amazing, exhausting night of dancing where the smile was so firmly stuck to my face that even my face ached by the end of the evening!
4. I am grateful for an abundance of opportunities to learn, grow and expand my world.
5. I am grateful fro an abundance of love for and from my friends, my family and the Sea of Souls to which I belong.

Love and light.

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