Yesterday we put Jack's old surfboard sheets on the extra bed in the baby's room, where I sleep from about 3-6 most mornings after I've tended to Andrew. We haven't used those sheets in the three years we've lived in this house, but yesterday the other set was in the wash and our cleaning lady, who helps out twice a month, offered to change the beds for me. I couldn't say no. What a treat it is to have a bed made up nicely rather than in the haphazard way I do it! (Remember when Jack used to make Tim's and my bed every morning for a dollar?)
When our cleaning lady saw the colorful surfboards, she immediately recognized them as Jack's. I didn't think much of it until this morning at three when I crawled under the navy blue comforter and between the familiar sheets. It took me right back to snuggle time with Jack.
Gosh, he loved his old bedroom, the largest in the house, with its built-in bookshelves and big windows. He loved the lime green walls (he called them chartreuse) and the navy and white stripes that Tim and I somehow painted without messing up or even arguing. But Jack was a little concerned about the surfer theme that I "dove" into wholeheartedly as I planned his big boy room. Surfboard sheets, beach shack signs, little shark and surfboard lights around his windows. "Is it okay to have a surfer room if I don't surf?" he asked. Sure it was. Plus, I thought there would be plenty of times Jack would go in the ocean, at his own pace, even if he never became a surfer. I couldn't know he wouldn't ever leave the sand.
His concerns seemed so cute to me, but not surprising.
Jack always wanted to be authentic.
A few years later, when I bought him a Mountain Dew shirt at Five Below, it sat unworn in his dresser for months. Finally I asked, "Are you ever going to wear that shirt, or should I donate it?" He answered that he didn't feel right wearing it if he'd never tasted Mountain Dew. He said it was kind of like false advertising, since he didn't know whether Mountain Dew was good or not. I replied, "You know you could have asked me, right? We can get you a Mountain Dew to see what you think." He was surprised, but delighted, and it became one of favorite shirts that last year.
I try to be authentic, too.
I want my inner and outer selves to match. I want to live out my values even if inertia, laziness, and too much comfort try to entice me to do otherwise.
And I want to offer no shocking surprises should Dateline rig up the house with hidden cameras, or record my interactions with anyone from family members to strangers. Sometimes my intentions are really good, but my actions don't show evidence of it. Instead of being loving, generous and expansive, I am cranky, insular, and selfish.
The things that I think about, and how I spend my time and my money do not always reflect what I tell myself my true priorities are.
Plus, there is the risk that if I show my authentic self and people don't like it, I've made a mistake in being vulnerable.
Just some thoughts I have today, sparked by memories of a young boy who made sure his insides and outside matched.