A Lemon for my Water

autism home rescue 07131201Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the most difference.  I’ve been trying to drink more water and the thought occurred to me our filtered office water might taste fresher with some lemon juice.  So I walked past my favorite coffee shop on the way back to my desk and asked for a lemon.  My girl Kristin over there, who’s always quick with a joke and a sly teasing comment about how high maintenance I can be, handed over a perfectly wrapped little lemon slice and said, “Hey that’s wrapped gold right there!” with a wink.  It was perfect.

To know and be known.  I think that’s what everyone really wants in life.  For people around to notice you, to consider you with kindness, to genuinely care.  I’m aware that I can be high maintenance and very particular when it comes to important issues, but really the things that make me most happy are so little.  A slice of lemon is truly gold to me today.

I’ve been thinking a lot about why it means so much to me to be known lately.  Perhaps it has to do with the space my mother’s death left in my life.  She certainly knew me better than just about anyone else, yet I often felt a tug-of-war for her attention.  She was busy and involved, running around experiencing life, traveling, doing good out there in the big world.  Sometimes I felt I had to jump up and down to get her to slow down and take notice of me.  And when she did, it meant everything.  Like the time she scolded me about parking in the neighbor’s space and I threw a little fit and left to run an errand.  When I came back, I was still tense and cranky, but trying to let the feeling go.  Mom hugged me immediately—she didn’t even wait until I put the groceries down—and said, “I know the parking space isn’t most important, the most important thing is we are here together.”  My crankiness melted away.  She knew me.

In everyday life, maybe it’s not just about feeling known, but also about my own perceptions of the quirky little things that come naturally to me.  If I see someone wearing earrings I like, I’ll comment on them and tell her so.  If I have questions about a product or service, I’ll ask.  If someone offers to help and I need it, I’ll try to let them know what would be most helpful in that moment—because I take for granted the fact that people are basically good and most folks aren’t apathetic, they actually want to know how to get involved.  I certainly don’t think I’m alone in what I notice or what I need and want, but I may be in the minority when it comes to the ability to open my mouth and comment, ask, or talk about elephants in the room.

Another one of my coffee shop friends, Amanda, made me an amazing cup of Hawaiian Coconut coffee this morning with just the right amount of soymilk and Splenda, exactly how I like.  I thanked her and commented on how good it feels to be known to someone else.  As she carefully pressed a white coffee cup lid onto my favorite ceramic mug from home, she replied that all her life she has wanted to be a “regular” at a local coffee shop and be able to walk in and have someone know just what to serve her.

And you know what?  For the rest of the day, I’ll be thinking about that and wondering what small part I might be able to play in giving her that feeling for just a minute.  Because sometimes that little “slice of gold” just means everything.

autism home rescue 07131202

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kara
    Jul 15, 2012 @ 22:20:31

    Hi Cathy, I wanted to come say, “hello”. I’m sorry about your Mom. Sometimes, I find it hard to be one without one. But cheers to finding your slice of gold! How comforting that is.


    • cathykal
      Jul 16, 2012 @ 16:43:00

      Thank you Kara, that means a lot to me! Yes, it is hard to be the one without one– sorry that you know that too. Some days I get the feeling my mom’s still here somewhere– bending the universe & passing an occasional lemon or other slice of gold my way, you know? Anyhow, welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere– nice to meet you!


  2. Marylin Warner
    Aug 05, 2012 @ 23:46:30

    Lovely blog, Cathy. The tribute to your mother “knowing you” is that even now, when you need to share or feel something you can, because you still know her, too, still connect with her in special ways. My father died of Alzheimer’s, and my mother has advanced dementia. Many days she doesn’t know for sure who she is or who I am. But sometimes, on visits when I least expect it, a light goes on, she looks at me and gets excited and calls me by name. “Knowing” is important, even to those of us who still have our mothers.
    Bless you, Cathy, and may you have many more slices of gold.


    • cathykal
      Aug 06, 2012 @ 12:10:51

      Thank you Marylin, I do so appreciate your comments!

      Alzheimer’s & dementia can indeed be so difficult. But I do know what you mean about those moments of recognition– I remember my grandfather in the end of his days couldn’t remember much at all but he gave the greatest hugs ever. One day he looked at me & my father quite seriously and said, “I know I don’t remember a lot of things…” (we kinda chuckled inside & thought “Yup– like your name, where you are, who we are…”) Then he continued “… but I do know that you two are really good people, and I’m glad you are here … and I love you.” It made me realize that no matter what is happening outside us, inside the connection & love are never lost.


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