Since he was born in October 2012, I have made a concerted effort to visit with my sweet little (honorary) nephew, Raylan, at least a few times a month. (OK, I go over there to see his parents, too. His mom is my best friend, Whitney.)
During my last visit, Whitney and I were talking about Raylan’s many emerging, unique traits — what makes him giggle like a madman, what foods he loves, and which of his toys and blankets he favors.
It’s wonderful to live vicariously through this new little family, because God knows I am done having babies myself.
Talking about baby stuff got me to thinking about my son, Ethan’s, favorites back in the day. He’s 18 now, so most of his playthings are packed away in our basement for safekeeping, except for the few he has kept in random drawers in his room.
The most memorable of all the possessions he loved when he was little was no doubt “Blankie,” his favorite blanket since the day he was born. (This was back when it was still acceptable to put sheets and blankets in a crib; today that’s a big no-no.) Ethan slept with Blankie every night, and frequently dragged it around during in the day, with his finger stuck firmly in its “good hole.”
Let me explain.
Before the many years of Ethan’s affection wore Blankie down into a tattered nub, it was a soft white cotton knit with gleaming satin edging. (See the current state of Blankie, pictured at right.)
The corners of the edging provided pockets just the right size for toddler fingers to probe. One such corner became the “good hole.” To Ethan, that hole was the perfect place to shove his thumb and wrap the blanket itself securely around that thumb’s hand.
The good hole was an incredible source of comfort to him. To me, it was the most precious of his personality quirks. Every night at bedtime, he would say to me, “Mommy, will you please find my good hole?” I searched the four corners until I found it, then helped him get it snugly around his thumb.
When Ethan managed to … er … wear a hole in the good hole, he was devastated. I sewed it up as best I could, but Blankie’s comfort level just wasn’t the same. The erosion of the good hole marked a passage into maturity for my son, and he had to start looking for other sources of comfort.
Forgive the stream of consciousness flow to this post, but … thinking about Ethan’s good hole and the comfort it gave him got me ruminating on what provides ME with ease and comfort today. Back when I used to drink, I looked for it in all the wrong places. Today, the sources tend to be a lot healthier. As it turns out, I was able to tap into several of those sources this past weekend.
Leading up to the weekend, I took a lot of comfort in a job well done. I had a particularly productive week that also happened to be full of accolades from clients. From tip to tail, all of my accomplishments felt damn good.
Knowing that my clients are happy, I excel at what I do for a living and my work is appreciated gives me a sense of validation about my career choice. It’s so nice to know I am truly on the right path, and that it looks like I have the potential to be fairly successful as a freelance writer and media consultant in the long term.
Anyhoo, first on the agenda this weekend was a concert at Headliners Music Hall. I’ve become friends with an amazing woman who happens to be married to an extremely talented, well-respected bass player, who just happens to play in one of my favorite local bands EVER. How’s that for serendipity?
The down and dirty, rock ‘n roll sounds of Bodeco are not heard too often in this town anymore. In fact, my friend told me that the show we went to see was the band’s only gig in 2013.
Lemme tell you what, it was worth the wait.
These formidable dudes, who look to all be in their 50s, have been playing together for 30 years, and the sounds they produce rock my world and soothe my spirit all at the same time. I have missed the hell out of them, and I hope it’s not another year before they play live again.
Music in general has always offered great comfort to me, often when nothing else would do, so when I get to hear a phenomenal group of musicians like Bodeco play live, it’s like I’ve been shot up with the very best recreational drugs known to man. Afterward, I always think, “Why the heck don’t I do this more often?” Damn good question. I need to fix that, and soon.
At the Bodeco show, a handsome young guy struck up a conversation with me and my friend, then asked me to dance. I’m still on the fence as to whether I’m open to a relationship, or even casual dating at this point, but I won’t lie … it felt awesome to be hit on.
This guy was very complimentary, and also very nice. Nothing inappropriate like the last douchebag who tried to dance with me at Nowhere Bar. (Maybe I’m turning into a prude in my old age, but I don’t want your crotch grinding up against me if we haven’t even been introduced. Yeesh.)
As a 40-something woman, there is a certain amount of comfort that comes from feeling desirable to the opposite sex. I’m pretty happy about the way this ol’ bod looks these days thanks to literally working my ass off at the gym, but it’s been a long time since a cute man flirted with me. I liked it, what can I say?
This weekend, I was also afforded several chances to spend time with some most excellent, interesting, intelligent and kind friends. Just like most women, I get immense comfort from my interpersonal relationships. I joke about being a hermit because I value my alone time, but I could never live entirely without the richness my diverse friendships provide.
Connecting on the regular with people who care about me, and whom I also adore, sates my soul. And sitting around laughing my ass off with them is a balm like none other.
You know that old cliché about the healing power of laughter? Well, it’s true. Not that I was broken this weekend or anything, but I can always use a refresher. My tank was nearly full, it just needed topping off. Or something like that.
Friends, flirting and music aside, a post about comfort wouldn’t be complete until I made mention of the area where I receive my greatest relief today — connecting with the God of my understanding, the ol’ HP (higher power).
I still have a few lingering resentments against organized religion, which I may get into in a future blog post someday, but I have become a very spiritual person in recent years. I kinda had no choice. Once all my figurative walls were stripped away, it was either start praying or start dying. (That’s not much of an exaggeration, srsly.)
Because of my resentments, I still experience a brief shudder or get mildly irritated when I hear people loudly praise God and quote scripture, but today I know that my reaction is my problem, not theirs. Church and sanctioned religious groups are alternate paths to connect with God; I just choose not to walk that path. My conduit to my HP is none of your business, just as yours is none of mine.
My point to all of this is, some form of respite is always available to me, I just have to seek it out. And I’m fortunate to find ease, and even joy, in so many places these days, whether it’s through music, friends, family, work or talking with my HP.
And I hope, in some small way, I give comfort to other people, too. Because, really, the only way to get what you want is to give it away, right?
About Amy Higgs
A former newspaper columnist, Amy takes her random, slice-of-life stories to the web. After nine years, she's still just saying.