A Charmed Life

skater-dudeThe front door flew open.  I looked up just in time to see him toss his helmet on the couch.  “Mom!  You got the house phone, right?  Did dad call?”

“Not yet, Will.  You sent a bunch of texts and a couple voice mails.  He must be busy.  He’ll get back to you.”

Against all odds, Will had invited his dad to check out the remaining snow on the ski hill.  It was the sort of outing that Mark usually suggested, so there was a good chance he might consider going.  In fact, Mark had said that it sounded like a good thing to do on a Sunday since he’d be done with work.  Later, when Will realized what he was in for, he said, “What did I do that for?  Why did I invite dad?  I always think it sounds like a good idea, but it’s never that great when we actually go.”

 

That’s how it is for the child of a narcissist – they crave the attention of that narcissistic parent like any kid craves attention from a parent, only when they get the attention, they usually end up hurt, rejected or dismissed.  Or, they get hurt when the parent doesn’t show up, even if there’s a sense of relief that they are spared another unpleasant visit.

 

Will headed back outside to skate up and down the street while he waited for his dad to call.

That’s how it went for a couple hours – flying in the front door to see if his dad called; back outside to rip up the street some more; park the board and pace a bit; come in and get a drink; ask, again, about his dad calling.  I’m familiar with the caged animal routine.  It reminds me of a wild cat at the zoo, if wild cats drank Arizona Tea and road skateboards all day.

Then Mark finally called with a, “Hey Buddy, I forgot all about that.  Yeah.  I’ve got a lot of work to do today.  Can’t make it.  How about next time?”

Initially, Will was confused since this was a Sunday and his dad doesn’t work on Sundays.  Will spent a total of two minutes wondering why his dad couldn’t go.  He grabbed his board and went out to practice 180s off the homemade ramp in the driveway.

No need to lick wounds since he wasn’t sure he really want to go with his dad anyway.

Jenny hadn’t been invited to go on this adventure, so she was enjoying her preferred position, that of flying low under the radar.

 

What Makes A Life Charmed?

Not more than an hour later, there was a knock at the door.  I heard Will say, “No way!  Really?  Thanks a lot!”  I peaked around the corner to see a young man standing at our front door.  He was handing Will an almost brand new skateboard.

“I live down the street,” and with a sweet glance at the two year old in the crook of his arm,  he said, “I don’t get out to skate much anymore, but I’ve noticed you’re pretty good.  This board has barely been used.  Put it to good use.”

That’s the third board Will has been given in the last year – two by complete strangers.

We were shaking our heads as we closed the front door.  Jen said, “Geez, Will, you’re lucky.  You sure do lead a charmed life.”  Will said, “Yeah, Jen, so do you, look at all the stuff you get from our girl cousins.”  Jen said, “You’re right, we both lead charmed lives.  We’re both lucky.”

“Mom, did you get his name?  I gotta write him a thank you.”

“You guys, are you seeing a pattern here?  Do you see a connection between those thank yous and having more good stuff come your way?  Do think there could be something to that?  Do you think that if we genuinely appreciate the positive things, we’ll get more positive things?  I wonder if it works the other way, too?  Minimizing the bad – like your dad not being able to go today – will bring about less of the bad stuff?  Whatever way it works, it’s a heckuva lot better focusing on the things that make our lives feel charmed.”

Just then we heard a car door slam.  We looked up to see the kids’ cousin walking up to the front door.  She and her mom were packing four bags full of books, crafts and loved-up hand-me-downs.

 

Questions:  How do you define a charmed life?  Does charmed equal a brand new car, expensive shoes in every color or a 72″ Plasma TV?   If you sift through the negative, can you find enough positive to string together to create the makings of your own charmed life?  Is gratitude a good place to start?

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24 comments

  1. I do believe you have to be truly content with who you are as a person. I do like me, flaws and all. I am learning to be comfortable with my limitations, as we all have them. I find you have to be doing what you love, or at least make ample time to incorporate what you love into your routine. I have worked jobs I liked on occasion, but I was never fully fueled by what I did. I think you have to give yourself healthy outlets from daily stress, to take care of your mind and body. I think this is key to living a charmed life. Having my family, good friends, new friends :), good health, great pets-makes my life charmed. I don’t equate a charmed life with having money or material gain, nor do I think you have to have a significant other in place. I think accepting and liking your life in this moment, examining all the good present, is what makes you feel whole and at peace.

  2. Kira,

    Oh, this would be so much more fun to discuss in person. I completely agree with each point you make.

    The point about material gain is particularly interesting to me. I’ve wanted to write on the scarcity versus abundance mindset for sometime. I see patterns between attitude and the manifestation of desired outcomes based on attitude. While I wholeheartedly believe that a charmed life has little to do with material things or money, I can’t deny that a certain amount of those things does make life a little more pleasant. Our financial situation dictates that we cut corners where necessary. Jen and Will have grown up shopping at Goodwill. I still marvel at how Jen gets just as jazzed over a ‘new’ pair of jeans from a thrift store and doesn’t see that they are inferior to a brand new pair from Target. Weirdly, we do seem to enjoy lots of windfalls, and I wonder if those are brought about because we appreciate them so much? Does that make sense?

    Does appreciating the little magic-filled moments – a surprise call from a friend, an invite to dinner, the appearance of a favorite book in a bag of hand-me-downs – bring about more magic-filled moments? Because we put emphasis on those seemingly insignificant moments, does the Universe reward us with more?

    It’s fun to think about.

    Think negative = get negative. Think positive = get positive. In my book, anything positive is charmed.

  3. Indeed this conversation would be great in person :).

    There are so many things to consider and ponder. The idea of scarcity and abundance is a great topic to discuss. I think you hit an interesting point. Does having a little more make a current situation more ideal? To a degree I do say yes. I like my simple life, its nothing grand, but I am comfortable, and for the most part I am happy.There are times where I wish I had more in the sense of having different options. For example, I would love to not be dependent on watching every dollar. I have a budget that I am “trying” to follow, and that can be challenging, and it can be limiting. I would love not to worry. I would love the ability to travel more, and to help others. My fear is having too much might alter certain things as well. It brings into question does money equate more freedom?

    When you discuss your daughter, Jen, it completely makes sense to me, and forces me to reshift. I believe you value what you have, because it is yours, and you claim ownership and you genuinely appreciate it. The excitement comes from just having this new addition. There is no emphasis placed on where it’s from, especially because your upbringing doesn’t make it the priority. It shouldn’t be the priority. Her sheer excitement is humbling and awesome. I think too often people don’t appreciate what they have regardless of where it’s from, and that’s sad. There are too many people in this world who go without, and when I search myself and everything in my life, it humbles me. I am thankful.

    I think appreciating what you have and the little filled moments does equal a charmed life. An unscheduled visit from a dear friend, rediscovering a favorite book, a vintage shirt find, a surprise call from a friend – these are things I look forward to. I do think the universe has a way of rewarding us with charmed moments, because we truly appreciate them.

    It is fun to think about. I believe negative thinking creates negative results. If I wake up in a horrible, negative mood, my whole day tends to follow suit. Finding the positive, being positive gains positive results. I so can’t wait to read your book. Is it almost done? love & blessings

  4. Kira,

    That’s what I hope my kids learn – that the simple is magical, the ordinary can be lovely. Then – if/when something outstanding comes their way, they are blown away. Like when I took them on the cruise last year. I am STILL getting mileage out of that. But we live very simply, in order to do the occasional big “WOW” kind of trip. That is very intentional.

    They know they don’t get a wii or an xbox or iPads or whatever because we (I should be honest and say, I) put a lot of emphasis on travel as a form of learning.

    So far, no complaints from them.

    I think I went off on a tangent here, but oh, what a delicious topic this is and it sparks in a lot of different directions.

    Referring the book: Thanks for asking. Yes. It’s currently all over the purple dining room table. Close…

  5. I can’t help but relate back to your description of Will getting the board from a neighbor. His overall reaction was one of sheer excitement, but also of deep gratitude. He was truly thankful and appreciative. I think not just for the board, but on a deeper level, the thought behind the act of giving. Rather giving and thinking of him. His first act was to immediately remember to write a thank you card to this kind neighbor. I think that alone is amazing. So many people don’t know how to be thankful, let alone give thanks back.

    I think your focus on what you teach them, and how they absorb these lessons is already shown :). I love the emphasis on travel as a form of learning. These are things that will sustain your children, memories to reflect on, experiences you can’t get from a video game or high end techy device. In a piece I am working on, I focus on “what will linger on”. What do you want to sustain your children, those close to you, well into the future?

    What sparked this piece, was a close friend of my friend passed away the day after Christmas and she has a 19yr old daughter. It was unexpected and sudden. And her daughter of course was devastated. In the same breath she shared this. “We didn’t have alot, but we had what we needed, and we had each other. The bad in the world could be drowned out, because I was surrounded by warmth when it was needed. She showed me how to be kind always, that it’s important to value others & myself, and to appreciate all you have. She let me know I was important, beautiful, and I matter. I remember laying together, reading together, good memories, great conversation, and these special moments for me will linger on. I will always have them.

    I hope this is making sense, and I didn’t go off on a tangent here!!

    I can’t wait to read your book, I am sure it will be amazing, full of great things to reflect on.

  6. Kira,

    Tangent? Are you kidding? Everything is connected. I love that you shared this story here.

    What an amazing young lady, that she had the depth and wisdom to appreciate how truly blessed she was.

    I think, as a parent, it’s easy to be bombarded by the messages that tell us what a good parent is. A lot of times we forget that we have natural parenting instincts. At our core, we know what is good, decent and lasting. Sometimes those instincts are over-shadowed by the newest theories on parenting.

    Basically, if we remember how badly we wanted to be a priority in our parents’ lives, and we try to do that for our own kids, we’ll lessen the chances of failure.

    Having said that, each day usually requires a course correction.

    Thank you, Kira, for your wisdom and thoughtful words.

    I can’t wait to dive into your new site.

  7. You are right, all things are connected. I think it is important to remember what we lacked & craved from our own parents. In that sense you can be mindful to provide those things always. I can’t wait to have kids. I think the main reason for me not having them as of yet is: 1. fear of not doing a good job & 2. not being enough for them, if it was just me. I have godchildren & younger siblings, and kids I have taken on from a program I used to work at. I try to provide time with them that is memorable. I listen, I support, and I love them. I look at the amazing women I have met both in my personal life, and through my connections here in this great community and it only confirms that we can do all things with or without the support of another. You do have to trust your instincts, I think when we listen to ourselves truly, you can’t go wrong. You tend to find most problems, when you don’t listen to yourself. I think its important to remember that if you do make a mistake, or say the wrong things, you can always recover. Each day does in fact require a course correction.

    And my sweet 19yr old I discussed earlier is amazing!! I look at who she is & am in constant awe daily. She is so self aware and so humble. I know it’s because of her mother, and ultimately how she was raised. Parenting is a job with no instruction manual. I think it’s the most important job one can do. I also know it is beyond rewarding, because you have these little people you were responsible in creating, and you get to share their journey of self discovery.

    Thanks for your kind words Jesse, & with sharing my words, also very close….

  8. Kira,

    Thank you for checking back and adding to your comments.

    For myself, it’s all about these exchanges and the connections made here.

    Not to sound cliche, but we are all in this together.

  9. I have always thought of a charmed life as being relatively free of tragedy, and having few regrets. I still think I have had a charmed life. I told this to my new partner recently (actually he’s not really “new” anymore). He was a bit deflating, and pointed out that I’ve had TWO failed marriages. (Yes, its true – I have had two, count ‘em, TWO failed marriages.) But in my estimation, that has little to do with it.

    I feel grateful for the things I have, and a feeling of gratitude lends itself to the feeling of a charmed life.

    I agree with Kira that monetary gain has little to do with it, and some of my happiest times were when I had the least money.

    As for the material things, I think unexpected windfalls like skateboard gifts, or extra money you get back from paying too much taxes (Yayeee me!), can be particularly joyful. I believe in Karma, and Will and Jen’s free gifts have good Karma written all over them.

  10. Reese,

    I believe a charmed life has little, if anything, to do with failed relationships. I think Donna once pointed out that there’s no such thing as a failed relationship as long as you take away some learning and growth.

    Maybe a charmed life all comes down to attitude. My idea of a charmed life won’t be the same as another person’s idea, but as long as I think it’s good, that’s all that matters!

    Yay to that realization!

    Loved your point about karma and Jen and Will. Their good fortune proves to me that they are headed in the right direction – so far!

  11. Reese, I believe relationships are successful as long as we have grown from them & learned a little more about ourselves. I think we enter a relationship wanting it to work, to last. I know I have been disappointed when it hasn’t. The good thing is I am better about knowing what I need, what I deserve, and what makes me happy. When I reflect back, I view it as a learning lesson, that had good moments, but was not overall good enough for me.

    Karma I believe in 100%. You get back definitely what you put out there. Karma has a way of rewarding us when we don’t expect it, and allow things to truly come full circle.

  12. Kira,

    I couldn’t agree with you more – on both points. I have no regrets about relationships because of the growth I’ve experienced, and because of my kids. That goes without saying.

    And you are so right about karma.

  13. Exactly Jesse!! There is goodness in the midst. Kids, self awareness, growth, peace of mind – the list can be varied. This is what you walk away with. For me something has ended, but I have also gained a great deal, including new insight :)

  14. Kira,

    I’m not sure this falls into this category – what is a charmed life – but I thought I’d let you know…

    My dad just called to invite me to lunch.

    I’ll be dining on crow tomorrow for my birthday lunch – my dad actually remembered!

  15. Wow!! I think it’s great that he remembered. Do you consider this to be a charmed moment? It leaves thought to what the universe may be up to. I hope that you do enjoy your lunch with your dad my dear. I want you to have a great birthday, you deserve it :)

  16. Kira,

    The last time my dad took me to dinner for my birthday, my folks had been separated and divorced for three years. I was twelve. I still have the card he gave me. I can remember where we went to dinner.

    Yeah. This feels charmed – not because of realized expectations, but because I’m finally fine with whatever comes my way.

    Thanks, Dear.

  17. The mind is surreal in what it chooses to remember and how it remembers-specific dates in time. There’s always a reason behind it. I preserve days, moments in my mind for safekeeping. With my dad I remember a long period of my life he was not there, for varied reasons he has tried to explain over the years. Still I remember key moments when we spent time together, just him and I. I am glad that you are ok with whatever comes tomorrow. I’ts a great space to be in. I find that by letting go and truly being at ease with whatever comes my way, leaves little room for worry, frustration, or disappointment to creep in. I might just end up having a great time, with no added expectations.

    In my time zone it is half hour away from Midnight. Early bday wishes my dear. Enjoy your special day, you rock!!

  18. What an excellent post!
    I met Mark today, handsome man.
    As we were talking about the reason for my visit I was thinking, what a good couple they made. And their kids are just DOLLS. I walked away from the meeting feeling sorry for him. He is healthy, good looking and successful and yet his life is not charmed. He is missing out on what is most important, his family.
    But as life would have it; it is what it is. So we look at the lives you three have built together with you, Jesse, being the General Contractor and you know what we see? Your lives are Charmed. Good on you Jesse, without wanting to, you made “Luscious Lemon Bread” Very Very GOOD!!! :o)
    Much love to you and yours.
    oxoxo

  19. Marci,

    I really am at a loss for words here.

    Life DID NOT feel at all charmed while under Mark’s roof.

  20. No Jesse, your life was not charmed with Mark at all from what you have shared with me and this blog. He was the lemon, if you will, and he did not have to be, but he is what he is, a narcissist. As a result he lost the best thing he had – his family. You made the best of it and as a result you, Will and Jen have a very charmed life.

    I was in a very bad marriage. He beat me, cheated on me and even threatened to hurt our son. With all of that it was still sad that we ended in divorce. The death of a marriage is never easy. It would have been so much better if my x husband was a better man and we stayed married and had more kids. This would have been better for everyone – especially our son. But life doesn’t work the way we plan and I divorced him. One of the most liberating days of my life!! I was/am so happy I left him. But I did not marry him to divorce him…it just turned out that way and it was the best for my son and me.

    I did not mean to offend you or hurt you. I was just making the observation that he, Mark, blew it.

    oxoxo
    Marci

  21. Marci,

    Your comment pushed a button for me – the one labeled, “She failed! She got a divorce!”

    I hate that button.

    I hate that I am not sad that I divorced, because I think everyone expects me to be sad. I can’t/won’t be anything but happy about my decision to leave and make – what I hope is – the best possible future for my kids.

    No hard feelings. ;)

  22. Cool! :o)

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