Sometimes gifts don't come all wrapped up in paper and ribbons but rather they come in bright yellow pick up trucks with lots of athletic gear and an orange cat. Earlier this month I received the loveliest gift. It came in the form of a 27 year old female college student. For many years I have taken high school students in to live with me for the school year. They have been either foreign students or elite skiers. Having these kids live with me has been nearly always a positive experience for me. And in several cases a delight.
I am compensated for my efforts which involve acting as something between friend and mother. Actually quite a comfortable role since you are not as invested as you are with your own children. That leaves one open to care for these kids in body and spirit without the pressures of being "The Parent" with all the emotional baggage that comes with that role. They have all been bright and independent kids and it's been a privilege to be a part of an important time in their lives.
Last spring when I was asked if I would again host a kid or kids, I declined. They asked several more times and I continued to say no. I was burned out. It hit me late in the school year as I schlepped groceries, racked my brain for dinner ideas, propped my eyes open and read until everyone made it home safely that I had been doing this job for 29 years straight (a few summers off). Counting my own son and the subsequent young people that have come through my home and my life there are 8 in total over a 29 year period. Enough!
It felt like I had been putting off many things I wanted to do while I cared for others' children. It was great while I did it but I was done!
I spent the summer clearing out my house and selling stuff on ebay, I blogged here and began work on my own store that will show up here on this website soon. I read a lot and hung out with girlfriends. I walked and did Yoga and ate when I felt like it. I only went to the market once a week. I meditated and soul searched. I stretched my mind and shrunk my body. It felt great but it was a little quiet around here.
A couple of weeks ago I was asked if I was interested in sharing my home with K. K., college student, 8 year member of the US Ski Team, biker, climber, blogger and business owner. Because K. is a grown up and would not require the attention the high school students did. I suggested we take it a month at a time and see how it goes. It's been almost a month and we both agree that it seems like we've known each other much longer.
K. is a gift because she is bright in mind and spirit. She guides young women and shares her passion for skiing with them. She is sharing with me her enthusiasm for life and her positive attitude. K. sees the humor in nearly everything and finds herself and her foibles to be particularly hilarious. She is interesting and interested in individuals and the world. She works hard and plays hard. She's kind, thoughtful and generous with herself.
In an earlier blog I spoke about when one is ready....the teacher arrives. It would not have occurred to me that one of my teachers would show up in the form of a tall, strong, beautiful young woman who by example has reminded me to live each day with all the energy and enthusiasm you can muster. Do all you can to stay healthy. Stay open to new experiences and people, never ever take yourself too seriously and always have fun!