Week 42: Hugs, kisses, the circus and dissipation

This year, I set myself 22 little goals to pursue throughout the year. I call them the 22 in 22. Once a week (or there abouts), I take a few minutes to check my progress on a few of my goals.

#1 Connect better with the scalawags, according to their Love Languages

It started as something so simple. We’re in the car on our way to school, and we’re stuck in a traffic jam. My eldest, who panics when he thinks we might be late to school, is watching the clock on the dashboard and mumbling under his breath that he hates to be late. (The child is seven. Seven. He is seven. What have I done to him?)

I want to pretend that I’m not afraid that this traffic jam will actually, for the first time ever, make us late to school (the driver of a too-tall truck had realized, at the very last instant that he didn’t have enough clearance to make it under a trainbridge. So on the narrowest, busiest piece of road in town, nuzzled between a canal and a construction site, he decided to do effectuate a three point turn at rush hour. Right.)

So totally cool, totally calm, totally collected, I say in my smoothest smarmiest television anchor voice, “Tell me: how do you know I love you?”

I didn’t expect the diversion to work. I mean, I put the cool calm and collected act on pretty thick. I was certain that even they would see through it.

To my surprise, the eldest, the one who hates being late said, “I have five ways that I know you love me.” I readjusted the rearview mirror to see if this was truly my child speaking from the backseat. It was indeed.

He pontificated for a few minutes, clearly making it up as he went along. He was doing oral arguments for which he had not prepared, but he managed to be fairly convincing. I loved it that one of his reason that he knew I loved him is because I accompany him on the piano when he practices the double bass, and another was that I trust him to do things alone, like walk to music school.

He also apparently knew I loved him because I took him to the circus, a little adventure he and I took together on Sunday. I’m not sure how this was proof that I love him, since it was as much for me as it was for him, only feeding my recurring desire to run away and join the circus as an aerialist. But, okay. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

“And you, little scalawag?” I asked, when we arrived at the fifth bullet point on the eldest scalawag’s outline.

“I only have two,” he said, almost disappointed to not be able to compete.

“Two is great. Tell me the two.”

“I know you love me because you hug me and because you kiss me.”

By this point, we had managed to get through the worst of the traffic jam, so we were zooming along a little access road beside the canal.

I know this is true. He knows, first and foremost that I love him because I speak his love language. He needs those hugs and kisses, and I must not neglect giving them to him.

And the big one, he knows I love him because I spend time with him…thus the playing the piano while he practices thing and taking him to the circus thing. But he also likes to be trusted. Thus the letting him walk to music school on his own thing.

We parked at school, got out of the car and started running.

“Momma?” asked little scalawag as we ran. “How do you know I love you?”

As we ran, I told him exactly how I knew he loved me, which made him giggle, because it seemed awfully specific and doable.

We arrived at school, I said goodbye as he slipped into his classroom, but he came back out calling after me. I was worried, because he doesn’t usually do this. So I got down on my knees.

He then gave me a nice kiss on the forehead., that oddly specific thing he does that makes me know that he loves me.

“I love you,” he said, resting his arms on my shoulders.

“I know” I said back, and hugged him and kissed him. “And I love you.”

“I know!” he said, prancing back to his classroom.

Incidentally, this whole little morning traffic jam qualifies also as #20: Practice Mindfulness: articulate and savor the good moments

#18 Eat mindfully and with pleasure

Here’s a point I haven’t spent much time at all considering this year. And yet, it is something I so desperately wanted to improve on, after my summer 2021 efforts at eating pretty food.

This came to mind because, during this class I am taking, my eyes landed on a word which, while I thought I understood the meaning, confused me.

It’s the word dissipation. It means what you think it means. Like, water turning into vapor.

In French, it also means the act of being distracted, of not being able to concentrate, which is how I thought it was being used in the sense here.

But, as it turns out, it was not. I discovered that dissipation has another meaning, one that means a kind of gluttony and drunkenness. (How did I reach 45 years on this planet without knowing this meaning?)

So when I got home, I googled this, and ended up reading an exerpt from Nietzsche, who said, “Joy is not the mother of dissipation, but rather, joylessness.”

And honestly, I felt seen. All the binge eating…there is zero joy in that. So ending up overeating…or in dissipation. This form of dissipation is not about the joy that comes in the eating. It is, in fact, joylessness that incites the boredom that leads to bingeing.

Leave it to Nietzsche to bring it all home, and to be the reason that here, in the last two months of my challenge, I find a renewed interest in this random little challenge of my 22 in 22!

Episode 40: Loving Yourself at the Holidays Sing With Your Feet

Talking Points: Unhooking ourselves from the expectations of others; the lowest common denominator for joy; imagining our ideal holidays; taking care of ourselves. A great big thank you to Seven Productions in Mulhouse, France, for the use of the song La Joie as the intro and outtro of the show; to Matt Kugler who sang it and Claude Ekwe who wrote it.
  1. Episode 40: Loving Yourself at the Holidays
  2. Episode 39: Leaving a Commitment
  3. Episode 38: Let's Do This!
  4. Episode 37: I Need to Think!
  5. Episode 36: What Isn't Working?

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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