Mexican Blanket

Four Blue Jays, like miniature jets against the clear winter skies, zoom away.  Like thieves, they seem to sense my presence and dart away from the birdfeeder as fast as they can go.  I half expect to see my computer or my television under one of their wings. They have an air of guilt about them.  But maybe that is just the projection that I put upon them.

I take a bite of the chocolate-coated chocolate cake ball on a toothpick.  So scrumptious, and obviously irresistible.  Yes, the guilt is my own.  Coffee in one hand and forbidden sugar in the other, I’ve already broken my New Year’s resolution and it is only January second!  Willpower – that’s what I need.  Commitment.  Yes, those would be great attributes, especially to someone who seems to be floating through life.

Watching the birdfeeder, I realize that Blue Jays, despite their nasty reputation for being greedy and ruthless, are quite beautiful.  I decide to be grateful for their obliging me.  I mean, I bought the birdseed and my husband, setting the table, filled the feeders.  So when the guests arrive, I guess I should just be a good hostess and not complain about their manners or their dress.  I’d rather have seen a red Cardinal coat, but the blue is pretty, too.

A shiver runs down my spine, and the exhaustion of whatever virus has attacked my body and robbed me of my lovely three-day weekend takes over.  Deciding to make the most of it, I make my way to my bed and close my eyes.  I let my mind wander through my life- my past, my present and my future.  I guess that is what the New Year is about.  I mean, there needs to be a cut off point in everyone’s lives that is used to make us stop and rethink things.  Otherwise, we might all just keep going the same as we are, never changing the way we think or the way we do things.  It reminds me of my oldest son’s days as a sprinter.  We would attend his track meets and watch him glide through the air, barely touching the ground, reaching the finish line in first or second, then check to see what his time was.  Win or lose, it didn’t matter, it was about the time.  Did he beat his personal record?

Maybe that’s what New Year’s resolutions are really about.  Beating one’s personal record.  So I lie there for a while and wonder what finish line I just crossed, and how in this next year, I will improve my time.  How will I beat my personal record?

I drift off to sleep and am awakened by a cold draft licking my knee through the hole in my old jeans – cast offs from my youngest son.  I pull up the wool Mexican blanket lying at the foot of my bed.   It’s been a possession of mine for thirty years.  When I was seventeen, my parents forced me to go on the family vacation.  We went to Nogales, Mexico, where my father bought each of his nine children a Mexican blanket.  I chose one that was different than any one else’s.  Theirs were all bright, multi-colored clones.  Mine is cream colored with just an orange and brown stripe at each end.  I guess even thirty years ago I knew that I didn’t want the same life as everyone else.

Maybe that is the finish line of 2009.  Crossing over to see just who I really am.  Stripped of all my familiar, comfortable and valued roles.  Shedding all the projected identities.  Time to emerge and embrace the identity of the Mexican blanket.  My uniqueness.  Even if it isn’t what everyone else wants, expects or is comfortable seeing.

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