I am holding space for myself today. Usually the request to hold space is for someone else. An opportunity to communicate our care or let someone know we are thinking of them. I find it easy to hold space for others but rarely take the time to nurture and focus on myself. Therefore when I sense a feeling of risk or fear as I consider moving toward my goals, or plans, it catches my attention. That awareness reminds me I need to take some time to hold space and look inward. The time I use is what I call, “Thursdaying.”
I grew up in a loud home. Our house was full of siblings, friends, games, television, pets, and events. There was always something happening. In the summers we would visit our friends and sometimes spend weeks at each other’s houses. It was an opportunity for each of us to see how the other half lived. Also, a great opportunity for our parents to spend time together as a couple. Our houses were noticeably cleaner upon our return and our parents well rested.
One of the gifts of these trips was staying with my mother’s best friend and my, “Mom 2.” After several days of Spice Girls music video shoots, movie screenings, and play we were all usually pretty tired. But on this morning I happened to be up early. The other kiddos were still fast asleep, and while Dad 2 stayed home, Mom 2 took me to breakfast.
On the ride over Mom 2 made the rules clear. I was welcome to come, and she loved me very much, but she was going to sit alone. She would read her book and drink her coffee. She would buy breakfast but I would sit at my own table. We were not together. No adult had ever spoken to me like this before. It felt very grown up and direct. I promptly agreed. I was confident I could comport and handle myself at a coffeehouse, “alone.”
It was a big change for me to be left to my own devices. And so I ordered my hot chocolate and blueberry scone and picked out my table. While my drink was prepared I took my time collecting various magazines and newspapers from the racks and counters. I had not known the rules before I left and therefore needed supplies. I picked a yellow wood table and parked myself, with my back to where Mom 2 sat maybe 10 feet away from me. That morning I ate, I drank, I read – it was heaven.
It was Thursday and yet no one interrupted me. It was just the resonant noise of an early morning coffee shop. I did not need to rush anywhere or do anything. An independent woman, for the first time in my life. It was glorious. And that memory stuck. It has stayed, nestled in my heart all my life.
Throughout my life I have enjoyed many more days like this – after all Thursday’s come every week. However, the value and the splendor of that first morning is a gift I savor. I was recently given another free Thursday. There was nowhere I needed to be and nothing that had to be done. I was free. So I popped by a local coffee shop, bought myself a lemonade and a macaroon. I sipped, I read – a book I brought with because I learned early the wisdom of being prepared – and delighted in the experience. I savored and admired the sun through the window, the morning light on the park across the street, the ambient conversations that filled the room around me.
As I sat in peaceful comfort, I remembered the beauty of my first coffeeshop morning and texted Mom 2 and set a date for a call. I need a refresher course in honoring myself and in keeping my heart whole and my spirit free. The time was a rekindling and a reminder of my priorities. It allowed me to refocus my attention on my own goals and making my own heart sing. To do that requires Thursdaying – making time for my own delight and unexpected treats. It means trusting myself to walk alone and to find a path. Taking the time to savor the sweetness of right now because after all, it is fleeting.
On the drive home from that first coffeeshop visit I felt elated and free. I felt like the happiest and most authentic version of myself. I felt like me. And it was wonderful. I am forever grateful to Mom 2 for being my bonus mom and for giving me the gift of time to find and honor myself exactly as I am, exactly who I am, and to celebrate regular days. After all, everyone has Thursdays.