Thursday, December 19, 2013

Everything I Need to Know in Life v.2: I Learned from Charlie Brown ...

I thought I knew it all from Dr. Suess after visiting with his thoughts at Brookgreen Gardens this fall, and then again here on the Palmetto Baby blog

Then this evening, I spent some time with Charlie Brown's Christmas.  We do it every year.  You do it every year, I know you do.

Every one of us thinks "Snoopy" when we hear "Red Baron".

We think Lucy's advice only comes at 5 cents... is that covered by Obamacare??

We have real life PigPens and Linuses and Peppermint Patties that we have seen all grown up in our lives.

That Charlie Brown, we can learn a lot from him.  

We see him at Christmas time and Halloween without fail.

 We in our 21st century lives press record on our DVRs, because we need to pass this on. 

Is it the show, or the messages we need to communicate?  The simpler lives and messages and learning? Not about Christmas, or Halloween but life in general.

It's so interesting to watch these shows with the adult mind.  The personalities that were so extreme becomed nuanced as we understand who they are in the frame of reference of our adult minds.

 "I think I'm losing control of the whole world."  Me too, Charlie.  Me too.  Here's the secret, we didn't have the control in the beginning, we were just operating in our own orbit.  When things like kids and job changes and money and life get in the way, sometimes we lose all control of the world.  Oftentimes terrifying, just like in the comics, it usually turns out ok. 

 "It’s too early. I never eat December snowflakes. I always wait until January."  I get you, Lucy.  I do. The prospect of that bigger storm and bigger opportunity often leave us paralyzed in place.  This has nothing to do with snow and months, and everything to do with life.

“I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel. I just don’t understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards, and decorating trees and all that, but I’m still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed.” Yes, Charlie.  I'm there.

I'm not in it to win it this season.  It's just so much WORK.  The packing, the wrapping, the preparing, the cookies, the cards, the tree, the decorating, the opening Christmas cards and feeling like a schmoe once again because DAMN, when do people have time for these things.  My kids were bathed three times this week instead of two.  THAT.  That is a win.

And then you, Peppermint Patty: "There's enough problems in the world already, Chuck, without these stupid misunderstandings. "  This one has struck a core in recent months as I've tried to reconcile who Susann is.  I'm in a middling place right now, and have floated in the world of misunderstanding with others when I'm clearly frustrated with myself and needing to tap back into me beyond being "Mom" a little.

I've spent too much time in the recent past explaining away others' behavior without taking some ownership to either confront or accept it.  Life changes when you have kids.  People change.   My timing changes, and my flexibility changes.  And in my insecurity about my evolving self, I've lost track of where my roots are.  Who my roots are.   We are grown and can grown with them, or we can choose to go other directions.  But we can't let misunderstandings destroy who we know and our history with them.

Charlie, you got it right, "Goodbyes always make my throat hurt, I need more hellos"

But then Linus, you always bring us back, "Learning to ignore things is one of great paths to inner peace"

Linus.  Odd.  Becomes passion.

Charlie.  Worried.  Becomes devotion.

Lucy.  Bossy.  Of course-- she's leaning in!

Sally.  Deadpan.  Faithful.  Angry faithfulness sometimes.  But she's all in.

Snoopy.  Man's best and worst and best friend, like any pup, no matter how you look at it.

But then if you parse their words, and amplify Mr. Schulz's messages, you think "Now this is a 21st century philosopher.!"

It's no secret we have had a hard year.  Maybe a harder one that I will care to admit some days.  Most days are spent in a fog, and a cycle of need-to-dos, and not want-to-dos.   I know that's just where we are right now in life, and this too will pass. 

The joys are so joyous.  But they are worked for.  Trust me.

We are all a little Charlie Brown.  Cynical.  Devoted.  Motivated and frustrated.

May all our problems be resolved in a 30 minute holiday special, and may we rest easy this holiday season safe in the hearts of those we love.

And make sure you have your own awesome interpretation of the "Charlie Brown Dance" mastered for those joyous moments.

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