Thoughts on the appreciation of the little things in life especially when life is difficult.

Being on the coronavirus lockdown isn’t too dissimilar to my normal life. (Introverts, can I get an Amen?) I can be an extrovert if I have to and I’m pretty good at it. But, staying away from other people is my preferred state. Except for some of you and you know who you are.

I have to say one of the things I desperately miss is going out to eat. My waistline isn’t missing it, which is a good thing. Almost every week my guy and I pop into our favorite local Tex-Mex spot and enjoy what I consider to be the best margarita ever. Our spot has a very “Cheers” vibe to it so that when we walk in all the bartenders call us by name, even my name which no one ever remembers, and proceeds to start our margs before we ever sit down to order. It just feels good. And it’s fun and the margaritas are delicious.

I know, missing a margarita is the absolute least important thing ever. But being a creature of habit and finding comfort in stupid little things, that stupid little thing is missed. I think about the staff and about how much they must be struggling. Hang in there with me for the point but please know I am also a perilous empath and I think about all those suffering constantly.

Back to the margaritas. A couple of the bartenders there sent my boyfriend a friend request. (Next time I’ll order myself some chopped liver.) Anywho, we were sitting around ruminating over the margs when we had the brilliant idea of trying to make them on our own. Now, seriously, these margaritas are so good it’s just not as simple as buying tequila and some sugar-laden mix. I don’t know if they add fairy dust to theirs or not, but if they do, I’m in the market for finding some. I bet plutonium would be easier to come by.

I made the suggestion to my boyfriend, “HEY! Ask the guys how to make one!” He messaged them. You know, since they didn’t friend me, (*to be said with humor but where you know the person really pouring on the sarcasm and malcontent,) and they were gracious enough to reply and fill us in on their little secrets! OH, HAPPY DAY! Off with our masks to the liquor store.

I was elated when the grocery store had those big-ass mugs just like the restaurant uses and ignored the looks I got when I was checking out. I gave a glance that said, “Don’t mess with me, I need a margarita!” and was happily left alone. Once home, he dabbled in getting the margs just right as I made an attempt to make that white queso they’ll serve around Christmas with a big helping of pico de gallo in the middle. For you non-Texas folks, that’s a big vat of creamy cheese with a bunch of fresh tomatoes and onions dumped in the middle. We didn’t even attempt the taco meat because we knew it wouldn’t even come close.

And voila! We did it!

Of course, I took a photo and posted it to the gram. I even made a little sign that said “Maudie’s, Spicewood” and officially made it their 6th location, albeit without their permission.

Then I noticed just yesterday, the restaurant had reposted my Instagram photo thanking us for getting carry-out. (Which we’ve also done, by the way.) But, I didn’t have the heart to tell them it wasn’t carry-out. That we had indeed copied the hell out of them and did a pretty damn good job of it. Even THEY thought it was their food and drinks.

With all of that, I was still left bewildered on why not being able to just go get a margarita would affect me at all. So I overthought it like everything else and realized this.

I don’t handle change and being scared well. Actually, I do, but for some reason, I tell myself that I don’t. I’ve lived through literal hell and back in my life. I think having the first-hand experience of seeing how far a person can fall and how terrifying it is in the moment that it leaves me with some knowledge I’d rather not have. I prefer ignorant bliss. I don’t EVER want to fall that far again.

But, I learned.

I learned that I was resourceful AF. I also learned I could survive on very little. I learned I could handle more than I certainly ever thought possible. I learned that I could do whatever it was I needed to do to care for myself and for my kids. I learned I had a lot more control over my life than I realized and that I won’t ever allow that to happen again. I learned I am one strong ass woman.

There was a time I was living out of my car while training for a new job while desperately trying to break free from abuse and be able to have a home again. The training happened in the afternoon and through the evening. We would get a break around 7 pm for dinner. It was only 30 minutes long but they had a cafeteria. It was not cheap. I didn’t always have money for dinner so sometimes I would have to skip the meal knowing that I had a dollar that would buy me a .99 cent Wendy’s chili after my shift was done. During the dinner in the cafeteria as I sat with my coworkers, they would ask, “Aren’t you having anything for dinner?”

“No,” I would respond, “I had a big lunch.” And then tried to look like I meant it.

Looking back, I know that’s one of those times I should have spoken up and asked for help. I believe most people are good and kind and will always extend a hand. But I didn’t. I just did what I needed to do to survive and get by.

By the time I got to that .99 cent Wendy’s chili, I appreciated it like nobody’s business. It was freaking manna from heaven. There has never been a time since then that I am not grateful for the food in front of me and for the roof I have over my head. I’m able to give my kids, who are pretty much grown, more than I ever have and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.

I appreciate sunsets and moonrises. I appreciate puppy snuggles and the cat who is making my arm fall asleep as I type because he has to be right on top of me. I even appreciate our evenings on the front porch together as I pretend to read but end up taking a million photos of him.

Seriously, that face!

I appreciate my hippie house, deep conversations with my son that makes my head hurt, texting with my daughter and sending her the cat photos that I took from the front porch since she’s moved away as kids do. I appreciate that first sip of coffee in the morning. I appreciate all the critters that come to my back yard and ask me for food. I love feeding them. I love feeding anyone.

I appreciate my dear, sweet friends who stood by my side this entire time. And I appreciate the new friends I’ve made who never stop letting me know I’m in their hearts.

I appreciate my guy.

I appreciate him talking me off the ledge at night when I move from the present moment and go down the dark abyss of “what if” land. And I appreciate him making me a freaking delicious margarita.

Sometimes when things get difficult we are reminded to appreciate the little things. Because if truth be told, those really are the only things that matter.