I am going to confess something to all of you. Something that no one else knows. Not my husband. Not my mom. Not my therapist.
I have an alternate personality. Her name is Lou-Ellen.
Lou-Ellen is older than me, around 50 to be exact. Lou-Ellen is a classic Southern lady, gracious and poised. She's always impeccably put together (she favors pearls, diamonds, silk shells, St John suits, and perfectly knotted Hermes scarves). She has the ability to charm anyone into conversation, to make anyone feel important and appreciated. She's had some rough times in her life (I can't share them with you without her permission, I'm afraid) but you wouldn't know it when you met her. And then when you hear about all she's been through to get where she is, you'll think "I can't believe someone could still stand up after a life like that, and she's doing so much more."
Lou-Ellen brings a casserole to the family nextdoor when their wife dies (even though she just learned her husband was cheating on her). Lou-Ellen holds the hand of the pregnant lady on the bus who's having a panic attack over one day giving birth (even though, which five miscarriages in her past, you'd forgive her for being dismissive). Lou-Ellen is the queen of flowers and favors and compliments you never realized you deserved until she gave them to you.
On days like today and yesterday, I don't much like the woman I am so I think of the woman I'd like to be one day (aside from the Southern thing. That's not happening). I ask myself, What would Lou-Ellen do? And I always know the answer right away: the kind act, the generous gesture, the phone call that makes people feel loved, the comment that puts them at ease. That's what Lou-Ellen would do.
I called my SIL last night to give her my congratulations. I'm going to the hospital today in between my dental appointment and my 4:15 class. Because that's what Lou-Ellen would do. (Well, Lou-Ellen would probably bring a hand-knit nursery set and a dozen peonies, too. But I have my limits.)
I'm back, and it's hopefully not a once-off!!
3 weeks ago