The conversation was non-stop, but no one could hear it except me. I wasn’t hearing voices, I was self-talking in my head. I had always done this. It was always more intense after a spat with Steve or some perceived measure of inadequacy. My confidence cup was never full and some days leaked badly. Sometimes I wasn’t sure that I was making the right choices for my children or supporting my husband enough. I had no proper gauge for these activities and the world had changed so much since my mother was my age that no comparison would work.

Usually I would talk this type of thing over with Mags, but she really didn’t know much about raising children and never seemed to second guess her choices. Although Mags couldn’t have children she was always very supportive of everyone else’s. We discussed every aspect of our lives with our husbands with each other and she always knew just what to say to care for any wound that occurred. Hal certainly was different than Steve in some ways but overall his expectations for what he wanted Mags to do or say were similar to Steve’s. I may seem more frazzled than Mags because she remained calm about everything. It was her superpower and had always served her well. She has the mindset that we wish our national leaders would adopt and she reigns over the ladies in our neighborhood. I made a batch of brownies and placed them in the over to bake. I called her anyway.

When I finally brought up my ongoing mind conversation with Mags, she revealed that she was always mentally discussing things with herself. She told me that she studied the way people held themselves and noted special topics they mentioned like books they referenced or family members in need. Sometimes, Mags said she tried to help these people through Hal’s contacts at the bank. Mags had never disclosed this before but it seemed in keeping with her interest in serving others.

When I heard the oven timer go off, I thanked Mags and told her how much I admired her. She laughed and asked for what but I knew what to take from our talk. My endless conversations were a way of keeping perspective in my world. I just needed to see them as chances to make necessary changes or adjustments instead of constantly worrying about my past choices. Thinking ahead would become my new mantra.

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