Word of the Week: Charily

charily  /adv./  gingerly,  carefully.  warily.  guardedly.  cautiously.  also sparingly or frugally.   

charily  /adv./  1.  Olivia charily faced her first detention this week with fear and trepidation.  Upon arriving home she reported that she was the only one (of three) that showed up for the detention.  The other parents called and "threatened the teacher" (her words, not mine)  and got their children excused.   She was a bit disgruntled that her parents had not come to her aid, but I charily explained why I thought it was important she take responsibility for her actions...and she reported that she felt good about this too.  All's well that end's well.  And there was no poisoning or hitting, always a plus.

charily  /adv./  2.  I began reading Anna Karenina after Christmas vacation.  I admit I started the book charily, a bit daunted by its size and my recollection of the complexity of War and Peace, in combination with my limited reading schedule.  But I find myself absolutely hooked, and quite unable to concentrate on my "to do lists."  Last night I even dreamt about Kitty and Levin.  My guarded admiration has turned into a full-blown crush.   


 I am most stunned by Tolstoy's remarkable insights into life, that apply to me as easily here in the 21st century as they did to the people who first read his book.  I offer this pearl as evidence:  "...the children themselves were even now repaying her in small joys for her sufferings.  Those joys were so small that they passed unnoticed, like gold in sand, and at bad moments she could see nothing but the pain, nothing but sand;  but there were good moments too when she saw nothing but joy, nothing but gold."   (page 245 in my translation)

charily  /adv./  3.  We had a surprise visit from an old friend and her children this week.  I met Alexis at a back-to-school picnic/social when we were first starting grad school in Minnesota, over a decade ago.  It was one of those moments where the kinship was immediate...both of us far away from home, charily starting "real life," trying to support our brand-new husbands through their master's programs.  We haven't seen eachother since Olivia was a baby, but it felt like no time had passed at all.  All of our kids made fast friends, had an impromptu sleepover, and wept at goodbye.


This is a very old photo...she has five kids now, but it's one which I still have up in my house because I love it so much.  Our husbands look remarkably alike...their professors used to get them mixed up all the time.

charily  /adv./  4.   I chose "embrace" for my word of the year.  And the universe laughed.  This has been a most difficult week for "embracing" and today I was reminded of the scripture that says "there is a time to refrain from embracing," which only increased my discomfort with my word.   Already knee-deep in guilt and regret and "buts," I have decided to stop charily analyzing every situation where I might "get hurt" and try an "embrace experiment."  Do you remember that Seinfield episode where George decides to do the opposite of his natural instinct?  This is my idea with the embrace experiment.  I will give it one week.  I figure I have nothing to lose...just one week.  I will do the opposite of what my natural instinct is...stop running, stop fighting, stop protecting myself...(is it sad that these reactions are my natural instincts?) and try to completely embrace the people around me, no matter what.  I will do the opposite.  Turn the cheek.  Expose my neck.  Unwrap my heart.  Lay it bare.  Be vulnerable.  Without charily questioning the risks...just embrace, and see what happens. 

Maybe I will find that there is no poisoning or hitting as well.