We’re walking along and walking along and nothing much changes.
And all of a sudden we melt because everything feels horrible
and we cry about our socks not fitting right,
something we wouldn’t have cried about yesterday.
My little one went all to tears the other day.
I said her namely loudly, exasperated.
She belted out through her sobs, “Sometimes life is hard!”
I spun around to face her, surprised by what she said.
Something melted in me, too, and let go
so I could see things differently,
like the way the red cardinal breaks the monotony
of a dreary day, a relief, and a release
into a fresh reality.
We hugged, because that makes things okay again.
We walk along and walk along and not too much changes,
though gratefulness comes to rest on my spirit
like a red cardinal on the grey chain-link fence.
When my fourth baby is a few months old
I lie with my back on the floor,
fingers reaching one way, toes the other, and the hem of my shirt pulls away from the waistband of my pants.
My three-year-old daughter who kneels beside me asks,
“Why is your belly so wrinkly?”
My immediate shock and surprise fade, and I mentally leap into a readily available pit of despair. Then I offer her a cursory explanation of skin’s elasticity and the effects of multiple pregnancies,
And, as if she hasn’t listened to a word I’ve said,
That fourth little babe is now over a year old
and wouldn’t you know he blows the best raspberries on that wrinkly old skin there ever was.
I hand my baby boy his sister’s tiny toy zebra when he walks, Frankenstein’s monster-like, toward me.
“Ahng-oo,” he said, unprompted, for the first time ever.
I pray my own gratitude pours out that way, unprompted, in whatever language I can muster, as if for the first time ever, not because etiquette requires me to do so, but because in my humility I am truly grateful.