I couldn’t write for a few days. I was sad. Wednesday was full of emotions. My life was fine-great. I had so many things for which to be thankful. I hear people say that. I have said it. But, do we really-do I really mean it. What does it take for us to be thankful for what we have- right now- at this very moment. Sometimes other people’s pain or our own pain is what it takes.
Wednesday was a normal day. Our alarm went off at 5 a.m. just like it does every weekday-and of course we hit snooze until 5:10, until 5:15 and in 5 minute increments until we hopped up at 5:30 ready for our hot tea and to get on with the business of being The Stoners.
I executed my routine with perfection. I got out of my warm and cozy bed. I walked downstairs and to the Persian rug in front of the fireplace and I got on my knees to pray and meditate. I got up and sat in my chair where my hot tea was presented to me by my husband of almost twenty years. We chatted for about 20 minutes like we do each day. We talked about what was going on with us, our children and the office. We made sure we were on the same page as to what needed to be done that particular day. I got up and made hot tea for the children. Camille usually likes a good stout tea and Ben is partial to “Tazo Calm” tea-thank God. I made their breakfast which consisted of microwaving a biscuit or pouring cereal. I made my husband his next cup of tea. I then made lunch for each of my children. Some days I put silly notes in there just so they can remember how much I love them. Some days we are yelling and screaming to get ready and that we are running late. On these days I am pissed off so I figure they are lucky that I am even making their lunch. Some days I see this as a chore. Some days I stop and thank God that they are still young enough that I am making school lunches.
On Wednesday I did something as mundane as run an office errand for Allen. I went to the printer. A lady I have known for several years who works there told me that Sunday had been the 3 year anniversary of her twenty something year-old daughter and her 5 year old granddaughter’s death in an automobile accident. I stood there and listened to her recount the last time she talked to her daughter-how her daughter had begged her mom to be careful on that horrible rainy day. I listened as she told me how her granddaughter called her Gan-ma and how they had taken a walk the day before. She told me how it used to drive her crazy when her daughter would throw her head back and sling her long blond hair around while she was standing in the kitchen. She told me how her granddaughter was a handful and was always a bundle of energy.
She told me that she wished her daughter could be in her kitchen today slinging her hair around. She told me that she wished her granddaughter could run through the house with a roar.
She told me to go home and hug my children and be thankful for all of the mundane tasks, all of the arguments, and all of the noise. She said, “Be tough-teach them right and wrong, but really stop and be thankful.”
I stood there and cried. I cried for her pain, but I also cried for me. I cried that I am never really satisfied and that I always want more. I cried that I had sent my children off in frustration that day.
I cried that I have been married to someone I love and LIKE for almost twenty years who will still bring me tea. I cried that my son procrastinates when it is time to get ready-but so does his daddy and if he is anything like him and- I think he is-he will grow into a fine man. I cried that my daughter talks back and tells me exactly what she thinks, but I realize she is just like me and I always know where I stand with her and that she has a heart and a conscience. I cried that I can’t have a glass of wine or spiked eggnog for the holidays, but that I’ve found a group of people who have helped me accept that. I cried that we have had a tough year financially, but that we haven’t missed a meal, we have two cars in our driveway and we have continued to wake up in our warm comfortable home. I cried that my mother is not here, but that I do have great memories. I cried that I can’t lose that last 10 pounds, but that I have at least lost the first 10. I cried that I need to drive to Hunstville to buy my favorite Laura Mercier lip-gloss, but that I have just enough at the bottom of the tube that I can scrape out.
I cried because sometimes I don’t stop to be thankful. I cried for the lady teaching me this lesson. I cried because I needed to be thankful that someone else shared her pain with me-that it wasn’t my pain. Even though I was sorry for her-it was her pain that could teach me.
I was in a hurry on Wednesday; I had so many things to do. But, I am so thankful I stopped long enough to learn a lesson. Of course, this is not the first time I have heard this lesson and I am pretty sure I will need to hear it again. But, I suppose one of the things for which I am most thankful is-that as a student of life I get the chance to start over each day and if I do it right and carry over my lessons-they may just stick.