In Gratitude

The toddler’s legs dangled from the seat of the cart in front of me.  Cooing over the new drink cup in her hand, her bare feet bounced.  I guessed her to be around a year old.   Her chunky baby feet and round piggy toes told me she was new to walking.  I was tempted to reach out and tickle her toes but restrained myself.  I was a stranger after all.  But she caught my eye and grinned at me from behind her pacifier.  I smiled back of course, with a  Hi sweetie”.  Who could resist those blue eyes and that charm?  She kicked her feet high, delighted she had an audience. 

Her mom was tired.  Dressed in blue scrubs, two other small children in tow, I assumed she came straight from work, picked up the kids from daycare, then stopped at Target for toilet paper before heading home to feed her crew.  Annoyed at first that I had responded to her baby, she softened when I said “She’s beautiful.  In reply she bent over and kissed her little one’s cheek and I was glad.  She knew what she had.

This week’s writing group assignment was to write out five full pages of things I am grateful for and the impact of this assignment on my outlook.   I handwrote six pages, actually about five and a little more than half.   I will not bore you with everything in those pages but will say I am grateful I have large handwriting. 

The first two and a half pages came with ease, the litany of good was a piece of cake.  Then things got tough.  I dug down and pulled up the imperfections.   The slight ringing in my ears tells me I might end up like my Grandmother, hard of hearing and missing conversation.   It makes me grateful for what I hear today.  The premature grey hair came to my mind.   On the one hand it likely makes me look older than my years, yet it can also be viewed as a sign of wisdom and grace, a definite reminder of two things I need to add to my list of aspirations.  And I am grateful for a difficult marriage and divorce as it taught me that I am strong, resilient and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, well at least figuratively.

The list of imperfections went on for three more pages and to my surprise I managed to find a positive in each one.   As I sat on my balcony, the breeze was warm on my face, the cat soft and purring on my lap, the sun brightened the flowers in the courtyard, a far away dog barked and I inhaled the scent of burgers and A-1 steak sauce cooking on the neighbor’s grill.  And I understood the impact of the writing exercise.  

I am present.

As I smiled at the little girl, as I sat writing on the balcony, as I write this piece, I am grateful.   I am grateful for each and every moment in time.  I know that each second is unique and can never be recreated as it is at that precise moment.  The Universe affirmed this understanding.   In synchronicity, I came across an Apache Blessing a few minutes before sitting to write.

May the Sun bring you new energy by day.

May the Moon softly restore you by night.

May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.


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