A dear friend used to say that we all have our bag of rocks to carry. Then she realized that the bag is not full of rocks -- it's full of books.
Life does seem to teach us the same lessons over and over again. I don't know about anyone else, but I always seem to need the refresher course.
My big lesson this week was gratitude. On the morning of Gabby's birthday, I was playing with her in the house in Santa Fe that we were sharing with Atomic's family. I went to hike her up on my shoulder, and all of a sudden I was grasping at air. Then came the sickening thud as she flopped face first onto the floor. She screamed and screamed, unable to be comforted by either of us in any way. I held her and rocked her, and then she started to get sleepy. I got even more worried and called the doctor. While I was on hold, she screamed some more and then threw up. We rushed to the emergency room, in a snowstorm. We were terrified.
By the time we got to the hospital, she was fine. She'd taken a nap, and was cheerfully waving at the nurses and doctors in the ER. The doctor advised us against a CT scan and told us to watch her carefully over the course of the day. She developed a heck of a shiner on her left eye, but that was about it.
Even now, a week later, I lose my breath and get a horrible knot in my stomach when I think about it. And then I am flooded with enormous gratitude and humility. The universe has seen fit to entrust us with this precious child. We'd better not fuck it up.
Now, as for the other books in my bag this week, well, it's not exactly the New York Times best seller list. Some, ahem, highlights:
Flights of Fancy: How To Lower Your Expectations When Traveling Coach
The Homicide-Free Family Vacation
Simple Holiday Meals For Fourteen Picky Eaters
How To Survive Your Inlaws (yes, this one is real, and it actually looks kinda good)
The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter
As I said, not exactly beach reading, but all worthy lessons which I am certain to forget by the next time I need them.
Here's wishing all of you love, peace, happiness, prosperity, and gentleness in 2009.