Some days are perfect.
Some days beg patience.
Some days make me want to pull the covers back over my head and start again.
We're in the car, running mindless errands, holding hands, rubbing fingers, laughing. I look at this man next to me and I'm blown away by how lucky I am.
I try to get my son, who has decided to have sensory issues about his clothes, to put something, anything on, and be part of a special moment. I decide not to lose my temper or to make him feel bad about what he can't control. I bribe him. It works.
We stand in front of an intimate group of our family and friends and I look at my children, standing with us, and the friend who is standing up for me who gets me, who comes and gets me all the time for rides, and the other friend who introduced us and who is standing up for him, and I'm blown away by how lucky I am.
I look at my blue and purple and swollen left foot and wonder how much ground I'm going to lose on the fitness goals I set for myself and consider that I might have to stop eating and start doing a lot more pushups.
I read the congratulatory notes and the emails and the well wishes from so many people I can't even count them and my heart is warm and tingly and fuzzy and I am absolutlely blown away by how lucky I am.
And then my cat vomits on my new shoes.
Isn't that the way it goes?
Life is beautiful and ugly in the same breath. No one is immune from trouble, no one is safe from change and struggle and sorrow. And at the same time, we are so incredibly blessed by the people we love and who love us, the things we have, the things we can do. A place to stay, parents who come through no matter what, a friend who calls when I feel down, a dogs warm furry body pressed against my side as I cry in sorrow or in pain, a man who loves me just as I am, children who take my breath away with their beauty and energy.
There was a time when I was a smaller person. When I would be envious of someone for what they had or what they could do. I would look at them and think how much more fortunate they were than I, how much prettier/thinner/successful/wealthy/famous. And when the inevitable happened and they suffered or stumbled or got hurt, that nasty small person inside me would give a nasty little small fist-pump of victory. Because oh my, how the mighty do fall. And it seemed sometimes like my life was a neverending series of fall or struggle or emotional pain. And then I got older and wiser and I had an opportunity to see me the way other people saw me - that my struggle was not always visible, that to some people I seemed like one of the lucky ones, because even though it seemed to me that my life was not easy, there were people watching me who had lives that were even less easy than mine.
That's pretty humbling.
And I learned to be grateful for the amazing gifts that I really do have, and to let go a little more of the things that I thought were so awful.
I hope I never forget that my life is charmed and blessed and wonderful - and that I am in no way immune to a stumble, a pain, a grief, a sorrow. And may I never ever forget so long as I live that what I see of another person's life is only a fraction of what they feel and see and experience. May I always have compassion for their pain and joy for their success and love for the person they have been and are becoming.
Let me remember, always, that no matter what struggle I face, someone has faced something far worse than this and made it through.
Let me not take these days of joy for granted. These days are precious and stolen and as ephemeral as the whiff of scent of the last days of a rose in November. This is a gift.