I was driving Sully to school this morning. We were stopped at a red light. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a woman driving a silver Prius behind us. She looked older than me, but not by much. In the passenger seat sat a young boy, her son, I presume. In the short time that we sat idle, I had two thoughts: How old does a child need to be to sit in the front passenger seat of a car? And, in what will no doubt feel like a fleeting moment, that will be me. I couldn't help but stare at this woman and boy. They looked relaxed and happy, beautiful. In held glance, I could almost write a story based on how I saw them. Only that story would be my own. Connected. We are all connected, I thought to myself as the light flashed to green and we drove on.
This new year has been off to a rougher start than I'd care to admit. There has been death in my community. A loved one has been struggling with his health. People, family, that I love dearly are going through extreme difficulty. Theo and Sully have been sick. And I have been sick. I rarely get sick and lately I've been frightened at times by how weak I've been. I was awake with chest pain the other night, unable to lay flat. I came downstairs and wrapped myself in our warmest blanket and curled up in my reading chair. In the darkness, I watched the snow slowly falling outside, silent. And then I remembered words from Anne Lamott's book Stitches. She wrote about what just might be the best thing we can do for somebody who's experienced unthinkable loss or going through great pain. She wrote about picturing that person, or community, or whatever it is that is hurting as whole. Whole and well. In that moment, in the middle of the night, I did that for myself. Just the other day, I was mid-thought about everything going wrong with someone I love so much and I stopped myself. I switched gears and pictured this person with fantastic health. I pictured this person smiling. I'm getting in to this practice of replacing fear with hope.
That woman this morning, I saw myself in her. I saw sunlight and my own relationship with my boys that is growing day by day into something greater than I ever imagined. Just last night Theo and I were hanging out watching the Olympics. We watched a brief interview with Shaun White. In Theo's eyes I could see the beginnings of role models and influence. He said he really liked Shaun White but that he didn't think he would become an athlete himself. He said he saw himself as more of a change maker.
"Oh yeah," I replied. A change maker like who?"
"I don't know, maybe more like someone who designs and builds prosthetics for athletes so they can keep doing what they love to do."
(pause my heart)
And then Sully came into the room like a flash and asked out of the blue how he was born. Before I could even speak a word, Theo said, "The doctor cut Mom right open and pulled you out of her guts." Which is completely untrue, but these brothers are learning how to make each other hysterical, for better or worse.
And just like that, they were up the stairs together, their beautiful smiles lingering.
(pause my soul)
For many, many reasons, Theo and Sully at the very top of my list, I am picturing myself whole. I am taking and seeking good care. And even though we are not yet at the place of riding in the front seat together on the way to school in the mornings, we are in this place that is full of light, no longer looking back as much, grateful for this very moment - this inhale, looking forward to so much more.