1. I work so hard. I pour my heart and soul and body and mind into the things I love most in the world and I go to bed each night hoping against hope that I'm doing okay, that my best, however muddled, is good enough and then a day comes and I'm standing on a street corner on an arctic fall day trying to hail a taxi and I look over and I see them. They are bundled and bright, brilliantly disheveled and terribly close and it hits me like a cartoon thunderbolt. My work - quiet, frustrating, edifying, relentless - is paying off.
2. I go on a field trip with my daughter's Kindergarten class to the NY Common Pantry. The kids get to see where homeless people are offered hot meals and a place to shower and also the pantry where local families can come to stock up on groceries. Her class will be baking apple muffins to give to the Pantry to be served with Thanksgiving dinner. I'm so thankful that my kids attend a school that takes service so seriously, one that exposes kids in an age-appropriate but honest way to the sometimes harsh realities of this city and world.
3. Instead of guzzling wine or scarfing sugary treats as I've done in the past, I make a cup of hot fennel tea. It's surprisingly good. The words on the little tea bag: Be heard. I realize how important two words can be.
4. I watch Big Girl huddled over a piece of white paper, markers in hand. When she comes up for air, I see it. A blast of rainbow. A pattern. It's beauty. It's childhood. It's everything. She tells me it's a card for Moo Moo, Mom. Something in me clicks, comes alive.
5. I cuddle on the couch with my beautiful niece. We share a blanket, hold hands, watch cartoons.
6. Soccer season is over. There are trophies. And big smiles. And proud hearts. A passion has been found. It was once my passion, too.
7. I have an idea, she says after her final game. I will clear out a shelf for my trophies and all my special things. It occurs to me that my daughters might play on the same school team one day. That we will be the ones on the sidelines screaming Go go go like our parents were.
8. On the night before Mom's birthday, we take her out for dinner at the family's favorite restaurant. There are stories and there is laughter. There are almost-arguments and there is affection, complicated but undeniable, in spades. After, we stand on a street corner and huddle together in the November cold. Laughter and smiles. We are all together.
9. It's just a necklace, but it's not. It catches my eye. Something about the weight of it, the shape of it, the color. Purple. It's a color I've come to love only recently. What does purple represent? I look it up in the quiet of a Wednesday morning: Purple combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red. An early Christmas gift from mom. Middle Girl's already asking when she can borrow it. Soon, I say. Because that's the truth.
11. I find a box of little cards, a box of words. I open one. Read.
Do not wait for life. Do not long for it. Be aware, always and at every moment, that the miracle is in the here and now.