Do your best with the rest.

There is so much to say, but I am unable to start. Like inhaling to begin my sentence, but pausing, breath held, until I simply exhale, rather than say anything. We are in that space in between, right now. Life in the ellipse, the pause in between, the search for the words. The pause to let the frenetic ticker-tape thoughts slow and drift and settle quietly.

*****

This morning, I thought I’d settle in this evening, carols and PJs on, and write a bit about a lovely suggestion written by a relative, George. George is navigating his new world where a family member’s scary, unexpected health emergency has prompted reflection of the most heartfelt kind. He wrote:

“Please let this experience remind you to hold the people you love (and who love you) close and tight as soon and as often as you can, taking nothing for granted. Appreciate that so much of life is completely beyond our control, and do your best with the rest.”

Appreciate that so much of life is completely beyond our control, and do your best with the rest.

*****

I rocked my Plum to sleep tonight. She was warm, heavy-lidded, and felt so big in my arms, transitioning from infant to little person in inches, pounds, sounds and teeth. My dear little person.

And, yes, I held her a little longer, a little tighter.

And I kissed her sticky cheek, acknowledging my luck, reminded, yet again, again, again, that we are all balancing on the lip of loss.

*****

The crazy man I saw on the corner the other day, the one who was watching his own parade, or bike race, or procession as I considered locking my car doors, someone had rocked him, too. He was somebody’s baby. And someone soothed him, fed him, sung to him. Someone had kissed his sticky cheek, and filled their heart with hopes and wishes just for him.

We are all somebody’s baby. Perhaps we don’t all get everything we need, but I am certain, that to get here, we were all quietly rocked, fed, warmed, our hair smoothed gently at least once. At least once.

All of those little blossoming people who were probably so excited for Santa.

All of those adults, with pasts, presents, futures, people who loved them, people they loved.

And the shooter, too. He was somebody’s baby, too.

We forget that. We forget that we all begin, and are at base, fragile and temporary. But this reminds us like an electric shock, a punch to the ribs. And as we pull those we love closer, tighter, we look for walls to build, or armor to wear. I wish that even in our fear and sadness we would also remember that we are more alike than we are different. That our duty is to each other. Even if life is scary and unfair. Because it is both.

We are all somebody’s baby.

*****

George was right. And it bears repeating: so much of life is completely beyond our control.

But the rest. We get to do our best with the rest. Even when our hearts are breaking, even when our worlds are crumbling, even when we are knocked off our balance on that lip.

Hug your babies a little bit tighter tonight. And by “your babies,” I mean all of us, each of us. Because that is how we do our best with the rest.

Balanced…

I’ve been trying to write this post for a month now.  It just wasn’t happening.  I couldn’t condense the largeness of my feelings and thoughts on the matter, so I ended up rambling in circles to myself.  It wasn’t pretty. Until…

A Salon.com article (shared by an acquaintance on FaceBook) did the condensing for me. The article, entitled “Someone to hold me” written by Emily Rapp, is too big for me to comment on in its entirety here and I’m not sure how much I’ve actually digested yet.  But it was good and vast and interesting.  You should read it. 

Here’s the a-ha line…

Being a mother to Ronan has taught me that to live authentically means always to balance on the lip of loss; there is no other way.

THAT, my friends, is what I’ve been trying to say.

I try to be accepting and grateful for my luck.  Goodness.  This life is a good one, a rich one. And sometimes, just sometimes, when life is meandering along, and I’m taking time to recognize my great gratitude to the universe for this lovely little life I hear a little voice.  The little voice reminds me of that balance.

The little voice whispers about accidents, illnesses, deaths.  The little voice mocks my luck, and my easy, blessed life. The little voice taunts me, dares me to have a third child, dares me to take my healthy children and family for granted.  The little voice threatens me with the randomness of the universe, the unfairness.  The little voice says, “Just wait.”  It dares me to forget, just for a second, how good I really have it.

Sometimes as I endeavor to live authentically (or to even figure out what that really means), I hear that little voice, and I stand on that lip, that precipice, and feel my position is so precarious that I need to hold my breath, to stay still, to not even dare to whisper my thanks out loud, for fear I will upset the balance.  But I’ve come to realize that to be paralyzed on that lip, is different from balancing on that lip.

Balance – a word that, for me, evokes grace, gracefulness, strength, resilience, power and compromise – is the goal.  And that is what I will work on.