Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

day #20 of Thanksgiving month

image It’s an older picture, but still appropriate for today’s post. Because here’s my gratitude today: my grandson recognizes me!

Before you think I’ve totally lost my marbles, let me explain. My grandson is only 18 months old next week. I haven’t seen him f2f for the past 4 months. And despite great love on my part, I’m under no delusions as to the memory of babies. Each day for a little one is full of new experiences. New learning. New ‘data.’ Why would he remember me?

So when we FaceTimed the other day, & Trin did the head waggle that we always did together (almost from the moment he could hold up his beautiful head), my heart exploded. Think: fireworks! Incandescence! GREAT gratitude. I had to remind myself to breathe… And then ask his father — does he do this for all FaceTime?

And no, his father assured me; he does not. It’s a Trin & GG kind of thing. But still — it’s also an everyday kind of thing. Most grandchildren do learn to recognize their grandmothers. It just takes more time together, I thought, than Trin & I have had. Still, if love & thought count, there is not a day I don’t think of that boy. Think of him running — he was still learning to walk when I took this picture. Think of him identifying pictures in his books with his daddy, my elder son. Think of him making goofy faces at me on FaceTime that I’m quite happy to make back to him.

I have nooo pride (or shame!) when it comes to playing w/ my grandson.

Who does?? And what does it matter if I look like a ditzy blonde (something I’m usually not at all fond of resembling) when I make faces and wiggle my head back & forth like a Valley Girl? Trin loves it, and that’s all that matters.

Today, my heart is very happy. Despite 4 months and hundreds of miles, my grandson remembers me! And is happy to see me. What can possibly more enchanting than that?

 

day #17 of Thanksgiving: drive, she said

via wikicommons

via wikicommons

Americans take our ability to drive ourselves wherever for granted. I’m probably the only person I know who didn’t drive until in my 20s. Yes, I ‘learned’ to drive. Took the test at 16 (the legal age when I was a kid), and passed. But I ONLY passed because the guy testing felt sorry for me. Honest. I ran over the curb, totally hosed my 3-point turn-around, and more.

My mother had an old Chevy Corvair that you had to drive w/ the windows down because it leaked gas fumes back into the car. So I drove that a bit. Then we went back overseas, where only the very wealthy have cars. Public transportation is the name of the get-around game.

I LVE public transportation!

Not simply because I grew up with it, taking cheap buses (a nickel to go anywhere) or almost as cheap cyclos and samlors to get wherever. But because it’s so…communal. :) You meet folks, visit. You can look out the window. You can even sleep! For years, I took a bus to work 90 miles away. It was WONDERFUL. I made friends I will never forget. And learned things from people I never would have met otherwise. All that said, America is still a driver’s country.

via wikipedia

via wikipedia

And today? My beloved rejoined the drivers! Whoohoo!

This is a BIG everyday gratitude. Not only because I’m not required to do all the errands (that wasn’t always fun, just FYI…), but also because he LIKES driving. And he does NOT like being dependent. Who does?

One of the hardest things about aging parents, I know from experience, is taking away the keys. Because in this country, it pretty much condemns the non-driver to dependence. Unless s/he lives in one of the few good public transport hubs: Boston, Portland, NY. Otherwise? It’s hard. Yes, we have Uber now. But it’s not the same as having your own car. And it requires ca$h when perhaps you don’t have much.

So today I am very grateful for a seemingly small thing: my beloved can drive himself to his physical therapy appointment. Not, perhaps, all that earth-shaking. Until you look beneath the surface, as I’m finding w/ all of my seemingly ordinary gratitudes: he’s healing! He’s regaining mobility! Which is perhaps the biggest gratitude I have every day: my beloved is getting well. The driving? It’s just the confirmation we both need. :)

day of Thanksgiving #16: tech support (and privilege)

the author's

the author’s

My computer has been wonky for weeks. By wonky, read: slooow, hanging, programs crashing. A pain, in other words.

Enter tech support, AKA my beloved. Who often can merely walk into the room and broken electronics start working. I’m NOT kidding. He has whatever the electronics equivalent of a green thumb is. I’m good with plants, but he’s GREAT w/ tech.

So today, my everyday gratitude (which I try NOT to take for granted!) is that he’s made my computer work more smoothly! As he notes, he just bought me time. But right before the holidays is not the best time to buy a computer. Nor is right after sporting us to two new iPads. ;)

As I’ve listed these past days of gratitude, I’ve noticed a strong thread of connection: I am so very privileged. I’m grateful for the room to have a guest room, the income to have a computer, the extra income to have an iPad on top of that! My privileges include a car that runs safely, a home in a pleasant neighbourhood, money for healthy food and insurances and prescriptions to keep me well.

the author's

the author’s

It’s a sobering thought, that what I think of as everyday pieces of my ordinary life aren’t. That the undercurrent of my life is so much good fortune. ‘Privilege,’ the word of the times is. And I have many. Yesterday’s headband purchases, for instance. Not one, but FOUR headbands (they came in a packet). Do I need four headbands? Especially given, as my beloved noted, that I have SEVERAL already. And of course the answer is no, I do not. Which makes them frivolous privileges.

At any rate, I’m working (hard) to be more observant of the ways in which my life is enriched by so many things I often don’t notice.

But my beloved? Spending an entire morning fixing my computer I depend on? That I see quite clearly is a gift. And one for which I’m exceptionally grateful for, this month of listing gratitudes.

day of Thanksgiving #15

via wikipedia

via wikipedia

Central heat. That’s today’s gratitude. Now, some folks may think that’s NOT an everyday kind of thing to be grateful for. But that’s my point — we use it every day in winter (those of us who are lucky enough to have it), and pretty much take it for granted. We set the thermostat — the fancy ones will even split the day for you — and forget about it.

Except that tomorrow it’s supposed to be 32 degrees for a HIGH. And 24 for the low. In case you’re a northener, and think that’s balmy, remember: in Oklahoma a single snowflake can cause a traffic accident…

So as I put away the groceries bought in anticipation of the hilly driveway being sheet ice (far more common than snow, in Oklahoma), I’m contemplating how lucky I am that I don’t live in my grandmother’s old sieve of a house. Where the window sills weren’t square, and the icy tendrils of winter crept in to catch you under the thin covers. Where the floor, and toilet seat were so freezing cold you flat didn’t put your tender toes on the one to walk to the other. At least not until the furnace was high again.

My life today is very different from when I was a child, and even more different from those of my elders. I have indoor plumbing, w/ running (HOT!) water. And that blessed engineering miracle: central heat. No matter how nostalgic people wax about standing over the furnace to warm up, let me tell you: central heat knocks that ball out of the park.

Look around you — it’s not a case of ‘it could be so much worse.’ Yes, I do that sometimes. But it always feels phony. Of COURSE it could get worse! Instead, look at what you have, gifts you perhaps have stopped noticing. Like… central heat. :) It’s a great joy to fall back in love with what is right before us. I recommend it.

Previous Posts

day #20 of Thanksgiving month
 It's an older picture, but still appropriate for today's post. Because here's my gratitude today: my grandson recognizes me! Before you think I've totally lost my marbles, let me explain. My grandson is only 18 months old next week. I haven't seen him f2f for the past 4 months. And despite grea

posted 7:04:57pm Nov. 20, 2014 | read full post »

day #17 of Thanksgiving: drive, she said
Americans take our ability to drive ourselves wherever for granted. I'm probably the only person I know who didn't drive until in my 20s. Yes, I 'learned' to drive. Took the test at 16 (the legal age when I was

posted 5:32:53pm Nov. 17, 2014 | read full post »

day of Thanksgiving #16: tech support (and privilege)
My computer has been wonky for weeks. By wonky, read: slooow, hanging, programs crashing. A pain, in other words. Enter tech support, AKA my beloved. Who often can merely walk into the room and broken electroni

posted 4:14:28pm Nov. 16, 2014 | read full post »

day of Thanksgiving #15
Central heat. That's today's gratitude. Now, some folks may think that's NOT an everyday kind of thing to be grateful for. But that's my point -- we use it every day in winter (those of us who are lucky enough to

posted 7:29:28pm Nov. 15, 2014 | read full post »

day of Thanksgiving lucky number 13: broccoli (and Aunt Bonnie)
I owe today to my Great-Aunt Bonnie. While she didn't exactly teach me to cook, she certainly had a big part in teaching me to love food. I can't remember a single meal she prepared (and there were many) that I di

posted 9:55:17pm Nov. 13, 2014 | read full post »


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