Sometimes I forget how blessed I am because my body is always feeling pain. However, I was reminded of my blessings yesterday when my cousin brought her three children to see me because I was hurting too much to go to her home to visit for a few days. I was so thrilled to see the children, especially the new baby who I watched come into the world thirteen days ago. The two older children burst into my home with so much life energy when I opened the door that they almost knocked me off my feet. They were so happy to see me it filled my heart. They greeted me with hugs, huge smiles, and the bright sounds of honest childhood laughter that hides nothing, as they asked me in turns to help them unzip jackets and remove shoes.
The new baby was napping in his carrier seat under soft, warm blankets. He was quiet and unmoving; until his mother gave me the go ahead to disturb his peace, and I took him out of his cozy corner of the world. When I picked him up he wiggled in my arms like a worm – he might have gained the misfortune of me using the word ‘worm’ as an endearment toward him for the rest of his life. He finally settled in my arms, almost weightless – he weighs just seven pounds now – and slid back into sleep as I held him against my chest. I had him in my arms or laying in my lap for most of the afternoon, with the only exception being when he woke up in search of his mother’s breast. It was a wonderful feeling.
I occupied the older children with a jumbo box of crayons, paper, and a children’s television channel that made their mother cringe. I’ve never been a parent so I don’t mind a few hours of children’s shows full of mindless rhyming songs and lessons on counting and primary colours. They were also easy to please with snacks that were thankfully lacking in sugar – bowls full of Cheerios™, sliced vegetables, and orange juice. What I couldn’t provide, they filled in with their imaginations. When they went home, my place was loudly quiet and still, but I felt full. I felt happy.
Today, I’m still feeling wisps of that happiness. But as I sat down to write, I realized I haven’t written anything in my art/gratitude journal in a few weeks. Instead of writing a new entry, I decided to flip through the pages of things I wrote about being grateful for in recent months. On the bottom of the page from my second entry back in April, I wrote a poem. That’s what I’m grateful for today. Not that specific poem; I’m grateful that I started writing again. Whether here or in that journal, writing is making my life with chronic pain a little easier to bear and helping me to make room for other things, happy things, in my life.
Still, sometimes I forget. What I’m hoping is that in the future I work at having more days like today where I look for ways to hold on to the joy and happiness that my cousin’s children brought to life in me yesterday.