Lunch with a friend from school. She’s just finished her first novel. She tells me about her book (which sounds great!). I tell her about my experience in the publishing world. We talk about our kids, and the unique challenge of trying to balance writing and mothering. Toward the end of the meal, her eyes water. I don’t know if you know, but I lost my brother recently. He died in his sleep. He was 36. He has two little girls. I write them letters sometimes.
Coffee with a former law firm colleague. She’s started her own lingerie company. She is glowing. Together we ponder the existential uncertainties and rewards of pursuing a creative dream. She tells me her family is originally from Haiti, that when the earthquake happened, she just went. To Haiti. To help. While she was there, she met a woman. A mother. A mother of seven. Six of this women’s children died in the quake, but her youngest survived. He was crushed, severely injured, but alive. My friend said that this woman was so purely grateful that her baby made it.
Another lunch. This time with a bevy of strong and brilliant women. A beautiful woman tells a story in a quiet voice. Her son – who’d never been sick a day in his life – woke up one Monday and went to school. At 4pm that day, this mother learned that her little boy had a rare form of cancer. Stage 4. Across the conference room table, this mother’s eyes – an electric and unforgettable blue – gloss with tears as she tells us how much her boy loved to cook, that he had 26 cooking apps on his iPad. This woman has started a wonderful organization to benefit kids’ cancer and will soon release her second cookie cookbook.
A camp morning. Middle Girl and I wait at the bus stop next to a man in a wheelchair. The M11 arrives. The bus driver lowers the bus, extends the ramp. The man wheels his chair up the ramp, but his foot drags and he can’t make the turn onto the body of the bus. The driver tries to help but it won’t work. Before any of us has a chance to try to help, the man wheels back down that ramp onto the street, and away. Before he’s gone, I hear him say four words into his phone, “I couldn’t do it.”
Focus on what you have now. Not what you once had. Not what you will have.
Now. Today. This moment.
Do you have any perspective-giving stories to share? Are you good at focusing on the good things in your life? Do you get tripped up thinking about the past and the future?