April 21, 2010

The Great Big Little Things that Bring Me Joy: Part One

When I started this blog, I am not sure I could put my motivation into words.

I was hurting.

The person I had loved since I was 18 had just .... left.

I didn't know what in the h-e-double-l to do.

I sure didn't want to spend money on a counselor when all of that money could be going for speech and behavioral therapy for my son, who has autism. Looking back, I wish I would have sought a professional therapist for myself soon after my husband left because maybe, just maybe, a good counselor would have helped me find a faster, more direct route to peace--not to say that my life currently is peaceful, but the concept is relative, right?

Live and learn.

Writing was my therapy last winter. I couldn't make sense of what had happened in my life. I couldn't even begin to process all the thoughts, all the fears, all the hurt.

And so I wrote.

Here I am, still writing, still seeking the therapeutic value to organizing the thoughts swirling in my head.

But I write for other reasons, too.

I want to have a record of this time in my life, both for myself and for my children.

I want to record the good moments: all the wonderful people who are making me laugh, the special days of my children, the tiny moments when I reflect on just how much I have to be grateful for.

This blog is a gift to myself -- to the person I am in 10, 20, 30 years, if I am lucky enough to live out all those days.

So, I think it is time I think of that woman, the future me, and challenge myself to give her something worth reading. For the next two weeks, I promise to post daily about something that makes me happy. It might be just a sentence or two about something my daughter has said to me. It might be something that requries much more explanation. It might even be a part of my past, a memory that still brings happiness to my life each time I think of it.

It might not sound like much of a challenge to you guys. But my children will be away from me for a week, starting Friday, and so .... therein lies the challenge.

I miss them so very much when they are away.

For lack of a better description, it is as if I am missing a part of myself. As if I am walking miles without shoes, breathing with just one lung, driving down a highway in a foreign land with absolutely no idea which way to go.

Sappy, yes. But how else can I describe it? How can I describe being without these beautiful children, the two little people at the center of my life?

There is no way to describe it. It just hurts.

But I can live through it, just as I have lived through some very, very dark days.

And not only can I live through it, I can have some serious fun--although my children never, not even for a moment, leave my thoughts.

So, there is my challenge, and I hope I don't have to think too hard to come up with 14 things that make me truly happy.

I will start right now.

I love how my son responds to water. He reminds me of the otters at our local zoo, spinning in the water, zipping along as if they have little engines in their bellies, turning and twisting, diving to the bottom and then shooting up like cannons.

He is that relaxed in the water and always has been. He never fought it. He taught himself to swim. He taught himself to flip from his side to his back, to swim to the bottom of the pool and retrieve the diving sticks.

He should have been born with gills.

His sister, my absolutely amazing daughter, does not have that same natural ability in the water. But, at just four-years-old, she is capable of going pretty much anywhere she wants to go in any pool, even if she does swim vertically! She has lost the fear she once had. She is a vertical fish.

I absolutely adore how my daughter has taken on a love for swimming because it is her brother's greatest love.

Would she have had fun at a pool at the age of four even if she did not have Daniel for a brother? Sure.

I can tell you, though, that the water was not a natural love for my daughter like it was for my son. I can still picture the two-year-old who screamed about getting splahed, who paraded around the pool with a popsicle like she was about to pose for cover shots.

But hundreds of trips to pools later, my daughter is a swimmer! Just like her brother, she taught herself. She learned to swim because Daniel did it so well and because she wanted to join him, the brother who cannot talk to her or play with her, in something that he loves.

I took them swimming today. And I saw her swim to him and wrap her arms around him in the deep end of the pool. I started to shout cautionary words but waited just a moment. She wrapped her arms around her brother, and he had a brief hesitant look-- a "Can I really stay afloat with my loud-mouth sister hanging on me in this water?" kind of look.

But he did stay afloat. And they both laughed.
Together at the same time.

There is no greater joy in life.
There is no greater happiness.


  1. Simply beautiful
    -- Stephanie in Dallas

  2. LOVE this. What a great idea.

    And I sometimes read my dark blog posts to remind myself how far I've come, and it works every single time.

  3. Oh, ME, I suppose I can say the same thing about myself today compared to, say, 7 or 8 months ago. But, sweet Lord, am I still walking a long, steep path. Hugs to you and the kiddos.