When I was a child, I used to explore in the forest. Sometimes, I would run across a car with smashed windows. I would pick up the little pieces and keep them in my pockets like treasure. They were treasure to me. Earlier this week, I took the picture above in a parking lot where some poor soul’s window had been smashed. I couldn’t help but admire them. These bits of glass are still beautiful to me. Shattered. Broken. Beautiful.
Life brings many shattered moments but also some that are just pure grace. My 10 year-old and I often go to a local coffee shop before school. We play writing games, make up games with their backgammon board (since we don’t know that game), chat and just generally give our full attention to one another. No electronics, just two girls and lots of love and imagination. Today,on the way in, she said, “I love my life. There are things I would change but mostly, I think I’m really lucky.” I agreed.
As we were leaving, she put her hand in mine and said with a smile, “I feel special. I always feel so special when I’m with you.’ I took her face in my hands, looked in her eyes and said, “You are special. I feel special with you too, sweetheart. Thanks for playing with me. I appreciate how much we genuinely enjoy each other’s company.”
Later in the day, I read this bit of memoir from Bill Murray and it hit my heart so hard. I felt a deep, sorrowful sort of gratitude for life. For all the hardship and pain, for the moments that have shattered me into fragments and for the people that have helped me to make a new mosaic from my former self.
I recently had a horrible dream in which I was in a hospital to have my legs amputated. I was with my girls in a hospital room just before the surgery and asked my girls if they would tickle my feet. I said, “I know I won’t be able to ever feel this again. I don’t want to forget.” While the dream is terrible, I took it as a reminder to be grateful for everything.
(Life is precious.)
I wrote this poem earlier this year for a performance poetry class. It helps me remember.
with a blush of sunburn
(and wrestling in the grass)
I am back of dirt-bike riding
my hands around his waist.
I am pink cotton candy butterfly kisses
pillow forts and sleepovers
I am digging a hole to China
in the back yard
with a spoon.
I am shattered window glass diamonds
collected in my pockets from a lost car
found in the woods.
I am capturing bees and snakes in jars
and feeding them bits of sandwich
before setting them free.
I am bare-bottomed running in ocean waves
with trilling laughter.
I am singsong playground K-I-S-S-I-N-G
I am a diary
with the key
stored in the lock.