lately, i have been asked variations of one specific question: is there anything i can do?
i have to admit that i am so grateful when someone does ask this because often it means they are putting their own thoughts/need to share a story/need to tell me advice to the side and trying to understand what i need, what we need. and when i hear that question, sometimes the answer simply comes right out of me. and this can mean that the answer is too quick and not quite what the other person wanted to hear. other times i am not honest and just say, "oh we're/i'm okay."
after spending time at the reveal retreat with some beautiful, amazing, strong, brave women and encouraging them to hold the space for one another, for themselves, to ask for what they need, to own the truth that lives inside them, i am pushing myself to show up here and ask you, whomever might be reading this, for what i need.
our daughter ellie jane turned four months old yesterday, and this friday morning, october 8, she will be having open-heart surgery.
this is why so many people have been asking if there is anything we need.
this is why my heart feels like it might break right in two at any moment, and i keep visualizing all the energy and wisdom and knowledge of the women who came before me somehow constantly stitching it together so that i don't simply combust from the fear and can instead be completely present for whatever ellie jane needs.
this is why i am so grateful for the gift that was...that is...eleven amazing women showing up to share in community and truth and love and giving themselves permission to share pieces of who they are and where they stand on their journeys. because, truly, where else would a mama who is me be with her baby girl when we stand facing the scariest, most important day of our lives, than surrounded by eleven other women who have given themselves the gift of revealing the beauty amidst all of the "stuff" that brought them to this moment?
i am simply taken out at the knees by the truth that is the gifts given to one in the midst of the fear and the desperate hope. to be honest, it almost pisses me off because it just never stops...the beauty standing shoulder to shoulder with the shit. how the beauty and the joy and the hope and the truth shift it all.
however, i do not always remember this. nope. i do not always see that beauty. sometimes i am so far under the fear that i am hoping i have the snorkel + mask from our old house on oak road in my pocket so i can somehow breathe as i try to remember which way takes me to the surface.
and so today, i will answer your question, your beautiful question of "is there anything i can do?"
yes, you can do something for me...for us.
you can spend a moment or two thinking about a loved one in your life, someone you want to spend some time with, someone maybe you need to see or talk to. consider asking that loved one to join you in doing something you love. perhaps you will meet a friend for a date or take your son to the park or ask you mother to join you for an afternoon of paints and collage papers or take your daughter and her best friend to the ocean or sit curled up with your cat and have a poetry reading for two or invite your husband on a photography adventure or count the squirrels with your dog or call someone whose voice you need to hear.
then, spend some time thinking about the love that filled the space between you as you connected with one another. maybe this love was apparent, maybe you have to really spend some time being open to finding it in the tiniest sliver of a moment.
you will find the love.
then, maybe you could take a second or two to gather up some of this love and send it ellie's way this friday morning and in the days that follow.
because here is the truth (my truth): i want to one day be able to do these things that you will do. i want to be able to do these things with her...i want her to dip her toes into the ocean and giggle as the sand rushes between her toes. i want to read to her every single mary oliver poem i can find. i want to teach her tree pose and how to braid her hair. i want to hold her hand in mine while her daddy holds her other hand as we walk off a plane in paris. i want to hear her first word and her 100,000th. i want to walk with her through an indiana cornfield. i want to tell her everything i know so her path is always filled with soft light if she chooses to seek it. i want to hear her laugh at yet another of her daddy's silly jokes. i want to sing to her until she joins in. i want to watch her stand tall rooted in her own truth on her path even though her back will often be toward me as she finds her way.
and i know that it is the brave choice to answer, "yes, there is something you can do." i know it is the brave choice to say, "you can be a light on my path so i don't get lost in the darkness. if you really want to help, you can sit inside the love in your world and then, for just a moment or two, shine just a bit of your light this way."
each day this week and the next and the one after that, i am going to push myself to make the brave choice.