Violet planted these cosmos in May, from seeds she received as a birthday gift.
My decision to minimize my exposure to the news started when Jude was born, just before Hurricane Katrina. One night, while visiting my parents, I saw some footage of that horrible stadium, of rooftops, or diry water and helpless people.
I was almost paralyzed by a weird mix of emotions. I felt grateful that I was holding my newborn son in a clean blanket in a safe house. On the other hand was the intense guilt I experienced when I heard of women desperately seeking clean water with which to mix their babies’ formula. I was conscious of every drop I used to make sure my baby had a warm bath before bedtime, or that his clothes were clean.
I eventually had to stop listening to the radio, because every tragedy fell on my new-mother ears and all I could think about was the mothers out there who had lost their children violently, or helplessly watched them die for want of food or water.
I have spoken to other mothers who have experienced this intensified empathy upon having their own children. Motherhood connects us to the people on this small planet, and encourages us to see, above everything, the humanity of all humans who suffer.
I spoke about this with a friend the other night (I’ve been feeling those mixed emotions about the abundance of fresh food available to my children right now, in the midst of drought and famine in Africa) and she wisely stated that the key is recognising that I am blessed, and being aware of the many blessings bestowed upon my children. I thought of those faraway mothers every time my children splashed in a lake, drank water from the hose, and blew bubbles this summer.
I can’t make sense of why some of us have so much while so many have so little.
Violet and Margot call them bikinis...this is a bikini fight.
So all I can do, today, is be grateful. For the apples and plums we pull from our trees, the zucchinis that reach impossible proportions, the flowers that thrive in our rich soil, and the water that sustains all this abundant life.
What are you grateful for today?