Tag Archives: gratitude

Today’s highlight

Today we got a thank-you note in the mail from some friends in the DC area who recently had a baby after over four years of infertility. She was born about two months ago, and I made her a multicolored chambered nautilus knitted toy. We were supposed to meet up with the friends when we went on our DC trip, but the day care crud our niece passed along while we were there was bad enough that we decided not to subject our friend’s month-old baby to it, and we skyped with them instead.

The thank-you note said, simply, ” Dear (me) and (Dan), Thank you for the toy you sent us for (daughter). I’m sure it will make a great toy once she discovers toys! Thanks again, (her) and (him)”

I laughed out loud for several minutes. I make a lot of knitted items for other people’s babies, and I don’t often get actual thank-you notes for them. Getting one for this gift made my day. And I do hope that once the baby discovers toys, she’ll love the nautilus. I mean, who wouldn’t, right?

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Glimpses of the future

It was after the appetizers and the wine, the beer and the freshly-baked focaccia. We’d had a delicious pasta and chicken dish, and joked and laughed. The cat had established Dan as her new best friend, monkey tail falling over her back, claws in his leg. My belly was full along with my heart, because I was with people, actual human beings, and I was having a great evening.

We cleared away the remnants of the meal; the bread basket, the pasta bowl, the spice grinders. Pumpkin cookies found their way to the table. I got up to refill my water glass. “So I think it’s time,” she said. He brought out the basket filled with thousands of dollars worth of medications, wipes, needles, syringes. She showed us the photo she’d taken of when the box had arrived, and she’d been blown away at how many things were necessary. He did the required prepwork in the kitchen, with some of the things that had to be kept in the refrigerator or mixed with water.

I watched my friend with fascination as she described a technique she’d tried, and watched Dan’s face fall. Her husband came back in the room with the shot ready to go. She lifted her shirt, showing the little bruise from the experiment, and I made myself watch as she pushed the needle into the skin, the little bit of fat near her belly button, and the plunger forced the liquid inside.

As dinner had been cooking and she’d been doing last minute prepwork on the meal, she’d described to me the protocol the doctors had decided upon. Lupron for now, and to finish the course of birth control pills. Next week, a baseline ultrasound to establish what her ovaries look like, quiescent, before the stims and the other things that will culminate in three ultrasounds during Thanksgiving week and, if all goes well, retrieval two days later. I thought about what the Thanksgiving meal will be like for them, as her ovaries ripen with (one hopes) no more than twenty or so eggs, and a trigger shot to come the next day. Something to be thankful for. Something to be hopeful about. I’ll be thinking of them, that day, when all will be a promise. If everything goes as hoped, they’ll have a baby by September next year.

If everything goes as hoped, we’ll have a baby someday. It will be Dan doing the shot prepwork, and me pushing the needle into the fat by my belly button. I’ll have bruises, and a giant basket of expensive potions designed to make my body overproduce eggs that we hope will culminate in some embryos, at least one of which we hope will culminate in a baby. I was honored that our friends let us watch the scene that we’ll have to mimic in order to someday be parents ourselves. It’s one thing to understand something intellectually. It’s another to have it actually happening in front of you. Tonight, I am thankful that our friends shared their experience with us.

The best thing that happened to me all week

I’d walked to the store in the rain, the last ten dollars from my 9/10/11 wedding earnings in my pocket, the other pocket full of change just in case. Some juicy bits of story were piped into my ears via ipod, and I’d added a couple of extra loops to the walk, partly because I was cold and wanted to warm up, and partly because I wanted the extra distance. I’d brought a plastic grocery bag; it was sticking out of the pocket of my bright red oversized hooded sweatshirt.

Sweet potatoes, and maybe some pecans. I’d check the prices when I got there; see if it was worth my while to bother buying them at the small town grocery store, or if I should just wait until tomorrow when we do the errands we always do on the weekend when Dan’s home with the car. The $1.50/pound honeycrisps were too tempting to pass up; two of those found their way into my basket. I grabbed three sweet potatoes that looked about the right size and shape for what I needed, and looked at the holiday baking displays but decided $9 was too much to pay for twelve ounces of pecans. Mozzarella, I remembered, and made my way around the other side of the store, where I compared prices and decided to buy the ungrated cheese for $3 rather than the grated stuff in a bag for $3.50. I passed by the potato chips, even though my favorite ones were on sale, stopped the audiobook, removed the earbuds.

I got in line behind a guy with 3/4 sleeve tattoos, buying gatorade and candy and bottled water and dinner fixings, pushing a cart with what looked like a baby around 18 months to two years old. The baby grabbed at a display of slim jims, and the tattooed man pushed his son’s hand aside, distracting him with an offering of what to me looked like a baby choker candy. I flashed back to the time when I was eight and my parents had this plastic tube with a tilted bottom, meant to demonstrate what could choke a baby or toddler and what was safe to give them. Not my business, I told myself. Not my business what someone else gives their kid.

“It’s sugarless,” the guy told the cashier, “he’s allergic to sugar.” “What a shame,” she told him. “He’s allergic to all kinds of stuff,” the man continued. “We had him down at UCSF for a week doing tests, and they finally determined he was allergic to sugar, wheat, just about anything a little kid likes to eat.” They continued to chat about his son’s allergies, while the cashier bagged his purchases and the little boy begged for another sugarless candy.

It was my turn, so I pulled out the bag I’d brought and the sweet potatoes, apples, and mozzarella made it into my bag. I handed the cashier one of the fives and some of the change from my pocket; under $7 wasn’t bad for everything I’d bought. Not bad for that store, anyway. I walked toward the exit, fumbling in my pocket a bit to restart my audio book. Then, I realized my other five dollar bill wasn’t there.

The last five dollar from all that work I’d done – gone. I turned on my heel, pressed pause on the ipod, and headed back into the store to the line where I’d checked out. “Did anyone find a five dollar bill? I dropped one somewhere,” I told the cashier. “Nope, haven’t seen it,” she said. I worked my way quickly but methodically through the store, retracing my steps, but found nothing on the floor save an old, crumpled receipt. My heart sank. Five dollars isn’t an insignificant amount of money to lose, for me, at this point in my life. The cashier must have gone on a break, because I saw her in a different part of the store on my way out. “I didn’t find it,” I told her. “Check at the service desk,” she said. “Maybe someone turned it in.”

Would someone really have turned in a found five dollar bill? It’s not a lot of money, not like a $20. But it’s not as small as a dollar, or change. Lots of people would probably just pocket it, I thought, though if I found a $5 in a grocery store I’d certainly turn it in. A tiny seed of hope began to grow in my chest. The girl behind the customer service desk, where they also sell the cigarettes and rent the videos, turned to me from talking to her coworker and asked if she could help me. “Did anyone turn in a five dollar bill?” I asked. “I dropped one.”

A big grin cracked her face. “Yes, as a matter of fact, we had one turned in just a few minutes ago,” she replied. A rush of relief flooded over me. I silently thanked whoever that had been, whoever had been honest enough or not needed the $5 more than I did, or maybe they did but weren’t the sort of person to pocket it. $5 doesn’t seem like a lot, but to me it was. It was the last money I’d earned in months, the last cash in my pocket until Dan came home for the weekend and I could use the ATM card again. $5 could feed me for a couple of meals, if necessary.

I remembered the time I was walking down the street in Berkeley, not long after I’d been hired at what I thought was my dream job. I had five dollars in my pocket and one of the regular beggars, the blind one who used the sidewalk as his toilet, asked me for change. I gave him the five and remembered how important that was to me, that I could spare a whole five dollars for the first time in my life. And here I was, more than ten years later, grateful that some stranger in the grocery store had done something similar for me. Funny how roles can reverse.

More than enough

There’s too much I’m thankful for this year to write it all out, but at this very moment I’m thankful for all the good food and beverages I got to consume today, and that now I’m sitting on my couch in my PJs with two healthy cats and a healthy husband nearby.