I had a whole other post I’ve been working on about purpose and gratitude. I’ll definitely get to finishing up that one, but not tonight. I actually had a kind of hard day today. You know the story – who doesn’t? I woke up all during the night last night, my writing this morning felt forced, I let my job get to me, and I backed over the daggone mail box. I’m pretty sure I hit the gas instead of the brake and broke the post, the box…all of it. Oh, and did I mention I’m feeling particularly misunderstood lately? I promise I will spare you that self-indulgent post!
I am not one to let a day get the better of me and usually am pretty insistent about making sure that if there’s a tally to be kept, the goods out weigh the bads. Most days – every day, really, even today – the goods really do out weigh the bads by far. Some days just take the blue bird out of me.
So, I was sitting on my daughter’s bed talking to her and thinking of all the other things I need to get done with what is left of my no good, horrible day.
“Can I show you something?” she asked me. She opened an exquisite book of horse breeds to the page of dutch drafts. “I want one of these. Maybe, that’s what I’ll do. Conserve the breed.”
Could you have resisted an invitation to talk about draft horses? Not me.
“Look at ’em. So stocky; so sturdy. Oh, I just love dutch drafts!” She let herself dream a little before she turned the book around for me to see. (She was reading to me! And, this is only one of the many things I love about having a teen ager.)
She’s sixteen and watching her touch the pages of this book and speak so tenderly about those big old foals made me remember who I am and why I am here. Some folks have a grand purpose – to lead a nation, to care for an old tree, to keep the story of a people alive. My grand purpose – I have known since way before she was born – is to be her mom. Not a mom; her mom.
“I can tell you’re stressed. You need to write; let’s play exquisite corpse.” She was making me play games and think about horses!
Exquisite corpse is a poetry game that she and I play often. When we wrote an essay together for Our White House: Looking In Looking Out, we used an exquisite corpse poem that we wrote together. That’s what we did tonight. We talked about conserving horse breeds and wrote poetry about dogs and about each other.
Here’s our poem about each other:
Have we been bound a thousand years or more?
Traveling through, carrying on, sharing a heavy load,
laughing together, watching buffleheads play.
Burdens are lifted, hearts are calmed and a
dream or two spoken aloud and so made real,
made alive by the dreaming and the sharing.
Brought closer together and united by trials
stand strong together, will do forever.
So. I reckon this was a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day. And, a good lesson in purpose and gratitude after all.