My mother was a published author before I was born. Sometimes I wonder, if that’s what shaped me, in her womb. I wonder if that’s what gave me such an expectation that I should be set apart, such irrational belief that I should be in the limelight.
But then I trot around the Internet on a weekday morning and I’m like…naahhh…we’re all like that.
By the time I was seven I was fully convinced I was going to be a child MD. When I decided to drop science in favor of Arts and Entertainment, it was only for another direction in which to carry my grandeur. I didn’t have the path all figured out, but I knew it was going to be good.
Thank God I was really, really wrong.
Here’s the best I can do to do justice to the confusion. We are living, walking miracles. We are the real deal, AMAZING. Extraordinary. I mean, just getting to be a leaf would be a miracle. But we have synapses that fire…we have consciousness, eyes to see, and will to change.
Sometimes it seems like so much responsibility. To hold on to all this wonder. This amazingness. So we think we have to do a whole lot of work to match that miracle. Quick! Invent a better mouse trap! End hunger! Save the whales! Get 100,000 shares on FB! COME ON! DO IT NOW! IT’S ALMOST TOO LATE!
So we raise our voices to the cacophony. We run on our treadmills. We pant for breath. We struggle. We grasp at our preciousness until the nails dig into our palms.
It says in the Tao Te Ching that you’ll never go back to the jingling of jade pendants once you’ve heard rocks grow. I have no idea what that means, of course. But I’m pretty sure it’s true.
My littlest girl is two years old. She split her lip yesterday, and fell off the bed this morning. She’s in that time when she opens drawers, sends tweets from my phone, and runs out into traffic. Maybe all at once. I’m lucky if I can write a hundred words with her around, let alone my next great opus. I haven’t worn a fancy dress or accepted an award in years. The newspaper doesn’t know my name.
But I have bought moments, with my loss. Moments of attention. The feel of eyelashes on my cheek. The sound of breath between gulps of laughter. The slow/fast miracle of language acquisition, the reading of first words. The calming, rhythmic labor of wood and water.
I’m glad I’m not a big deal anymore. I can sit in my rocking chair and hear rocks grow.