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guardians of a gift

2013 September 20
by Rachel Turiel

 

follow up

The Doctor Is In (unfortunately, the doctor sometimes pinches her patients).

Thank you for all your messages of empathy and support. Col is healing up well. We’ve had the most peaceful week following his accident. Col’s been temporarily forbidden to participate in any actvity that could cause further head trauma because of the teeny tiny issue of subsequent whacks to the head while healing from consussions causing the brain to swell in an instantly fatal fashion. (So, no bike-riding, sports, trampolines, wrestling, walking without ones mother shielding ones body from errant flying objects).

The docs also put the kibosh on any school work that requires deep concentration, while prescribing simple carbs for brain food. Which is to say, Col’s been hanging out on the couch eating buttered bagels while I read him Ben Franklin’s biography (who incidentally only had two years of schooling between the ages of 10 and 12 before becoming a world-renowned writer, inventor and peace-treatying statesman).

cherish

One comment from my last post, from my wise internet-sister Lacey Jean, flew express delivery right to my heart. “These children we are guardians of are a gift. A treasure. Each day, each hug is a present. These people we share life with, our partners and spouses, they are also a gift. Life is a gift. It is not something we get to own or have a right to.”

I’ve been thinking about this as I rub arnica oil over Col’s eight gnarly head-stitches, as my children climb into my bed at too early thirty every morning. These children we are guardians of are a gift. This is the truthiest prayer-poem of parenting I know.

This is not to say that we’re supposed to enjoy every moment  – that is a farce devised by well-meaning grandmotherly types who simply don’t remember what it’s like to watch your child enact the play Sisyphean Jewelry Making, in which your daughter threads miniscule beads onto a nearly invisible wire only to have the entire string of beads crash to the ground just before it’s finished, every single time.

hugs

But to remember that we are guardians of gifts? That is like stepping on the true Wheel of Fortune, in which each turn increases the only real wealth we’ll ever have. It’s the old physics equation: cherishing others → gratitude → generosity →happiness → cherishing others. Cherishing others pries that crazy heart muscle open because to love others (as) unconditionally (as possible) is our gift. It’s like my neighbor Frankie says, gratefully, when he’s got no less than 3 of his grandchildren ransacking his house, “I get them every afternoon!” When my heart is open, all the slights and slings of the world have a little more space to land, perhaps even getting lost underneath the way my kids have been saying lately, “if it’s not a hassle, Mama, could you get me an apple with peanut butter?”

The fact that life is not something we get to own or have a right to is tops on my To Remember Daily list. When I keep this information close, like a note in my back pocket, it helps me remember that most of my problems are what real problems eat for breakfast. Because even as my children are entering the Olympic Pushing The Envelope competition, or leaving the day’s ten costume changes on the floor like a trail of bread crumbs in case they ever lose their way back to the dress-up box, or are squabbling mightily over whether today is actually September 20th as they did this morning, this is the small stuff.

What rises like cream to the top of every day is the luckiness of this life. And now these two great gifts are asking me to make breakfast if it’s not too much of a hassle.

Have the lovliest of weekends,

Rachel

cherish2

 

Related posts:

Advice to new moms: get thee a Mama Tribe
the birthday gift
All I want for Christmas


20 Responses leave one →
  1. September 20, 2013

    Amen! This is beautiful and such an important reminder for all of us!

  2. Jan Turiel permalink
    September 20, 2013

    Oh my! Where have I been? I’m so sorry about Col’s mishap and am sooooooo happy that he is mending well. It has been a crazy week (like finding out that we need a new furnace crazy!) and I have been a little checked out. Hugs to you all!

    Aunt Jan

  3. Andrea permalink
    September 20, 2013

    Amen

  4. dale_in_denver permalink
    September 20, 2013

    Yep. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. September 20, 2013

    So glad to hear Col is on the mend. He’s probably going nuts with the inactivity. Soon, you will be too. ;-)

    My sweet husband and I, having found each other later in our lives, never ever forget that each day together is a precious gift.

  6. September 20, 2013

    Best Line: “…most of my problems are what real problems eat for breakfast.”

    I came home from teaching yesterday where I worked with kids who are hungry–really hungry, need to be bathed, have never been read to, etc, and I thought about how lucky my girls are. And I am.

    Great post!
    T

  7. Ellie permalink
    September 20, 2013

    You have such a gift with words, Rachel. This just made my day:
    “This is not to say that we’re supposed to enjoy every moment – that is a farce devised by well-meaning grandmotherly types who simply don’t remember what it’s like to watch your child enact the play Sisyphean Jewelry Making, in which your daughter threads miniscule beads onto a nearly invisible wire only to have the entire string of beads crash to the ground just before it’s finished, every single time.”

  8. Laura Matthews permalink
    September 20, 2013

    Of all the homes to convalesce, I would like to be at yours! Heal well Col!

  9. September 20, 2013

    Oh my goodness, Rachel. I just caught up on what happened to Col. So many blessings that he is okay. And this post is just beautiful. xo, K

  10. September 20, 2013

    Your children are so beautiful, Rachel. I love how obvious it is that Col possess a gentle strength. A wise and kind spirit. Rose; a vibrant, vivacious whirlwind. Full of raging rivers and brilliant sunsets. Both passionate and full of life, translating it in different ways. I love watching this life, this garden, you have cultivated to allow your little sprouts the best chance to grow and flourish. I adore your family, from far away, having never met, but I so appreciate the life you live.

  11. September 20, 2013

    Dreamy writing as usual. And just so damned true. None of us deserve any of this. AND we have it. That, as my dearest grandmother DeeDee used to say is a Grace Gift.

  12. Kelsey permalink
    September 20, 2013

    Beautiful. Such a gift…all of it.

  13. Amy Carney permalink
    September 21, 2013

    I love this post…..you have such a way with words!

  14. Amy Morrison permalink
    September 21, 2013

    love your reminders.

  15. Caraway permalink
    September 21, 2013

    Hi Rachel,
    Thank you for this!!
    Thank you, thank you.
    Love,
    Caraway

  16. September 22, 2013

    I needed to hear that tonight. Thanks, sister!

  17. Erin permalink
    September 22, 2013

    So true. Here are two more – The Gift of an Ordinary Day (gets me every time):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olSyCLJU3O0

    and my favorite quote ever, from Doctor Zhivago:

    For life, too, is only an instant,
    Only the dissolving of ourselves
    In the selves of all others
    As if bestowing a gift.

  18. Emmanuelle permalink
    September 23, 2013

    These pictures of Col and Rose makes me feel even more grateful than usual of their being who they are, and of the way you share their uniqueness with us. I carry you call in my heart :o)
    xx

    • Emmanuelle permalink
      September 23, 2013

      This should read “I carry you all in my heart”… although “call” makes sense somehow (and rhymes with Col :o)

  19. October 2, 2013

    so glad he is doing okay xxx

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