In my relatively short (ahem) lifetime, I have had the privilege to witness extraordinary things. When asked to reflect upon seven of the greatest wonders I have personally experienced, two immediately came to mind: the birth of boy child # 1 and the birth of boy child # 2. The first time I gave birth was exciting, painful, and, let’s be honest, surprising. See my post https://sunshineandsalad.wordpress.com/2011/10/10/boys-rock for the whole story.
1. Cradling our swaddled infant for the first time nearly took my breath away, as his sleepy eyes looked deeply into my own. It’s hard to believe the preschooler running around today could possibly ever have been that small.
2. The second time I gave birth was equally thrilling as we prepared to meet M’s baby brother. He arrived quicker and with less trouble than my eldest, and I remember feeling somewhat astonished when the delivery was over. My second life’s greatest wonder is snuggling with the two boys together on the hospital bed, one brown eyed, one blue eyed. Both beautiful.
That leaves me five to go. In no particular order,
3. Witnessing the equinox at the ruins of Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico. We traveled by bus to join throngs of people waiting patiently to watch the great pyramid transform itself at sunset when the image of a snake descended the north staircase of El Castillo. This phenomenon of light is a mystery. Even more fascinating were the thousands of men and women dressed in white who circled round the pyramid, stretching out their arms to receive the special energy they believe is present on that day.
4. Helping to pluck a newly slaughtered chicken in a rural village on a Caribbean island with my Peace Corps family. This wasn’t so much a wonder, really, but it was the moment when I realized the critical need to understand where our food comes from and the importance of shaping and strengthening healthy, just and sustainable food systems. It is also when I quit being a vegetarian after thirteen meat free years.
5. Having to gently decline a humble woman’s request that I take her baby home with me to the United States, while her other children gathered round, barefoot, hungry. This is also not a greatest wonder, but was a powerful and profoundly sad experience that made me realize just how good I have it, and that I must never forget it.
6. Completing a marathon, several half marathons, and innumerable short training runs. They are all wonders! I love running and I love watching other people run. I love watching my boys run. I love the way running is unpredictable. It hurts, or it doesn’t. It brings great joy to my life and works better than an antidepressant.
7. And finally. My seventh greatest wonder is getting out of bed in the morning after experiencing profound loss. Laughing in the midst of tears. Embracing my incredible family and friends in warmth and compassion and love while ever conscious that one member is no longer present. Life is in itself a wonder. Get out there and enjoy it.
This post was written in response to a prompt by Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop (http://www.mamakatslosinit.com/).