This I Believe

Jane - St. Louis, Missouri
Entered on May 31, 2007

I believe our lives are infused with these ordinary, sacred moments that can transform us, if we dare to look long enough, quietly enough.

When my daughter was born, looking into her eyes was like looking directly into the wisdom of the universe. I was suddenly, overwhelmingly convinced that no world leader who experienced the anxiety, pain and joy of childbirth could ever declare war on anyone.

It was one of those rare, sacred moments — followed immediately by the terrifying realization that my husband and I were now the grown-ups in charge.

I believe in a healthy sense of humor … and being careful what you ask for. This was confirmed as I watched my perfect baby grow into the bright, creative, self-assured, independent daughter I’d prayed for. In short, a very difficult two-year-old.

She finds comfort in the chaotic, wants to be held, but won’t be reigned in. Life with her is predictably unpredictable. It is a dance that began as a battle of wills. After 30 hours of labor, she reluctantly tumbled out grasping the attending doctor’s shirt in her stubborn fist as she dared us, and the world, to take her on.

Nineteen months later, my son slipped into this world with a grin, followed by a piercing wail that lasted for the next five months.

Lucky for us, and him, Jack had a beautiful, beatific smile. This is the child that craves human touch … preferring to sleep next to me or tightly swathed, disdaining plastic pacifiers in favor of his own thumb.

He seeks order, balance, fairness. He would count the stars while Grace would borrow their brilliance for her own design. I’m convinced she soars the cosmos while she sleeps, tossing off covers that restrict her flailing limbs. Jack nestles back into the womb of the earth. He burrows in his sheets, wrapping the blanket securely around until only his round face is visible.

Jack grounds me, reminding me to live in the moment. After my grandmother’s funeral – and the first time that four-year-old had seen so many grown-ups cry – Jack took my mother’s hand and simply said, “Nana, that was very sad.”

Grace dares me to see the possibilities. Recently, as we drove by a run-down house with a yard overgrown with dandelions, she gasped and exclaimed, “Mommy, look at all those wishes.”

I believe with my daughter that dandelions hold hundreds of wishes. I believe you can watch fairies go skipping about on the wind. With her, I see the beauty in the chaos of Van Gogh’s brush strokes, random spills of wildflowers and indiscriminate celestial displays of twinkling light.

I believe with my son that a kiss can fix anything. That there is beauty in order. Rainbows, though unexpected, can be counted on to showcase their colors in the same order every time. There is comfort in the constant.

Ultimately, I believe in the innate ability of the child in all of us to transform a broken world, to restore order.