This I Believe: We Share

Liz - edina, Minnesota
Entered on March 21, 2009

This I believe: We share both the joys and sorrows of life.

It’s 3 am and the blackness of the room makes it impossible to see her. Gulping noises nudge me back to wakefulness as I am drifting in and out of sleep. The newspaper won’t be here for a couple hours and all is quiet: the room, the baby and my heart. It is then that I feel them… all the mothers that have gone before me and those that will come. This I believe: we share both the joys and sorrows of motherhood.

An elderly woman is swaying back and forth at the revolving door like we did as kids when we were trying to get the timing right to jump rope. I start toward her to help. Just ahead her friend, not too sure of her own footing, steps up. With a big smile, her arm tucked into her friend’s elbow, she says, “Come on Edith. We’ll sink or swim together.” As they shuffle through the doorway, I realize this I believe: we share both the joys and sorrows of friendship and love.

I come across a print by Van Gogh entitled, “First Steps”. A child is trying to walk from her mother to her father with arms outstretched. I’ve stumbled across Van Gogh’s print at a time in my life when I’ve been taking many first steps myself. I toddled into marriage; motherhood, teaching, and the heavy realization of my own responsibility in what I choose bring to this short life. Our youngest child at the time was struggling to get centered on her own feet, so this image touched me, but it was more than that. Not long before our daughter began her trek around the coffee table, I became more aware of my own journey through this life. It is this innate and steady desire to discover a path for ourselves, that I can’t help but see in every single wavy step my daughter takes. Every morning, while looking for a coffee table to steady myself, I take my first step again. This I believe: we share both the joys and sorrows of finding our own way.

My son and I are sitting at the base of a magnificent fountain. We watch for a full twenty minutes without a word passing between us. I stand to go and his chubby little hand reaches up to pull me back to the ground with him. “Mommy, why is it so easy to touch the ground, but so hard to touch the sky?” He doesn’t yet see that fuzzy space, the horizon, where the ground and the sky overlap. That place on the spectrum where good and bad are connected. Some days, my feet are stuck to the ground. Other days, I get swept up in the clouds. But other moments, few and far between, I get a glimmer of the horizon where these two worlds meet. This I believe: we all share the joys and sorrows of the mysteries and uncertainties that surround us.