A couple of weeks ago, Harlan, Aidan and I went to the hardware store in Porter Square. I dragged myself through the shopping center, sunglasses hiding my eyes, praying we would not run into anyone we knew.
We passed a cigarette and sand-voiced woman asking passers-by for change. She looked at Aidan and said, “He’s beautiful. You are blessed,” and my eyes filled with tears.
Because she didn’t know me, she didn’t know anything about me, she didn’t know how much I had cried and how fucked up my life was, because she was wrong.
And then because she was right.
I am blessed—with a beautiful son who even in my moment of greatest heartache fills my life with love and laughter and wonder.
And there are so many other things. Blessings. Things in my life for which I am grateful.
I have a beautiful husband who holds me and loves me even when I am raging at the world and lashing out at him and everyone else, and he calls me beautiful girl and beautiful wife and means it, even when I am puffy and hollowed out, with darkness engulfing my once-pretty face.
I have a generous, loving family willing to fly out immediately to be with me when adversity strikes to cook my meals and clean my house and shop for groceries and play with Aidan so I can rest.
I have amazing friends who drop their lives and also rush to surround me with their arms and kindness, who call me and send email and cards and text messages that express such empathy and warmth and shock and sadness—for me, for my pain—that my heart fills to bursting.
I have a pretty, comfortable home on a tree-lined street in a convenient, charming neighborhood, with enough room for all of us to live with ease and for Aidan to roam shrieking in circles chasing the cats and making a big, beautiful mess that we will clean up once he is sleeping.
I am blessed for so many reasons:
I am smart and educated and I have traveled the world.
I have been able to make my living from my writing, a skill and an escape which in itself is a gift that is not only my livelihood, but also my passion, my therapy, my way of expressing myself and learning what I think.
I met and married the love of my life and together we had a little boy who became the love of both of our lives.
I am healthy.
I am sensitive and introspective and expressive and self-aware.
I have been a basically happy and optimistic person most of my life.
I feel things deeply and am able to recognize, acknowledge and voice my pain, my needs, my desperation.
I am lucky to be alive right now. I know that.
But I am also lucky for all the other blessings in my life. My midwife says that happy is relative and lucky is relative, and she is right. Even now, now, when I feel like the saddest girl in the world, I put my arms around my husband and my son, and I know just how lucky I am.