In my first blog of the new year, I want to pause for a moment to reflect on one of the many miracles that tend to slip past in the hurry and scurry of the everyday. The Chinese call the years when one is raising children and managing a busy household (not to mention working fulltime) the “years of rice and salt.” They are the years between childhood wonder and the reflections of elderhood. And they can rush by too quickly if we don’t take the time to reflect, recognize, and appreciate what we are seeing as it appears in our line of vision.
Our friends Jan and Mark drove up from the Bay Area to be with us for the New Year. Their two grown daughters, Cat and Liz, came with them. I have not seen Cat since she went away to college, five years ago. I have known Jan and Mark throughout our rice and salt years. We had been friends for quite some time before Cat was born and I saw Cat right after she came home from the hospital, which was an event of significance because Cat was born 10 weeks early. At birth she weighed less than a bottle of ketchup. When Mark called to tell us she had been born, my heart sunk. I wondered if she would live. But Jan and Mark recognized Cat’s remarkable spirit from the moment they laid eyes on her and never waivered in their faith that she would keep breathing in that incubator, that she would live, grow, be smart and capable, and flourish. And she did all that. She’s a vivacious, brilliant, funny, sparkly, red-headed, 20-something aspiring screenwriter who kept us laughing at breakfast on New Year’s Day with her original sense of humor and skill at storytelling.
Seeing Cat at the New Year gave me pause as I remembered what she looked like when I first laid eyes on her. Of course every person is a miracle, and who am I to say that one may be more of a miracle than another. But say I will. I know that Jan reads my blog—so hats off to you Jan (and Mark). Job well done. You recognized that miracle the instant you saw it. Not everyone does.