Sunday, August 21, 2011

Counting My Blessings

Last week, sitting in the back seat of the car while Ron and Sudi chatted about music up front, swapping tunes, as we drove down the state for a little family reunion with our grown-up children, I took a moment to count my blessings.

We picked Sudi up at his student digs in Oakland, a house he shares with half a dozen other CCA art students, and then went to L.A. where we spent a night with friends. Throughout our trip, Sudi spent hours under his headphones composing music, which is his passion. We picked our daughter up Friday after work (she has a job at a company that provides resources and social marketing tools to the fashion industry) and drove to San Diego where Akili lives (he works as a web developer for a company that provides marketing tools and builds websites for green businesses) for the weekend. Friday night we went out to eat with our three plus Akili’s girlfriend of more than three years, Tina. It’s an experience eating out with young people these days as it involves a great deal of hand-held electronics, such as passing phones back and forth to share photographs, looking up things on the internet that they can’t quite remember, and my daughter occasionally tweeting parts of the conversation to her growing following in tweet-land. We were at the restaurant for over two hours. Great meal. Great conversation. Lots of laughs. The following day we walked by the ocean. Then I cooked dinner for everyone at Akili’s place and we shared a couple bottles of wine. Crazy, drinking a bottle of wine with my children at dinner! Still getting used to it. And when it got dark we watched the spectacular fireworks over Sea World (a nightly show is done throughout the summer) from Akili’s roof.

Back to my moment in the car. This is a lovely picture. My children. Our terrific time together; but, as I counted my blessings in the car, I noted that I have worked very, very hard in my life to paint that picture. The financial creativity, juggling the family dynamic, dealing with all the problems great and small, being present for my children daily and nonstop (even when I would have preferred to be sitting in a quiet study writing), cooking nutritional foods, keeping the household running smoothly, family outings and vacations, moving to 40 acres of remote forest for heaven’s sake to raise the children in nature, attending school events and getting to know teachers, and reading aloud to each of them separately for half an hour every night for years and years and years. Cultural enrichment. Viewing films and listening to music. Sports events. Sending them to college. That was a big one (trying to swing that financially). And on and on. I am truly blessed, and I am grateful for it, but make no mistake: I worked for these blessings. I earned them. And I had children because I wanted to spend time with children, live with children, support children, and enjoy children. I still believe that all the problems of the world could be solved by good parenting. Parenting is as parenting does. I am looking forward to more fat years down the road with grandchildren on my knee.

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