The other day at work, in an admittedly cynical moment, someone said: “Let’s start a drinking game at staff meetings—every time someone says ‘It takes a village,’ we do a shot.”
|Let's talk about this mother of at least two and her 19" waist.|
I also used to joke that It takes a village to raise a Cheryl. This was during the time when I had two oncologists, a radiologist, a reconstructive surgeon, a physical therapist, a regular therapist, a couples therapist, a hypnotherapist, a nice lady at church named Margot and a couple of cancer pen pals, all working overtime to keep me alive and sane.
Four years ago this week was the Squeakies’ due date, 11/11/11, although they would have inevitably been born earlier. I think of them every time the clock says 11:11, and also when it doesn’t.
|Put a bird on it.|
Almost immediately I get tangled up in existential questions and survivor guilt. Or my good luck seems as random as my bad luck—and it is; oh, it is all so fucking random—and then what? The best thing I can do—the real Gratitude Challenge—is stay humble and realize that life isn’t so much a story you write as a giant Exquisite Corpse poem.
The other best thing I can do is make something useful out of my continued existence. On one hand, I think I’m a pretty decent person. I’m nice(ish) to my family and friends and I get grants from the rich to give to the poor and I recycle when it’s convenient. On the other hand, I feel like the world is overpopulated, and I’m not sure that any of my good deeds have made up for my carbon footprint. But I’ve done enough therapy that I can accept my tendency toward self-preservation for what it is: animalistic and just fine.
This was going to be a post about World Adoption Day, but I’m not sure what I have to say. I’m so grateful to be alive and in partial charge of a small friendly human that I could cry. And also: Various types of injustice are at the root of most adoption situations. And also: This week feels heavy with the weight of what might have been. If the village hadn’t stepped in. If I’d lived in a different village.
And I still don’t know what the future holds. My mantra—one of the few phrases that has ever felt semi-divinely planted in my head at the time it was first needed—is hold it lightly. I’m not even totally sure what I mean by that, but I picture cupped hands.