In the middle of the day. With piles of laundry yet to be washed, a dog that desperately
wanted a walk, and a dinner plan yet to be determined. I ran a deep, hot bath, added a few
drops of lavender essential oil, lit a candle, and stepped in.
framing two sides, frosted below for privacy, and open to the sky on top. Lying back, I could see a triangle of
roof with the downspout attached, a few bare tree branches, and grey sky. We have enjoyed a lot of sunshine in
the last week and temperatures in the upper 50s, but today was grey with
spitting rain and that soft light that makes it impossible to tell what time of
day it is without consulting a clock.
right side of my lips. My nostrils
flared slightly and the left side of my mouth followed until I was positively
grinning. For no reason. I hadn’t
just remembered something funny or sweet or thought about something exciting in
the near future. I just
something my nine-year-old said to me once. And I finally understood what she
just paid a visit to her favorite teacher. Mrs. H had suffered a severe bout of pain and dizziness the
night before and was rushed to the ER and evaluated for a stroke. She was disoriented and confused and,
at the time of our visit, still in some measure of discomfort. And the doctors had no real answers. Despite that, she was delighted to see
Lola and I walk in to her room and she immediately squeezed us both tightly and
began talking in her rushed, irreverent way. The three of us were laughing within minutes and Lola
perched on the side of the hospital bed with Mrs. H’s arm draped over her. We bounced from topic to topic, dipping
our toes in the waters of concern, but mostly skipping lightly around school,
pets, and things we were looking forward to. When Mrs. H began to get tired, Lola and I left, promising
to check back later in the day.
bit melancholy. I caught glimpses
of other patients, lying in bed asleep with mouths agape, struggling to get out
of bed, pushing IV poles down the hallway as they steadied themselves against a
nurse or a loved-one. I thought
about Mrs. H and all she has meant to us and our family over the years and
found myself sending an urgent wish out to the Universe that she heal quickly
and completely. I was lost in my
own thoughts until I felt Lola’s bouncing gait next to me and looked at her.
her head from shoulder to shoulder and singing a little song under her
breath. Her eyes twinkled with
mischief and she wore a huge grin.
I had originally resisted bringing her, worried that it might upset her to see
her beloved teacher sick or in pain.
confusion and let out a laugh.
a reason to be sad or upset or angry, but you can be happy just because you’re
say. She truly believes it. She lives it.
me. As the smile crept across my
face, the first thought I had was, ‘what
are you smiling about?’ The
answer that came to me first was, ‘Nothing.
to be happy.’