Taking part in the Ann Dee Ellis 8-Minute Memoir Writing Challenge. This is Day Thirty-Two.
I think I’m pretty good at finding beauty in the desert. I think I have a solid track record of looking up when it’s hard to look up, and noticing the amazing people, situations and life happening around me. Part of the collected works of this decade-plus long writing experiment I undertook without having a clue what was to come is that I have a record of noticing the beauty.
There is beauty in having nearly every day of Abigail’s life documented, from the tiny pink line on the pregnancy test, through to today, when she trounced in after school, hot and sweaty from PE, and flopped down on the floor with Tiberius before she even yelled up the stairs, “I’m home!”
There is beauty in the journey from that first life changing diagnosis of autism for Bean nearly twelve years ago, and the path we have taken as a family while learning to advocate, navigate, educate, and expand our idea of what love, success, and happiness look like. There is beauty in the nearly fourteen year-old boy who now takes glee in being taller than me, but who still bends down to hug me every morning.
There is beauty in my giant redheaded boy turning into a man, who still has his hero-heart and volunteers his time in the SpEd resource room when he’s not at football practice. There is beauty in how he embodies the best of both his fathers, and of me, and adds his own enormous joie de vive and gentle, goofy sense of humor.
There is beauty in finding a second family at a place in my life I never imagined, and being so welcomed and fitting so perfectly in that family it feels natural and wonderful. There is beauty beyond comprehension in experiencing not just one great love, but being given the graced-filled chance of a second great love. There is beauty in the utter comfort and familiarity of my own mother’s hands, the laughter of my brothers, and the wry humor and friendship of both my father and my step-father, who are the unlikeliest of friends. There is beauty in the space that friendship has given our family.
There is beauty in the grand, giant dog who lays patiently and hopefully at my feet any time I sit down. He follows me faithfully from room to room as I move through my day, and is waiting earnestly with a body wiggling with happiness on my return. Never mind that he slobber and snores like a bulldozer.
There is even beauty to be found in the difficulties my own country is experiencing right now. Things are hard and uncertain and are even scary and legitimately dangerous. There is beauty in people gathering together, deciding what they believe in, and fighting for the ideals of a country they want to live in. There is beauty in the organization of justice, human rights, civil rights, and the branches of the government checking and balancing themselves, even amid the crazy. There is beauty and hope in the notion that old ideas can be discarded and placed in museums were they will become relics, and in the space created, maybe the great leaders of our future might find the room to unfurl their wings and fly.