I can’t sleep. The second night in a row of sketchy sleep and one single thought turning and bouncing around in my head. Only one, one subject, one preoccupation, one. Tonight I will distract myself by thinking of my favorite things. Things that I like, that I cherish, that I want close to me, that I like to smell, taste, look at, listen to, do, experience and feel. One of my top favorites is kids. Mine are amazing. Beautiful, talented, funny-very funny, caring, and they tell me they love me even when we fight. When my littlest Monya, not yet four, storms to her room when she doesn’t get her way when we play, she announces ” I don’t love you anymore”, closes the door of her room, opens it again, runs to me and says “I love you mommy”. I love that.
Andy,13, the talented musician, actress, sportsperson and photographer/film-maker is a joy to watch, a smile as big as the world, and a tenderness rarely seen in other humans. And she has a temper to match the most furious of them. She reminds me of me. A lot.
Sasha is the singer, self-involved as well as a defender of causes. Funny as hell. Can make anyone smile when she wants them to. Very sensitive yet shows a bravado front very much like an armadillo shell. I call her my cactus.
At Christmas time, the most spiritual of times, people reflect on what they are doing on earth, if their time is being well-spent, if their accomplishments to date are worthwhile, and if they are doing enough for others. I think my best accomplishments so far are the three girls that I am confident will grow up to be good, caring humans, that will make a difference in the world. When I asked Sasha what she wanted out of her music, a hit, fame, being part of the A list performers? She answered that her biggest joy would be if people who listened to her songs felt better about themselves, if her words can help someone in pain, if her tunes can bring happiness to people. And she meant every word.
We would do well to count our blessings in a time like this, a time of spirituality and reflection in the midst of global uncertainty. If we truly and sincerely gaze into our deepest of depths, and think of what we have that is so dear to us, that we cherish and that we are lucky to have, we cannot but feel the better for it. We might lose our heart’s desire somewhere along the way, a person we so love, a job we so covet, a friend we selfishly ignored in their time of need, yet if we do the sum total of what we have, and what we are blessed with, we come to realize that what is important is our valuation and appreciation of what is already in our lives. We might be frustrated for not having our way on a number of occasions, but in the end, when we stop and take stock, we often find that we have been so preoccupied with what we want that we ignored and neglected what we already had, and risked losing it.
It doesn’t matter if we leave a grand legacy or not, it doesn’t make any real difference if we write books or make movies or write constitutions that will cause people to name streets after us. What really matters is how much we enjoy each moment of being alive, sharing our lives with our loved ones, doing what it takes to be a useful part of where we belong, doing our best to help others and to try and do things the right way-without hurting anyone if possible.
And then there are the moments that take our breath away. Living and loving and feeling on top of the world even for one moment is worth so much in the grand scheme of things. That would be another one of my favorite things, being so much in love that you forget time and space and yourself, and God and earth, and live in the moment, gazing at the sky and the trees, and your coffee, and the passing cars, and thinking if your loved one is thinking of you, and if they are ok, and if they miss you, and if and if… Love is the spice of life, and in this time of spice, hot wine, and roasted chestnuts, I raise a glass of ordinary home-made vin chaud, with lots of raisins and nuts, and wish you all a peaceful run off to my favorite holiday time. May you all love with abandon at least once in your lives. Bonnes Fêtes.
Monya in her school’s Christmas concert