All good: Lessons in grown-up gratitude.


Dear Kid,

We were this close to the farm. This close to selling our town home in the city and sealing the deal on a beautiful cape on a couple of acres of land in the center part of the state. (A nice backdrop for your future and/or good place to plant some tomatoes.) In any event, in one week in August 2014, we learned more than we ever cared to know about fecal coliform (look that one up/don’t: it’s bacteria found in crap), negotiated our right to clean drinking water, saw our buyer walk without another word and promptly re-listed the town home, which has seen a trickle of prospective buyers since but none so committed to the idea as to write us an offer. At present, the future of the cape on those couple of acres of land in the center part of the state, the one we’re buying contingent on the sale of the town home in metro Boston, is at stake. Lots of our things are in storage including, most noticeably, my cool-weather clothes and a second couch so that, every night, Dad and I squish sideways on the sofa and complain about our aching backs.

Meanwhile, you like it here. You really like it. Here is the only home you’ve ever known.

I think we can learn a lot from you: The way you proclaim to be “almost there” when you hit the Concord rotary 20 minutes away, the way you announce your arrival in the parking lot (“Elbee’s house! I’m hooooome!”), the way you point out the mundane and familiar and get excited to see them – bus stops, recycling trucks, “the coffee store,” our neighbors. You don’t mind the way we’re uprooted at dinner time because someone wants access to our place (“I love going to my restaurant! It’s so fun!”) or the way we’re forced at all times to keep our house like the Pope is coming to dinner even when it’s unclear why he’d frequent the table of a random Jewish family. You keep on singing your “clean up” song and organizing your puzzles. It’s all good.

It really is, too.

The other morning, you woke before the sun. You told me you wanted to listen to the pigeons out the window, but it was dark and it was raining so that even the rodents of the bird family had the good sense to keep to their nests. We peeked out Mama’s little bedroom window overlooking the street, stop lights in the distance – not much to see –  and listened to it rain. I wanted to say it, but you said it first.

“This is so nice!”

Of course, the house had nothing to do with it. The house didn’t matter. What mattered was our little family: that time we spent just being, just being happy.

I remembered back to when, before there was you, Dad and I reached the place where, convinced there was going to be no you, we knew we were going to be just fine anyway. If we never met, we wouldn’t have any idea what we were missing. Now that we have, we know our world will never be the same.

So if our “farm” remains the garden window (the dwarf sunflower we grew to prove to ourselves we had green thumbs), if your back yard is the park you share with playmates you just met, if a drive to the country (or, um, Lexington) is special for the way you get to see the stars and hear the quiet, if the sound of traffic is your white noise and if navigating a too-crowded coffee shop is so second nature that, even at two, you get right in line and wait your turn because – guess what? – it’s coming eventually… it’s all good.

Let go, let G-d. And while (S)He’s getting to it, I’m glad we’ve got each other.




About Projected Progenitor

Projected (adj.) (prə-ˈjekt-ed): From the 15th Century Anglo-French 'projector,' from Latin 'projectus.' Devised in the mind, predicted. Progenitor (n.) (prō-ˈje-nə-tər): Middle English, from the 14th Century Anglo-French 'progenitour,' from Latin 'progenitor,' meaning 'to beget.' An ancestor in the direct line, foreparent.
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