Just as writing Happiness Key made me think extra hard about what makes me happy and why, writing Fortunate Harbor made me think about all the ways I’ve been fortunate in my life. Taking a blessing inventory, if you will, is a thought-provoking discipline, and I’ve found the more I think about this, the more fortunate I feel. In fact I have a new ritual I’m trying to incorporate in my life. Every day I fill in this sentence: “I am fortunate because. . .” And even on a bad day–and don’t we all have them?–it’s surprisingly easy to do. This is different from Pollyanna’s “glad” game. I’m not necessarily trying to find the good in every bad situation. I’m looking for the major themes in my life, and all the parts of it for which I can and should be grateful.
Life is filled with “lagniappe,” (a term used frequently in Louisiana) that unexpected extra we don’t necessarily deserve, which arrives on our doorstep anyway. Yesterday I was reminded of this, and not subtly. I was hit over the head with it, a baseball bat moment, as you will. Years ago, after the birth of two sons, I realized, as much as I adored them both, I also wanted and needed a daughter to help balance out the testosterone overload in our household. After a year of discovering just how difficult it is to adopt a child of any age, gender or ethnicity, we learned of a six-year-old who was available to us, and after mountains of paperwork and a few scares along the way, our daughter arrived at midnight at the Pittsburgh airport to become our third child and the family peacemaker.
My daughter is, in every way, the child of my heart. But both she and I have talked about how sad we are that we missed her baby years together. What did she look like? When did she walk, talk, giggle? I was sorry I never had the fun of dressing a baby girl–okay, all those years of playing dolls was leading to that, right?–and that by the time she arrived, her instinctive fashion sense was so highly developed that pretty soon she was dressing “me.” We missed the baby cuddling stage, the pattycake and eensy teensy spider. Small things, yes, in the scheme of life. We got so much, who could mourn too long?
Yesterday as I held my daughter’s daughter on my hip and watched the ultrasound that informed us that yes, yet another baby girl was on the way, I was reminded (baseball bat moment) how fortunate I am. I have my wonderful daughter. And now I have the baby girls I missed. When my three-year-old granddaughter makes a face, I see her mother so clearly, and now I know what SHE looked like at three. I held my granddaughter when she was an infant, cuddled her, dressed her, knitted sweaters for her, made her a quilt, played eensy teensy spider. All those things I’d missed are mine now. And soon will be a second time.
I am fortunate because. . .
Last year so many of you told me what made you happy, even, for some of you, in the midst of great difficulty. This year I hope you’ll tell me the ways you feel fortunate. Dig for them, if you will. What have your received that you didn’t necessarily deserve or work for? What blessings have simply appeared in your life? How do you pass them on?
To help you along, I’ve printed post-it notes with the words” I Am Fortunate Because. . .” at the top. These are perfect to use every day. Fill in the blank, then stick the post-it where you’ll see it, and be reminded of your good fortune throughout the day.
The first twenty-five people who comment here and tell us the ways they’re fortunate, will receive a post-it note pack, along with a signed bookplate. You’ll also be entered in my next big giveaway in July. So stay tuned for those details. You’ll only be entered once, so be certain you can receive email from me so we can communicate with the fortunate twenty-five to get mailing addresses.
I am fortunate because. . . How about you?