I could blame my fuzzy and foggy head on any number of things:
* the 2 am wake-up call - Cowgirl yelling "Mommy, I have a bloody nose!" and me stumbling out of bed, aware in the murkiness that I am also bloated and cramping and would soon have to attend to That;
*the 2 hour nap (more like a collapse) taken before dinner to recover from previous night's activities which included making my way down to the basement, trying not to wake the dog, as I searched for the only jar of vaseline which I had been using in an art journal project and now needed for Cowgirl's nose;
*the pancakes I ate for dinner because, well, we both napped until 6:30 pm;
* 2 days of being solo caregiver to Cowgirl who had strep throat ... yes, for the second time ...
... and the dog who does not have strep, but did throw up, probably the result of eating rabbit poo and disgusting in all respects (and so I had to adjust his medications);
But the obvious explanation is all of the above being ladled upon a heart weary from the stories and images of pain and despair coming from Japan. It does feel like the Mother has had enough of the global disrespect and is letting us know who really is in charge of things. The level of destruction and the depth of suffering taking place is of a scope beyond anything my brain or my emotions can take in.
I dragged myself to work this morning and it was hard to summon up much enthusiasm on yet another cold, gray day. And then I checked my email and saw this face:
Our boy. Pan Xiong. The boy we are now sponsoring through Half the Sky Foundation for one year. And when I say we, I mean all of us - everyone who supported our Painting with a Purpose campaign last summer by donating, entering to win one of the paintings Cowgirl and I created for the art marathon and by leaving words of support and encouragement. (Yes, there have been a few mishaps but finally we got confirmation of our sponsorship which is the result of raising $900 through this blog.)
Look at that face! He about 2 1/2 years old (born August 29, 2008) and lives in Baotou in Inner Mongolian Autonomous region. He is in Half the Sky's Infant Nurture Program and it is unclear what is going on with his legs or feet. This is a translation of a report by his caregiver:
When I play games with PanXiong face to face, if he is happy he will pout his mouth and ask me to kiss him. If I kiss him, he will smile at me happily and lean his head on my arms while swinging his arms.
His legs are very agile. When he lies on his back on the mat, he can use his feet to kick on the mat while stretching his head. When he moves to the baby gym, he will use his feet to touch the toys to play. When he sits on the mat, he can use his feet to turn the pages of the books. He can put the big toes of his feet into the holes of the rattle and swing it left and right.
Seeing the obvious joy and happiness on his face, I feel Hope rising within me. It felt odd to think about celebration today, much less feeling any inspiration, but little Pan Xiong's face is a reminder that for those of us who can, we have a responsibility to celebrate the gifts of today, whatever they may be. I will not squander the flashes of joy, the moments of comfort and love that life does hold out in any given moment for right now, perhaps we are the ones keeping the flame of hope alive and burning in this seemingly darker world.
Tonight, while reading Cowgirl her bedtime stories, I crawled into bed with her for warmth and comfort. I gave her an extra sandwich cookie and joined her for a sweet treat this afternoon. We both ate the filling and then dunked the cookies into our glasses of milk. Small matters, I know. But that is how we find our way out of the darkness ... one cuddle, one shared treat, one smile at a time.
This is what inspires me right now. This is what I am choosing to celebrate. We can still choose Joy, paint rainbows and find ways to create a sunnier tomorrow.
Perhaps all we need is a rubber bouncy horse?