Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Grateful for a Plateful



I admit that I often find it hard to be thankful when it comes to Kimani. Whenever I try, I find myself comparing her situation to what might have been worse. As in, I am thankful she didn’t die like so many of her NICU/PICU warrior friends did. I am thankful she can walk and climb because I know some babies that suffer brain damage can’t. I am thankful she can hear, and for the most part see, because meningitis tends to destroy those senses.

It makes me wonder about the feeling of gratefulness, and how it comes about. It almost seems to me that I have some imaginary baseline for everything in life, and if something rises above it, I am easily thankful. But Kimani is far from any mark I may have etched in my subconscious and finding things to be thankful for feels more like relief than a bona fide moment of gratitude.

Without this genuine gratefulness, am I living a life of poverty regarding her? I keep searching for something in her that belongs to her from before, a piece of who she was supposed to be, and I can’t find it. I swear I have gotten a glimpse of it but I cannot hold it long enough to decide if it is in fact her... the real her, or if it is just wishful extrapolation.

“It is what it is. She is who she is,” You say. And I say that too most of the time. But I promise you that it really isn’t that simple. There is a loss so ever-present in her that you cannot just accept it and be peaceful. It is a loss that cries out daily for recognition. It is a loss so powerful that it wills you into its tribulation, and you are unable to walk away without a secret wish that it would give her back.

I started thinking about this whole thankful business last month when my Facebook feed was flooded with statuses of what my friends are thankful for. I wanted to be thankful too and I was mad at myself that I could not come up with anything to post about. Then, just before Thanksgiving, a little craft project came home in Kimani’s backpack. It was a paper plate with pictures of food glued to it and it said, “Kimani’s Thanksgiving Plate.” I wondered if Kimani chose the foods or if the teacher did. I wrote a note asking about it and her teacher said that she chose the items from magazine cut outs that were placed in front of her. Kimani loves all the foods she put on her plate... pretzels, strawberries, pasta, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and pizza.

thanks_plate

Just looking at that plate covered with two of everything she loves knowing that she chose those foods herself made me so happy, so very very happy that I finally felt it... gratitude. Truly, like Pooh Bear, I was grateful for a plateful.

2 comments:

Post a Comment

Go ahead, say it.