A Gift

I guess it goes to show that you just never know where life will take you.  You search for answers.  You wonder what it all means.  You stumble, and you soar.  And, if you’re lucky, you make it to Paris for a while- Amy Thomas

My dearest girl,

Today is my birthday.  And birthdays always get me thinking about gifts.  And although I love a good present (sparkly -silver -converse -with -pink -laces -meant- for -dancing I’m looking at you!), it is the gifts that we find in the midst of times that are not necessarily so joyful that hold the most meaning, in my humble opinion.  It is the constant tiny flickering stars in the middle of a dark and stormy never ending  night that give us hope that the sun will come again in the morning (*which it always does, no matter how much it feels as though it won’t) that shine most brightly when we most need to see their light.

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.- Mary Oliver

We all carry these boxes full of darkness at some point in our lives. Sometimes, when we’re knee-deep in the muck and murkiness, we forget that others carry their own boxes, too.  It is especially easy in this instant-gratification, filtered to perfection, social media driven world that not everything is as it appears.  It can make you feel as though you are the only one who carries such a box- and while you are the only one responsible for carrying your own meant for you box, it can help to remember that others have their own, too.

And trust me on this, little one, when I say that this box can be your greatest gift.  Maybe this box will push you to make big or small changes in your life that will make all the difference.  Maybe this box will make you appreciate the joyful light of those tiny flickering stars.  Maybe this box will help you turn inward and support yourself, or turn outward, asking for help when you swore you would only travel on, alone.  

And maybe this box will take you on a journey to reclaim your life, in the only way you know how: by going to Paris.

I had such a Year as this– incredible soaring highs and stumbling, crawling on my knees growth as I came face to face with past traumas (which is a post in and of itself for another time) and realized that I had to do what I had to do…embrace this box, take back my life…and reclaim Paris (yes, I do mean that across the pond Paris).

The best things in life are almost always never easy (sidenote: being your mum is incredibly easy though!), but that’s why they become the best things- because you earn them, piece by piece, tear by tear, tooth and nail.  You fight for them and thus learn their worth.

The gift of being able to reclaim my life again is this miraculous thing that keeps on giving.  I find myself dancing while waiting for the subway even when it is late or marveling at the glitter littered all over our carpet from whirlwind craft adventures with you  or gazing up at the darkest sky to stare at a sea of stars with my love, bright eyed and full of wonder and thanksgiving.

Because, you see, the thing about these boxes of darkness is that they make you realize how truly beautiful life is.  Even if sometimes that means traveling all the way to France and back to discover it.

So on this day-my birthday- my heart and my toes are dancing with thanksgiving and joy: for the gift of you, for the gift of life, and, especially for the gifts of my box of darkness, which brought me home again, back to myself, in Paris.  It truly is my city of light.  And it is always, without fail, a good idea.

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