Some other things, though. B's comment on my last post reminded me of another epiphany that I had over the past month. I congratulated myself, but I did not acknowledge the full strength of vulnerability. This may seem cheesy, but the amazing thing about drawing up the willingness to ask for help is how quickly people come to your aid. Even someone who has spent the better chunk of her life creating a persona of self-reliance, even I had people around me who rescued me.
Some of them weren't even around. A few weeks ago, AL called me, and we did not even talk about the less fortunate aspects of my life. He did not know the beginning, the middle, and so there was no point in telling him of the end. He had just called to say hello and we just had a good chat. But beyond that even, friends like B and countless others, I felt them. They are the good thoughts around you that tell you that you will weather any storm, that you are worth knowing. They give you the confidence to move forward, the encouragement to forge new relationships. They remind you to be grateful.
I went back to San Francisco last week. For the past year, when I went, it had not felt like my city anymore, like I was no longer connected to it the way that I once was. But when I returned this past week, it felt like I had truly returned. I walked from Potrero Hill to the Mission, the sun and the wind my companions, alone on the path once again. It felt right. It always feel right, like I am coming back to a center, as I saw the fog start to settle on Twin Peaks. It did not matter that the neighborhood was teeming with bachelorette parties, that things had gotten more expensive, that some bars had disappeared and others had risen up in their wake. The city keeps on moving, keeps on changing, forces you to acknowledge that life is by its nature dynamic.
And just as the city forces you to acknowledge that time stands still for no one, so do children. Years can pass by between friends, and you may feel that no time has passed. But when years pass by with a child, the kid has transformed when next you meet. RR and I coordinated our schedules to meet, and as a result, I got to see my godson. It had been at least two years since the last time I saw him; at that time, he was shy and very attached to his parents, not very interested in interacting with anyone new. Now he is nearly 5 years old, and while still charmingly shy, he warms up quickly. His mind is fascinating and inquisitive, brimming with questions, including the whopper "why does the ocean make waves?" (I gleefully wished my friend RR good luck breaking that one down.) We spent a few hours at the beach, building sandcastles which his little sister took absolute joy in smashing, filling buckets with water, and marveling at the little creatures that came in with the tide. My godson tired of the futility of sandcastles, and started to draw train tracks in the sand, occupying himself. RR and I started talking about heavy subjects, and the contrast struck me- happiness gets increasingly complicated as we get older.
But then again, as we got off the beach and all piled back into the car, the kids were getting buckled into their carseats, and my godson turned to his father and asked if I could sit in the back with them. He has only ever asked if his grandmother can sit back there. Funny how at that moment, happiness was just that simple, just as simple as a little boy asking you to sit next to him for the car ride home.