Gratitude














Reading Jack Tourin's story yesterday made me recognize how perspective is everything: it can flood our life with beauty and wonderor just as quickly drain it of these qualities.

In the spirit of savouring time with Ben, last night we played a game of Scrabble. We haven't done this in months, and Ben wasn't initially psyched about the idea.

However, we soon had the board out and Ben had made his first word: "DO." This was followed by "CATS" and some other rudimentary words. My chest hurt in that good way, when you feel filled up snug with gratitude: A few years ago he couldn't have focused for more than five minutes, and last night we played for an hour.

Ben was able to enjoy the back and forth and choosing of his new letters. At one point he came up with the word "COAX" but we couldn't find a spot for it on the board.

He was thrilled to get a "J" and began rooting around in the letter bag to pull out the letters to spell his beloved "JESSIE" from Toy Story.

We had just finished when Charlie Brown's A Christmas Song came floating up the stairs, reminding me of how as a child I'd run downstairs with my brothers to watch the annual Christmas specials on TV.

We decided to forgo homework and Ben and Ken went downstairs with D'Arcy to watch Peanuts. Ben isn't familiar with the characters, but I knew he would love them. And he didespecially the nameless Little Girl with Red Hair that Charlie has a crush on: Ben obviously thought she was a dead ringer for Jessie.

"He kept saying the girl was Jessie," D'Arcy said afterwards, with a touch of annoyance.

But even Ben's obsession with a Toy Story character who, like him, just wants to be loved, couldn't shake my feeling of contentment. Ben still has the excitement of a child for Christmas. He regularly takes me to the calendar to show me the date and signs "What do you want for Christmas?"

Last night I felt the joy of the season and held on tight like it was a wild toboggan ride.