When I was in sixth grade, my English teacher assigned a poetry project. We had to type out and illustrate six poems by an author of our choice. Then we had to write and illustrate six originals poems of our own. I chose Jack Prelutsky, because even though Shel Silverstein showed us Where the Sidewalk Ends, Jack Prelutsky gave us The New Kid on the Block and with it, the National Anthem for the United Kidhood of Students: Homework! Oh Homework! My hero. Anyhow, Jack Prelutsky wrote a poem called Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face. The first two stanzas (are they stanzas? Been a long time since sixth grade) go like this:
Be glad your nose is on your face,
not pasted on some other place,
for if it were where it is not,
you might dislike your nose a lot.
Imagine if your precious nose
were sandwiched in between your toes,
that clearly would not be a treat,
for you’d be forced to smell your feet.
When, for whatever reason, it takes effort to turn away from what’s got me down and be grateful for all my many blessings, these words still run through my head. So it’s no surprise that I had Mr. Prelutsky whispering in my ear yesterday because yesterday was a “Sandwiched in between your toes” kind of day. It started out wonky and just slowly unraveled all day until I was cleaning up a poop-bomb diaper and my boy kicked me in the tits. Both heels, both tits. I came undone. I dove face first into Ugly Cry. No, dove is too graceful a description. I belly-flopped into Ugly Cry. I mean U-G-L-Y, you ain’t go no alibi, you ugly.
But today is a new day. I slept pretty well and my boy woke up in a grand mood. Today, I am glad my nose is on my face. And to counteract all the “woe is me”ing I did yesterday, I’ve been reciting, out loud, a list of things I am grateful for today. Here are a few:
1. My husband. I am grateful for my husband for many, many reasons, but today, I am grateful that when he came to learn of my day, he poured me a giant glass of wine and when I finished it he said, “Now go have a cry in the shower.” He so totally gets me.
2. My mother. I am also very grateful for my mother for many reasons, but today I am grateful for her because there has never been a better “in the shit” listener than my mother. I can call her at the nadir of an emotional tailspin and rail, I mean holler my guts out, and she just lets me. She never takes anything I say in those moments personally and she knows that I just need to lance the boil of frustration. She so totally gets me.
3. Facebook. Say what you will about the dark side of FB, but I will forever be grateful for Facebook firstly because it reconnected me with the childhood friend who is now my husband and secondly because it keeps me connected to a network of friends in varying degrees of closeness, most of whom who love me, support me, are interested in me and in knowing about my life. Facebook helped me reach out to MPU, LRH, and KDU, girlfriends I haven’t seen since high school, but who answered my S.O.S. when my boy was first born and have been rooting for me ever since. I am especially grateful for FB these days because I have yet to build or join a community since we moved to Florida. My entire support system is long distance. Facebook helps make that work.
4. Amazon certified frustration-free packaging. As I’ve mentioned before, I get wrapper-rage something fierce and I just love that Amazon understands that and helps me not throw away the thing I just bought because I can’t get it open.
5. Southern hospitality. Friendly strangers help ease the sting of loneliness. I may not have local friends yet, but the ladies who work the deli counter at the grocery store (I call them the Deli Dames) always seem so happy to see me. It helps. Maybe it’s weird that it helps, but it does!
6. That my boy has turned a corner. At five months, Boyo was a different baby. At six months, he’s a peach. Enjoying spending time with my son is an answered prayer six months in the making. As my girlfriend KUD says, “God made seven to nine month old babies as a reward for making it that far.”
7. That my nose is on my face. I have a wonderful life, really. I have love, friendship, health, a beautiful home that I am proud of, a family that understands me, a sharp mind and a clever tongue, and a sun that always rises on a new, better day.
Thanks for the reminder, Mr. Prelutsky. And for Homework! Oh, Homework! It’s my favorite.