I am a youthful first-world person whose limbs obey her every command. When I wish to use the washroom, I simply do so with a blase dignity dependant upon complete privacy. My body is strong and I cook and eat whatever I most wish to on any given day. If I don't feel like zucchini, then I steam asparagus. I remember each of my children and their vivid, noisy stories fill my brain and my kitchen. I have all the money I need and I don't ever have to worry about how I'll possibly get to Walmart to replace my ratty old pants which were my last decent pair. I'm not consigned to pacing hallways, anxiously wringing my softly veiny hands, wondering why my husband won't come pick me up to take me home, wondering even, if he might not love me anymore. In short, I am of the ranks of this world's powerful. In light of this, my silly need to prove my stay-at-home-mom self to those who may look down upon the role seems more than a bit ridiculous.
Before my recent forays to the senior's home - that combined beautiful and exquisitely sad place - I'd never stopped to think about it. I'd taken my power and my freedom for granted, with only the brief blip of an exception in the form of the very occasional flu or migraine to mar my nearly complete autonomy. I now see - blurrily no doubt - how rich I've been and also how stunningly ungrateful. I don't stop in the middle of mopping my floors to note how delightfully pain-free my joints are. I don't wake in the morning marvelling at the powerful beauty of the fact that I am loved. It doesn't occur to me to be thankful for trips to the grocery store that instead, I'm more inclined to gripe about, that allow me to choose whatever I like to prepare and feed my family. The fact that I can afford seedless green grapes seems like a given. My fingers cooperate with my whims and I knit if I feel like knitting or I read with my perfect, cateract-free eyes if I feel like reading. I run and go to Zumba classes with the best of them and now, suddenly, I feel like saying thank you. This power of mine won't last forever. My strong body won't always do everything I wish for it to. Some day it will be my turn to shuffle painfully down hallways that seem far too long. Some day I may have to discontinue my beloved habit of reading because my elderly eyes will no longer allow for it. But in the meantime, I'm thankful for a new awareness of the need to say thank you, God.