Sunday, February 21, 2010

Alphabet Grace

My daughter Lucia loves the alphabet. She loves to sing it, sign it, write it. She loves to discuss it, ¨Mom, did you know that the ABC song is the exact same tune as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?¨ On a recent trip to the airport Lucia was stuck in the back seat with her howling four-month-old cousin Sam. Lucia´s attempt to placate Sam was to sing the ABCs in a lullaby voice. It didn´t work, but great idea.

Last night I finished reading Lit, Mary Karr´s third memoir which, among other things is about getting sober. At one point in the book when Karr is cynically dismissing the idea of a higher power , her sponsor tells her to get over herself and start being grateful for what she has. Her sponor´s perscription-- write down from A-Z things for which she is grateful. Only when pushed to the point close to relapse does Karr engage in this activity, still reluctant, but desperate. It turns out to be deeply satisfying and comforting.

On a recent mother-daughter trip to the amazingly rich, historic town of Oaxaca, Mexico, I found myself in an insomniac state fueled by many of my regular worries: would I be perpetually single? Would my daughter be okay? Would my business survive this economy? While struggling to find sleep in the pitch blackness of an unfamiliar single bed in a hostel inches from my snoring mother, I decided that I would try the alphabet idea.

Initially, I felt, as Mary Karr had in her first attempt at the assignment, silly. But, like her, I was desperate. With my eyes opento the blackness around me, I silently recited 26 things for which I am grateful from A for amor (love) to X for being on the other side of an 'ex'. I wasn´t close to being asleep, so I tried it again. I don´t remember what I was thankful for after S for swimming, so it must have worked.

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