We usually see her get out of her car with her daughter when we are waiting for time to go into school. If she sees us, she waves. Today we arrived at school early, so we were first in line at the parent drop off station, and I saw her car drive by. I caught a glimpse of the frame around her license plate: I held one in my arms. My curiosity was piqued. After Gage and I said our goodbyes, I drove around the loop and slowed as I came by her car, so I could read the rest. My breath caught in my chest and my eyes welled with tears. I had to wait a minute to gather myself before I drove again. The part of the frame that I didn't see said: Everyone dreams of angels. Then I noticed the SIDS awareness magnet. My heart ached, and I was in awe of this woman, this mother of six who was already inspirational to me. I cannot imagine suffering the death of a child. I cannot imagine having the strength to continue. Yet this woman, and many others, do. She teaches, she loves my Gage. She loves his curiosity, his eagerness for learning. She even loves his struggles with self-control. I see it. I feel it when we talk with her. And now it is so much more meaningful to me. She has clearly suffered, but until I saw her license plate, I would have never known. She continues with grace, with love, and exudes that to those she meets.
These moments remind me to continue to strive to be present, to be mindful, to be compassionate with my family. To cherish every moment, to love all there is about them, to focus on their happiness, to encourage us all to grow. To resist the urge, the ingrained impulse, to get overwhelmed, to be impatient and frustrated.
May I continue to be a teacher to my children, to shape them with loving hands. May I hold the presence gained today more constantly, without the need for poignant reminders. But may I be open to these reminders as they come my way.