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The Woman in the Picture

I picked this picture on purpose.

There are thousands of pictures of the baby. I’m talking if you really counted them one by one, thousands.

He’s nine months old, and besides being the most beautiful, photogenic, loving, enlightened child in the world, he also has three sets of grandparents. And his mommy and daddy have many good friends. And we all have phones and working wifi.

So, you know, maybe a million pictures of him.

This one is of his mom, (also my daughter). It's a picture of a woman with a story packed with a million short stories that will, with any help from life, make one big long one that some of us will know and love and tell and remember, generation to generation, until she’s a great, great, great, great grandmother, living (for some) only in memory. And maybe not even. Maybe those children a hundred and fifty years from now will be too far away in time and won’t know a thing about her.

I mean, I don’t know a thing about my great great great great grandmother. But chances are, each woman in my ancestry, all the way back, loved her children like we love ours.

But there's one moment that stands out for me about her, and how she loves.

Her car had just pulled into the driveway. I’d been with her baby, my precious grandson, for the day. We were playing peekaboo on a blanket on the grass in the courtyard of their apartment building. She joined us, falling to her knees and scooping her baby into her arms, inhaling him with her whole being.

“Finally,” she said, whispering into his neck, “Now I can breathe.”

It wasn’t “Ugh. I love him and all, but I worked all day and I'm so tired. It wasn’t “Let me put my feet up for a minute and then I’ll come join you.”

It was an immediate all-in embrace that opened my own heart, even just as an onlooker. I will never forget the sense of vicarious release I felt in my body. I will never forget the love that radiated from her heart to his and then into mine.

This is the love that powers everything. This is the love we forget about when we’re in the thick of our troubles. This is the love that I wish for everyone in the world who didn’t get it, or can’t give it.

May we all know, nurture, feel, and show this love everywhere. To everyone. Always.


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