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1. Strong pelvic floor muscles

2. A bespoke suit. Or a bespoke dress. Or a bespoke outfit or any sort. The word bespoke is really cool to say and I love the idea of someone taking my measurements and making something that’s just for me.

3. Never having to enter a password or retrieve a password or reset a password ever again. Ever.

4. Migraine meds that always work. Asking for an end to migraines would be too greedy, obviously.

5. Insurance companies that always cover everything without first denying your claim or pretending you don’t have coverage that you know you do or deciding they know more about your health than you and your doctor do. Excellent health insurance for everyone. That includes vision and dental because eyes and teeth are actually parts of your body.

6. One remote that enables you to find and watch all of the shows you have access to through any device or streaming service, which you can operate entirely on your own without asking your kids or husband for help. And the remote never gets lost. If it falls between the sofa cushions, some mechanism ejects it automatically and returns it to the coffee table.

7. 500 more square feet of house. I know it would be too much to ask to have a new house, but I would love just a bit more space so I could have a room of my own in which to work or read or meditate or hide. A room with a door. That no one else claims as their own. Or leaves their crap in. Ha! Even if I had such a room other people’s stuff would inevitably end up there. That is the way of the world.

8. Bras whose hooks never get bent or stab you, and are always easy to take on and off, and that fit well and are flattering. And that you don’t have to shop for! Bespoke bras.

9. Moisturizer that is appropriate for my skin type. That I don’t have to shop for. Bespoke moisturizer!

10. A family pet whose species my family can agree on adopting. And who comes with free food and meds and fully paid vet bills for at least the first year. A pet that everyone will love to snuggle. Although I would prefer to snuggle babies from time to time. But I’m pretty sure the family will not agree to adopt any babies.

People keep asking what I want for Christmas. This is probably too much to ask, especially with Christmas the day after tomorrow. So I’d be happy with some soft, warm socks. Or chocolate chip cookies. Or a hug. I’m easy to please.

Today Zoe’s school had a lockdown drill.

They warned parents this would be happening, in a note sent home last week. So I told Zoe there would be a drill, kind of like a fire drill but different. She doesn’t know about what happened in Newtown. She doesn’t need to know. I told her the drill was in case there was an emergency. “Like a hurricane or a tornado?” she asked. “Right,” I said. She doesn’t need to know about shooters or terrorists or bombs.

For her, it’s scary enough to be ushered into the coatroom in your classroom, see your teacher shut and lock the door, and turn off the lights. Being told to sit very quietly and very still in a small pitch black room is pretty scary for a kindergartener, even if you have no idea why you might be having such a drill.

I asked her if she held hands with one of her friends while they sat quietly in the dark coatroom. She said no, because none of her friends were nearby. I asked if the teachers said anything. She said the teacher’s aide said “Shhh…” a few times, and that her teacher whispered periodically that they were doing a good job and there were only a few minutes left.

She said she almost cried, but she didn’t cry, and neither did any of her classmates.

On the way to pick her up from school I was listening to radio coverage of the explosions and casualties at the Boston Marathon. Wondering what kind of a world we live in where marathon runners and spectators are maimed and killed by bombs and where our schools have to practice in case a heavily armed and deeply disturbed person comes along, which no longer seems as unlikely as it used to.

So on the way home from school I asked Zoe if she wanted to learn something to help her be less scared if they had to do another lockdown drill. Of course I also thought or, if, God forbid, you’re actually ever locked down. But I didn’t say that part.

I taught her a modified version of the lovingkindness meditation I learned from Sharon Salzberg in a class Randy and I took years ago at the National Cathedral.

I told her that first she could try to calm herself down by repeating

May I be happy

May I be healthy

May I be safe

May I have peace

as many times as she wanted, in her head, taking deep breaths between phrases. Then I told her she could think of someone she loved, and picture that person, and say to herself

May you be happy

May you be healthy

May you be safe

May you have peace

as many times as she wanted, still taking deep breaths.

Then I suggested she could think of a person she knows but maybe not that well, and do the same for him or her. Then she could expand it to her class, or her school, or any group of people. And finally, she could think of wishing those things for the whole world.

May everyone be happy

May everyone be healthy

May everyone be safe

May everyone have peace

She liked this idea.

She told Randy about it at dinnertime.

We practiced it at bedtime. She sent lovingkindness to her brother still hanging out in my belly. To one of her friends at school. To her teacher. To me.

She seemed so relaxed and peaceful. I felt relaxed and peaceful, despite the horrifying events of today. Despite the stressful day we had yesterday in which many things went very badly and resulted in me feeling incredibly frustrated and disappointed in Zoe. Despite the past few weeks in which there has been a steadily escalating cloud of anxiety enveloping our house. Each of us in our own way has been freaking out to varying degrees on any given day about the imminent arrival of our baby boy.

How can you help but be a little on edge when you know your entire life is about to change irrevocably? Even if it’s changing in a way you’ve longed for for years. A good friend shared her insight that it made sense that we would be mourning the loss of our little three-person family even as we are thrilled for the person who will make it four. For six years we’ve been us and now we have this remarkable little girl who is so spectacular and loving and becoming so independent. And we’re starting over? It seems crazy.

So it’s been tense at times.

Thank goodness for lovingkindness meditation. While we were practicing tonight Zoe observed, “this is kind of like praying,” and I responded that yes, it’s kind of like that. To me it amounts to the same thing.

Amid a sea of uncertainty, I am grateful that I could give her this gift. And that in the process I can remind myself of the power of lovingkindness as well. I can always use the practice.

I was back on my mat tonight, returning to yoga for the first time in a while. I didn’t mean to take a break, because I love yoga and always like how it makes me feel, but things happen and I haven’t been to class in months.

Yesterday I went to the gym. Also for the first time in months, but with the slightly more legitimate excuse of plantar fasciitis and a podiatrist who told me to stay off my feet. So my foot is better now.

What motivated me to get my tush in gear is my birthday, which is now mere hours away. If I don’t take care of myself, who will? No one else can give me that gift. I don’t have time to exercise. My life is stressful, with emphasis on the stress and the full. But I know what happens when you don’t take care of yourself, and it isn’t pretty. I have a ways to go before I could claim to be living some sort of healthful lifestyle, but I’ve got to start somewhere.

Where I’m starting now is giving this gift to myself. Starting tomorrow I am committing to meditating every day for the next month. It may be through yoga or just sitting down with those beads that are shoved to the back of a drawer. It may be five minutes of silence or a guided meditation or insight meditation with Sharon Salzberg on cd. But I will do something, whether or not I’m in the mood or exhausted. I’m giving that gift to myself of making time for peace, because no one else can do it for me.

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