Tuesday, November 29, 2016

grat.i.tude (noun)

She interrupted our dinner conversation and patted my arm,  her big blue eyes boring through me with the little golden rings around the pupils.  "Hey mom!  Mom!"

"What is it, Eleanor?"

"Remember that time when you had cancer?  And you got really sick and almost died?  And anyone else who had your type of cancer died?"

"Yes, Eleanor, I do remember that."

"But you didn't?"

"That's right, I didn't."  I raised my arm to give her a fist bump, her favorite salutation.  She simultaneously cocked her arm for a high five.  So I opened my fist and raised my arm to match her high five, just as she lowered her arm into a fist to match my fist bump.  We all started giggling, and I admitted that I'm pretty much the worst high-fiver ever.  I'm so bad at high-fiving that my brother once gave me lessons to improve my high-fives.  Look at the elbow, he said, not the hand.  My high-fives are better since that time, but clearly there is yet room for improvement.

Ian then told a legendary story about pretend high-five classes that I had to attend, and how he would help me practice so that I could pass my high-five exams.  We all put our hands up over our dinner plates and he performed mock high-five drills, high-fiving Eleanor and my hands in rapid succession.  She could barely hold her hands up, she was laughing so hard.

"Now you, try, mom!"  She wanted to see my high-five prowess as I executed my drills.

I raised my right hand ceremoniously over my right shoulder, licked my lips, and proceeded to methodically hit and occasionally miss her hands.  I arranged my face in mock concentration, furrowing my brow as I pretended to aim for her hands but actually aimed to miss just a bit.

"Mom, you only hit my thumb that time!" she chortled.  "You can't even hit the middle of my hand when you high-five!"  She was now celebrating my terrible high-five abilities, too.  How delightful to share this family inside joke with her.  How marvelous to be silly at dinner while Azalea played the piano with her instructor in the other room.  How fortunate to be full, and to take time to digest over giggles.  How exciting to laugh on an ordinary evening.  An extraordinary evening.  So many extraordinary evenings.