Gratitude


Part One

For mid-October in Philadelphia, it has been cold. The temperatures have been in the forties, and there has been a lot of rain. Cold rain.

This cold, rainy morning in the shower, at 5:40, I was going through my ritual of mentally and emotionally preparing myself for the day. I asked myself to name something I am grateful for. I struggled.

All I could come up with was being grateful that A. had a better day yesterday than the day before. He had had a happy day, all excited about losing another tooth.

I tried something else.

I was grateful that the only problem found at my dentist appointment was the need to be flossing better.

I was just going through the motions.

When I pulled into A.'s school, the security guard waved me in as usual. He was standing out there with his hood up, his face almost disappearing within it. I suddenly realized that it has been warm and sunny since school started. I thought about how he will be out here in January, too.

In A.'s class, his teacher was out sick for the second day. Other than missing her, everything was as usual. When I asked if they needed help getting A. settled, there was no need. They were covered. Greetings, smiles, energy in abundance. J., an assistant, told me she has been working there 10 years, since she was 20. She wants to be there forever.

On my way out, I thanked the security guard, and asked him how he was holding up on such a nasty day. He simply replied smiling, "this is what we do."

Yes, I thought. You keep a whole school of blind and visually-impaired students safe.

On the drive home, on winding, wet Lincoln Drive, the traffic suddenly slowed, and the car ahead of me came to a quick, skidding stop. Just coming around a curve, drivers were confronted with an overturned car. Someone had stopped to help, and was talking on a cell phone. I followed other cars, carefully making my way around the scene, muttering and gasping as I went. Emergency vehicles were on their way.

I kept thinking about the security guard and the good cheer of the school staff. I wanted to spend the morning baking cookies to show them my appreciation.

It was tempting, but there was the list of chores waiting for me on the kitchen counter. I promised myself that even if it had to wait until Christmas, I would do it.

Part Two

Today I baked these pumpkin scones. Two dozen of them.

Some are for O.'s school snacks. I ate two at lunchtime, sitting on the patio steps in the sunshine.

They are perfect. Not too sweet or dry. The dough was easy to work with.

I brought some in for A.'s classroom staff at pick-up. I put them on the table, saying only that I had been baking that morning. No one but me will remember that rainy day 10 days ago.

Cookies still seem right for the security guard. Another morning I will bake them.