I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson


Grandma told us not to listen to her artichoke of a son and to take those grains of salt and throw them right over our left shoulders to blind the devil.

The other morning I went early to work. I was up at five anyway, and so figured might as well. The office was empty, quiet, and peaceful. No phones were ringing, no coworkers were chatting over cubicle walls. It was just me, stretched out on the floor taking red pen to a galley. I saw the sunrise. I had no idea it came up in that direction. I had no idea I had such a good view of a sunrise from my window.

The year is dwindling. It was a pretty good year. We lost a lot of animals, though, and that’s always sad. It was a year of change, but every year is a year of change when you live with children who grow like there’s no tomorrow. It was a year of finding balance after a year of even bigger change, when M and I both bounced into new jobs. Now we are settled. We know the routines. So do the kids.

We suffered no catastrophes, no overwhelming financial burdens, no medical hardships, unless you count M’s back surgery which was actually a breeze compared to everything that could’ve gone wrong. Nobody failed out of school, nobody got any black eyes, nobody even vomited. Except poor M. (Migraines.) It was a normal year, maybe a bit on the positive side. Around us, families suffered. Some of them terribly. But we were only compassionate observers who baked lasagna and wrote checks when we could.

Why yes, we are boring. The book of my life would be a snoozer. “Does this collection of experiences warrant the expense of paper and virtual space?” I’d have written, if I were writing a review of the book of my life. “The author seems unwittingly charmed by the tediousness of a benign, soft existence. Would be much improved by a death, tornado, or pet rhinoceros.”

And yes, that would be a much better book. But I’m not a fan of death and rhinos. Tornados are fascinating, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to live through one.

Monday evening we made our yearly pilgrimage to LaSalette shrine to see the lights. If rumors are correct, this will be its last year, because numbers (of people, of dollars) are dwindling, just like the remaining hours of the year. We marveled, we slid across ice, we said hello to people we knew. We gazed upon 300 nativity scenes from across the world. We are not religious, but we were happy to a part of all that color. And then, as we walked back to the car, one of us said, “Look!” Above us, a meteoroid was falling to earth. The closest one I’ve ever seen. And it easily outshone the hundreds of thousands of bulbs that dotted that hillside.

Happy New Year, dear ones. Always remember to look: around, above, and inside.

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