Zoe was standing right next to me in her walker, balanced and ready to scoot onto the sidewalk. Olivia, her big sister, was alongside her waiting for my signal to go. Turning my back for less than a minute,I grabbed my bag from the passenger seat of the car, shutting and locking the door. And at that moment, I heard it. “Wham!” .
I spun back around to find Zoe , slightly tangled , but unharmed, laying on the ground. She had fallen back on her walker. Olivia’s arms were outstretched beneath her, cushioning her from the hot, hard ground of the cement parking lot. “ I caught her, Mommy” said Olivia . Her voice was slightly shaken but she was grinning. She looked down into Zoe’s surprised face as Zoe reached out her arms for her big sister.
In my kitchen, on the refrigerator, hangs our medicine chart. There are 12 boxes to be checked daily. Twelve times each day that require discipline, patience, organization and a few minutes of prep. I used to be resentful of this chart, the intrusion and hold it had on my life. Until my mother pointed out that maybe I should instead,be thankful. That in the same way I appreciate Zoe’s 7 weekly therapy appointments, I should be thankful that I can give my children something to help protect them from a progressive disease , to protect Zoe from experiencing more seizures, and protect Olivia from the symptoms of asthma. In that moment with my mother, it changed. And now I am thankful that I can do something to protect my daughters.
The other night, I was busy in the kitchen. My body in perpetual motion, my mind concentrating on the tasks at hand, when my husband called to me from the patio. A storm had just passed- he was outside grilling fish for dinner.“ Come quick” , he said. From the sound of his voice, I thought it might be a passing airplane or something to see in the desert behind our house. “ It’s a rainbow, come here.” He urged. Still distracted by the chores I had set aside, I went. I looked and just barely ,could I see the arc of colors streaking the sky. I went to grab my camera.
Later in the late night quiet , I studied the image of that rainbow on my computer screen. Just faintly, you can see the rainbow against the backdrop of the desert sky. I was thinking about Zoe’s fall, the conversation with my mother, the letter I had to write to Olivia’s school about her illness, the conversations about new tests and doctors appointments for Zoe.
I remembered then, something I once read about rainbows. How they only come out after the rain, and you have to be watching for them. That you have to be looking up, searching the sky.. because they are only visible for a short while.
I realized then… The moment I saw Zoe reach for her sister after her fall, the conversation with my mother, listening to her gentle reminder.. Both of these instances….. were like a rainbow.
A treasure, that I might have easily missed….. had I not been looking.