When we think about karma, we tend to think of a mysterious force that works to bring about positive or negative payback for the things that we do. So it is that we talk about, say, not stealing someone's parking spot because to do otherwise might bring 'bad karma,' or we say things like 'karma's a bitch' when someone else steals that parking spot that we had our eye on. Which is to say, really, that karma is maybe just another way of talking about the so-called Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Or, be good to people, and surround yourself with good people, and celebrate human goodness, and odds are that things will be, you know, good.
I've been lucky. I have, my whole life, been surrounded by good people, and I'd like to think that that has made all difference in the extent to which I am good (which, yes, is a complicated thing with me, but still) and the extent to which my life has been and continues to be good. That is, if I can say that my life is rich in some pretty decent karma, it's because of the people in it. And so I am thankful - exceedingly, drippingly thankful - for those people.
Five People To Whom I Want/Need To Give Thanks:
1.) My kids. Okay, this is cheating, maybe, because a) it's a two-fer, and b) one's children, duh, everyone is grateful for their children. But I'm not including them here because I am grateful for them (which, yes, DUH); I'm including them here because I am grateful to them. We too rarely thank our children for what they give us, I think; we too rarely stop and say to them, hey, you: thank you so much for making me laugh so much, for giving me so many hugs, for loving me so much, to encouraging me to play, for enabling me in my cookie-dependency. So, to my kids: thanks for all that, and more.
2.) My friends. Too many to count, online and off, so I'll just say that I am - really, truly, sloppily - grateful to everyone in my virtual and on-the-ground communities who plays with and commiserates with and shares their passions with me. But if I had to narrow it down, for the sake of a list like this one? My partner-in-all-sorts-of-crimes-and-miscellaneous-misdemeanors, Katie, deserves a big fat slice of gratitude pie. She's the first person that I go to when I have a hair-brained scheme to plot or a nit to pick or a confession to make, and the last person that you'll ever hear complain about it. She's the person who, only hours after I found out that my dad had died, dropped everything and rented a car and drove out to my house - over an hour away - and plunked herself down to take care of my kids while I fell to pieces. She's also the only person who I let see my house in all its squalid glory, and the only adult human other than my husband and my mother who's allowed to yell at my kids. Thanks, Katie.
3.) My mom. She's the original bad mother, my inspiration in parenting, my inspiration in all things bright and shiny and happy and funny and ridiculous, and, also, the purveyor of the finest cauliflower dumplings your mouth has ever tasted. She knows how awesome she is - she rarely misses an opportunity to remind me how lucky I am to have her - so she'd probably shrug off my thanks, but still: thanks, Mom. Love you.
4.) My husband. I don't thank him enough. I don't even know if there are words adequate to the task of expressing sufficient thanks. He's just... well, he's just him. He makes me laugh, he makes me argue, he makes me blush, he makes me proud, he makes me happy, he makes me dinner. He helped me make two amazing children. Thanks, Mister.
5.) My dad. He's no longer here, but he still deserves my thanks. He may, in fact, deserve it now more than ever. Losing my dad, and going through the processes of coming to terms with that loss and of discovering him anew through that loss - processes that are still ongoing - have taught me more about myself - as a daughter, as a mother, as a survivor of depression, as a writer and a thinker and a dreamer and, most of all, as a person - than anything else I've ever done or undergone. It has been a gift - at times heavier than I thought I could carry - that eclipses all the other gifts he ever gave me, save one: his love. Thank you, Dad. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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