March 20, 2023

You wrap a cuff around an arm and say, “tight arm hug,” when you wish you were giving that little body a giant bear hug

You give a shot, put a smiley face band-aid on top of it, and then pull a green dinosaur out of the treasure chest. His mouth drops open, he looks down at the matching dinosaur on his t-shirt, clutches the toy to his chest, and grins. Tears still shining in his eyes, he laughs when I make a joke about the silly dinosaur.

“Silly dinosaur,” he repeats.

You wave goodbye, when you wish you could say, “It’s not your fault . . . you did nothing wrong . . . this world has been bad to you . . .”

And you shift gears to the next patient. A blood draw. I look at the order and grab my supplies.

When I walk into the room, mom looks over to me from her son’s side, and she smiles. “See,” she says, “it’s Anna Grace. She’s gonna tell you it’s ok . . .” 

I realize that, just over a week ago, I had done this for his older sibling.

He was not exactly reassured by his mom’s cheerful reaction, though. He stared at the tube and gasped: “You have to fill THAT?”

I nodded. “I promise you, though, it’s not as much as it looks like.”

Then, a few moments later, “That’s it!” I say.

“Huh? That’s it? I mean, yeah, ‘course . . . that was no big deal”

My whole body feels like it’s grinning. I love my job.

I step outside for my lunch break, my mind repeating the day’s most-used reassurances.

Tranquila. Tranquila. Hay menos dolor si no estás nerviosa . . .  ¿confías en mí? puedes confiar en mí   

Looking up to the heavens, I see a stunning contrast between the cerulean blue of the sky and the springtime-green of the expansive oak

I breathe in the beauty, and I breathe out the words,

Confio en usted.


March 12, 2023

“I feel rather Princess-Bride-ish at the moment,” I remarked. Jenn, smiled and nodded. “She hugged me?” she suggested.

Pleasantly surprised at how well she knows me, I smiled back. and watched the little one bounding onto the next object of her affection. As we did a repeat of the last few lines of the closing hymn, she had run up onto the stage, barreling towards me and wrapping her arms around my legs with a joyous, “Anna!” 

I realized that even the sound of my own name coming out of her mouth surprised me a bit.

“I’m used to being invisible,” I said. Jenn raised her eyebrows a bit. “Well, maybe not invisible . . . but not the kind of person people get excited to see. I’m more functional.

She let out one of her great head-tilted-back, gleefully un-self-conscious bursts of laughter.

“What? I’m serious!” I insisted.

She attempted to regain her composure, without success.

I sighed, reminded that, for as long as I can remember, I have had the gift of managing to be highly entertaining to others without intending to. My attempts at humour are effective only for my own entertainment; I will continue, mind you, to laugh, heartily, at my own jokes!

Later in the day, I found myself replaying the interaction in my head, and wondered why I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It occurred to me that I’m not even sure when or why I settled on this “fact” about myself. But I don’t think I’m alone in having a set of ideas about who I am and who I am not, oftentimes thinking of them as unalterable truths.

I do think there is truth to the fact that I do not have the sort of personality that draws all living things to me. I see this trait on a daily basis in my own husband.

But I should also recognize that there are people in this world who smile at the sight of me, just as I cannot help grinning widely at the delight of glimpsing a face I love. 

There may never be clamoring crowds around me, but I have no need of many. 

I have what I need-a significant few.

A very significant one of those significant few strolled around a botanical garden this past week. I could not help but smile widely at the “face” of this beauty. One of those things I tell myself is that I do not like showy things. I’m a daisy person. But the truth is that, as much as I do love a daisy, I also adore the “showy” elegance of a rose. And the vibrant showiness of my blooming tulips. And the brilliant cluster of daffodils on my table. And … and … and … 😉