My sweet Jackie and her precious daughter, the one who sat in that magic purple stroller.
It was only four words. Four words that I spoke out loud only by accident. I was newly pregnant. Juan and I were walking in the park. “That’s a nice stroller” I said tangentially to Juan, nodding toward a woman walking just a few feet away pushing a baby in a purple jogging stroller.
“Are you pregnant?” she said.
“Ummm…yeah…”I replied, nervous about putting the words out there publicly. “Just about 11 weeks”.
“Me too” she said “Eight weeks.” She nodded to the little one in the stroller. “They will be just 18 months apart.”
We walked together for a long stretch, down a pathway, around the corner, through the woods, across a street, talking about midwives, and children, a families before we finally said goodbye.
After that day, we waved and said hello when we would bump into each other. Later at the park, our babies, both boys, would sit together in the sandbox while we chatted about being working moms. We would push our kids in the swings and talk.
It was she who told me about the pre-school where I would eventually send Max, and the one who insisted that I sign up on the waiting list even though they were full. When Max got into her son’s class it was she who called to welcome me, sign me up for classroom duties and made me feel welcome. It was at that place where I met Jen and eventually where Jen (and I) found Odette.
And it was she who would eventually become my soul-sister, the mother of my son’s dear friend, the anchor of our neighborhood community. It was she who eventually introduced Max and I to a myriad of people who make our world sparkly and what it is today.
I often wonder what would have happened had I kept my thoughts to myself that day. What would have happened had I not nodded in the direction of the woman with the purple stroller. I’d like to think that I would have found Jackie anyway. That we would have landed around the same campfires gazing up at stars, that we would have still made communal meals, that we would spend hours watching addictive TV or picking lice out of our children’s hair or roaming through Miami Beach through some other path. I like to think that our hearts would have found each other some other way, some other place…but its hard to know for sure.
This weekend I sat on a rock pile with Jackie and Dolores, one of the dear people who Jackie brought into my life. I wrapped my arms around Jackie and held her close, so grateful I was for her simple presence here in my life. We were laughing about life and how it turns out, about Girl Scout troops, about the unexpected.
As I look forward this week to Thanksgiving I am reflecting on all that make me grateful. Not just for the big amazing things, like community and love and friendship and soul sisterhood. But for the small things, the tiny imperceptible decisions that lead to developing these things in our lives. For the coincidences and the tiny moments when the world unknowingly shifts and changes and spins in a new direction. For the words I uttered about a purple jogging stroller that would, unknowingly, begin to weave a strong support net, one that would catch me when I fell out of my marriage and into a new way of being. And for the love I might never known had I not uttered them.
Who would have thought, “That’s a nice stroller” would have been a magic spell, but those four words drew open a door through which love has paraded on through.
Tell me about what tiny little things you are grateful for this week….Tell me a story of something small that opened the door to something big and wonderous. Leave a comment here on the blog or leave us a link to your post on the matter. On Thanksgiving night I will randomly pick one of you to receive a piece of Jackie’s amazing pottery.