In the grand scheme of things

I am in a library listening to a very animated person read Halloween stories to goblins, supermans, flowers and other spooky and hyper creatures of about three years old. My friend dragged me here as a crash course on what you do with a munchkin that is driving you nuts at home: you dress him up as a scary creature to go to the library so someone else can deal with him.

I watch one of the moms seating next to me cover her newborn with a cloth and change his diaper with one hand in a few seconds.  "That woman is a ninja!" I whispered, impressed, to my friend, which made her choke with her water. "That's probably her second," she explained, whispering too.

As I look around at the smiling group of  monsters and their parents, this got me thinking about what could possibly be worrying these people right now, because I know where my brain is.

I am thinking about the person I had considered hiring that is already giving me a headache and how I can't stop working; that I have to somehow keep making money and staying independent. I also think about the bitch who hit my husband's car whom claimed to her insurance that he was at fault, and now we have a grand to put down on something we didn't do... I sigh, thinking that life is long some days.

Outside the sun is shining and there are sunflowers  bopping with the sea breeze, which I can also see in a distance.

I like sunflowers. They know exactly where the sun is, even if it is overcast. Because my mom often quotes that a "cloud is a cloud; it's not the end of the sun," I have made a tattoo of a sunflower on my lower abs (which is now a huge sunflower because my belly has stretched it) to remind me of that.

This tattoo was done exactly five years ago. Where was I five years ago? I was heartbroken and finalizing a divorce. I had quit a job and started a business. I lived with a hoarder. I had an air mattress and very few possessions. I woke up one day on the floor. The mattress had a hole in it. I swore to myself I would never ever wake up on the floor again. With the little savings I had and a friend with a truck in tow, I bought a mattress and drove back home with it tied it to the car's roof, like a good, tacky latino does.

I got home and flopped myself on that mattress, hugging it with my arms and legs, and stayed that way for a good few hours. While there I promised myself I would start making grown up money. I would never ever depend on a man again. I didn't know how I was going to do it, but I was going to make six figures. A few years later, my accounted was surprised to report to me that I had accomplished that.

Let's rewind to five years before that. Where was I? Terrorists had just attacked the United States a day after I broke up an engagement. My parents kept saying I had no reason to live in another country now that I had no roots and that I should quit everything and go back home. I had school to finish in Virginia and was just offered a job at CNN in Atlanta. I could do either one of those three things: finish college by taking over seventeen credits in one semester in order to graduate with that class, otherwise I'd lose my scholarship, move back to Atlanta sans diploma, or run back home to mommy.

Because I didn't have a computer, I would hide in the basement of the school's library when the guards closed it and finished doing my papers in one of the computer labs. One day, a cleaning person, a man that didn't speak English, entered that room and panicked, I begged, "Please don't tell the guards! Please don't tell the guards!" I had been writing the whole night and still had a good five hours of writing to do. That man left the room, and I thought for sure I was in trouble. That man, however did one of the nicest things any stranger had ever done for me.

He brought me back a cup of coffee and a bagel. Without a word, he left. Because of that man's kindness I decided it was the right thing to stay in school.

I can go back another five years and now I am in Brazil, at the end of my teen years. I am either a blonde, or a redhead, or I just shaved my head. I can't remember. My identity was all over the place at that point. I probably had a boyfriend I didn't really care about. I was singing in a band that my parents didn't approve. My worries back then were probably about the fact I hated high school and wanted to go live abroad and get away for a while. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life.

Fifteen years forward, we are back in the library of a small beach town in California and while the creatures sing about their skeleton bones, I surreptitiously check my emails on smart phone.

My friend just gave birth. She tells me in an email about the long, painful and eventful pregnancy, her worries, and the labor.

But then she tells me about the first time she saw her boy and how suddenly she burst into uncontrollable tears, and how she would do everything again just to feel that high. She says no orgasm, no wine, no chocolate, and no Pumpkin Spice Latte (we are both fans) can take you to that place.

With that I turn off my phone. In the grand scheme of things, the bumps in the road seem so small compared to moments like that.

I went home and did one of the bravest things I have done in the last few years: after numerous phone calls I have finally disabled my business website.

PS: the sunflower in the picture just bloomed in our backyard.

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