1. Instead of a funeral, I had six months of the first year of my marriage in a nursing home. And that was an awesome alternative.
2. I know what double pneumonia sounds like, how to detect deep vein thrombosis, what grand mal seizures look like, and how to handle each of them calmly. I've also learned how to routinely tell doctors and nurses who ask that, no, I'm not in the medical field, even though I know enough to discuss conditions at a professional level.
3. I have no problem caring for human being's physical needs long after infancy. It's not as gross as everyone thinks. In fact, it's an honor and in some sense sacred.
4. Sweating the small stuff is dumb, and everyone does it. We all need to give ourselves and everyone else a break. People matter so much more than any undone thing.
5. Everyone's drama is valid. Everyone deserves compassion and kindness.
6. Being direct and firm is the best way to achieve needed change, even if it makes me feel like a bitch. Men who communicate this way are respected. I should be respected too.
7. Gratitude doesn't negate hardship, but it helps to dull the blade of trial. There's always something to be grateful for, especially for all those people who step in and help when I tell them I don't need help. (I do.)
8. There is plenty of room to find humor in awful circumstances. Dark humor is fantastic. If what we laugh at makes others uncomfortable it's because we're holding up a mirror and they can't bear to look.
9. I've been an able-ist. I didn't think I was, but I was.
10. There is nothing in my life so pressing for me to accomplish that it should take me from my husband and children when their needs are unmet. If I never write a book, or publish my best poems, it simply won't matter. Period. I'd rather be remembered for how well I love than for how well I write.
11. It's okay for me to get a pedicure, write a blog post, take photographs, go on a walk, see a movie alone, eat dinner and read poetry solo, or to take an entire day off from filling everyone else's buckets when mine is empty.