What counts.

When we are little, we can point so easily to that spot where we want to be, who we want to be.   We trust our instincts and our pointer fingers to know what really counts to us.

The world is our oyster, and the seas are wide open.

where in the world

As we get older, we find out how fragile is this sense of clarity.

There are so many opportunities to put on masks, and to hide beneath the labels we’ve been given.  And the numbers start adding up.

flags on a mask

As the numbers begin to creep in, we have to make conscious decisions about what really counts to us, amidst the numeral bombardment we have to navigate.

We get a series of increasingly complex numbers throughout our lives, beginning with our apgar score.

 The numbers: our age, birthdate, social security number, license plate number; the number of pounds we weigh, the numbers that make up our waist size and our salary, the numbers that describe our bank accounts and our blood counts, our debts and our cholesterol levels, GNP, Air Quality Index, population, mph, mpg, IQ, SAT’s, ACT’s, NECAP’s, the number of friends, as declared by Facebook.  Can we quantify everything?

We see numbers when we look up,

numbers in the sky

and  when we look down.  There are crazy amounts of numbers that slither towards us at every moment.

hopscotch snake

When we are seven, the numbers are simpler.  We can hold onto them and cradle them tenderly in our sticky little grasp.

hold on to seven

Although she might flirt with nine

flirting with nine

or look suspiciously and covetously towards sixteen,

sixteen covet

she is cool with seven, as long as she can look back now and again and remember she is  not out there  living inside this big number all on her own.

not alone

At seven, she can still name  her securities. (Nicole told me to stand under the sign and point to myself  for a picture so that she will never forget what her security looks like)


At seven she can count the numbers of monster high dolls she has collected,

monster high

and the numbers of pages to read before its time for lights out, and the number of minutes to soak up her big brother before he leaves.


At sixteen, he looks at his safety net with much more aloofness and  frequently a hefty dose of disdain.

It is all an important part of the process of growing up and venturing beyond  the safer numbers into adult life where he will  create his own adventure, security sources, and numbers.


At sixteen, he can count the number of goalie gloves that need washing and drying before he  hops on a plane to travel overseas to a soccer tournament,



or the number of  fractures in his nose after a tackle.

(four again)

broken nose

He can count the  number of times his parents called him to be sure he was okay.


As parents, we can count the number of years before we can’t hold him anymore .


elias graduation

We can count the  number of years we’ve been married

and the number of double chins developed and  hairs lost and grayed during those twenty years.


Throughout our lives, we can count the number of fish we caught as well as the ones we lost,


the number of friends to whom we bid farewell, and the number of friends we loved.


the number of bare branches and the numbers of flowers blooming in our lives.

how many flowers

We can count the number of times we complain about our work;  and the number of times we get lost in our work.


We can count the infinite number of burgers sold and consumed on this finite planet.

how many burgers

We can count the number of times our kids push our buttons, and savor the  number of hours before they fly away.

attached at the hip

There is so much to count.  Some of the numbers count, some of them don’t.

What are you going to count today?

junie blue


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