Monday, September 28, 2009

The Zen of Dr. Seuss

I love Dr. Seuss. Ol’ Ted managed to impart so much wisdom in his children’s books. His illustrations have inspired me. When I was a kid, I thought I would grow up to write and illustrate children’s books. I am sad to say that my dream did not come to pass, but my childhood was more in the category of science-fiction/horror, and I had to channel that creative energy into staying (relatively) sane.

As a mom, though, I simply adore reading Dr. Seuss to my daughter. At bedtime, after the jammies are on and the vitamin consumed, teeth brushed and room restored to order, she picks out the book(s) to be read. In the past couple weeks, while I’ve been struggling with depression, she’s been selecting Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? along with other Dr. Seuss books.

Toward the end, there’s a page that kind of chokes me up:

“Thank goodness for all of the things you are not!
Thank goodness you’re not something someone forgot,
and left all alone in some punkerish place
like a rusty tin coat hanger hanging in space.”

I think that those lines kind of hit too close to home, but what I have to remind myself of, when I get sad about my past, is that THAT ISN’T MY LIFE ANYMORE! It does me no good whatsoever to compare myself to other people who seem to have sailed past the things that tripped me up and left me floundering. I can’t concentrate on feeling like I’m too far behind in some kind of race. I survived my past, and that is the only part I need to remember.

All I need to do is go in and (try to) wake up my beautiful daughter, or turn the tap and get clear water, or go for a walk on my own two legs, or visit the library.
I have to remind myself how very, very fortunate I am NOW, in this moment, today.

I didn’t remain in the horrible place I once lived in (figuratively, not location specific). I got myself out. There are so many people who live in desperate, filthy, violent, dangerous, fragile conditions. People who have no joy, no beauty, no leisure, no choices, no peace. I am not one of them. I didn’t give up, and I didn’t drink the koolaid, and I didn’t pass it on.

If I have to carry the damn book around with me for a month, I guess that’s what I’m going to do. It has made me feel better than a lot of other things have.

“When you think things are bad, when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad… You should do what I do!
Just tell yourself, Duckie, you’re really quite lucky!
Some people are much more…Oh, ever so much more…
Oh, muchly much-much more unlucky than you!"


  1. snif- I love Dr. Seuss too...and at one point in my life (and possibly right now if pressed) I could recite How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham by heart, the 3 am more times than I care to remember.
    And every Christmas, when I'm beaten down by the holiday jerks, I remember that "Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store...maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more...."
    You're a great person and a great mom and I'm proud to 'know' you.
    And I would like you in the rain.
    And in the dark. And on a train.
    And in a car. And in a tree.
    You are so good, so good, you see!

  2. This was honest and brilliant. Yay you.

  3. I got such chills reading this! What a wonderful post! Dr. Seuss is a brilliant man, that's for sure. Green Eggs And Ham is a fave of mine, although my own Sam I Am couldn't care less about that one.

    I'm so happy for you!

  4. Fantastic post. I love the imagery of the single coat hanger - that is beautiful and I honestly didn't realize Dr. S. had it in him.

    Chin up, girl. You are a strong & self-sufficient woman, a fantastic mother, and a great friend. Your whole life is in front of you!


  5. My life's not exactly where I had pictured it would be, but you don't have to look far to find someone with bigger problems than yourself.

  6. Frank's right. Just look at me. Don't you feel better now? ;)

    Hope you cheer up soon. Depression is a bitch on four wheels. But all we can do is keep on keepin' on. "When you're going through hell, keep going," as they say. Hang in there, MM. You are loved.

  7. I understand where you are coming from and I needed the reminder to remain thankful and facing forward:) Whatever doesn't kill us, makes us stronger..cliched all to hell I know, but there is a strong truth there. Just know you are not alone!

  8. I thought I had read all the Dr Seuss books, but I missed this gem.

    I love this quote:

    Thank goodness for all of the things you are not!

    What a great perspective.