Long Story Short: Beauty in the Small Things

What you are reading is not the column I wrote for today’s newspaper. I was proud of the column I had written. It may have been one of the best ever.

But that column is gone.

Gone into the ether. I could re-paint the grizzly scene of its disappearance, but trust in knowing that I brought in the experts to help in my search of my hard drive. They came to the same conclusion I did.

That column is gone.

You’d think I could re-create it. You’d think I could remember just enough of the phrases and sentiments to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

But I can’t.

Sure, I’ve got the first line. It was, “Dear Ellen DeGeneres:”

There was another bit about the way I will always remember Piper as a child.

Not that I really thought Ellen would care very much about Piper specifically, but I was trying to make a point.

Piper is six. She is our youngest daughter. She is cute beyond reason. The sheer joy of her existence often paralyzes any good sense I ever had.

And such was the moment not long ago when I watched her.

Standing on her tippy toes.

In blue and green striped knee leggings and a pink shirt.

With her naval showing.

Tying knots into the roll of red and white ribbon I bought for her hair.

To last year’s Halloween pail.

Hoisting her makeshift dumbwaiter over the balcony’s rail.

To deliver her dad his wallet in the backyard.

All to avoid a trip back down the stairs.

In the years to come when Piper realizes her parents are no longer cool, that little flash of time will be etched in my mind. It was a moment that sums up so much of who she is. Happy. Resourceful. Silly. A problem solver.

Six years ago this week, I first saw Piper’s face. Our wait to adopt her from China had lasted longer than the gestation of an elephant. Two months after getting her photograph via e-mail, we traveled to the other side of the world to get her.

I rarely think of that arduous wait now, but I often reflect on the beautiful piece of the universe adoption has brought into our lives and hearts.

What does Ellen DeGeneres have to do with any of this?

Not long ago, I saw Meg Ryan on Ellen talking about the process of adopting her daughter from China. Ryan traveled to China with an entourage including a nurse. Ellen was mesmerized by the tale and Ryan’s stories of her daughter – nearly as cute as the one about Piper above. Ellen finished the segment with the line, “I need to get me one of those.”

Ellen may not meet the new qualifications to adopt from China, but there are plenty of kids out there who need good homes. If Ellen wants to adopt, I believe she could do so – even considering the little problem she had when she adopted the puppy not so long ago.

She seemed to realize just how daunting the task could be. Adopting is not for the faint of heart.

But, she should also know that the end-result could be a child who puts together outfits of green and blue stripes and pink shirts and ties ribbon to an old jack-o-lantern to make a dumbwaiter.

I had said this next part much better in my original column, but the point is: When you get right down to it, can life get any better than that?

Jan Risher is a writer and working mother who lives in Lafayette with her family including her husband, two daughters, one dog, one cat and 79 koi. E-mail her at jan@ janrisher.com.

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