Lucy Finds Her Thumb and 10,000 Joys

Lucy finds her thumb

Hey, Lucy, what’s that on your toe? — My 3-month-old granddaughter, Lucy, sometimes accidentally pulls out her pacifier and then manages to find her thumb to suck. It goes like this – She starts to fuss, pulls out the pacifier, finds the thumb, loses the thumb, cries, I give her a pacifier, and so on… Sometimes I show her: Here! Here is your thumb! And thus, within the microcosm of one baby, we find the macrocosm of joy united with suffering. Little girl, I give to you: 10,000 joys, 10,000 sorrows.

Illustration by Mary MacGowan, pen and watercolor pencil and a collaged butterfly
10,000 Joys, 10,000 Sorrows is an old Buddhist saying

2 comments on “Lucy Finds Her Thumb and 10,000 Joys

  1. Teresa Cleveland Wendel says:

    I encouraged my babes to suck their thumbs. My younger sis, on the other hand, suffered for many years because of our mother’s diabolical efforts to cure her of that soothing habit.

    • i had one thumb sucker, loved it. i wish the others had. your poor sis…i’m sure my mom did the same thing with us kids. i used to suck my braids, too. mom would check them to see if they were wet, and she’d be pretty mad!

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