I have a small elephant toy from India that always reminds me of what it's like to have a balanced life. The bigger elephant (the mother) is on a pedestal and two smaller elephants (the children) are attached to each side of her with sticks. Because the balance is perfect, I can twirl them around and the mother never falls off the pedestal. It's always been a kind of symbol to me of how I'd like to live my life. But symbols can turn on you. I dropped the toy the other day and now the mother has a broken leg and one of the children lost half a trunk. This has changed the weight and the balance; when I try to twirl it, the mother teeters perilously close to the edge, which feels too much like the kind of life I'm trying to avoid. So I leave that toy and go to my lady-with-red hair-flying-a-kite mobile, the ultimate symbol of freedom. The problem with my mobile is that it hangs too low so that if I don't remember to duck, I crash into it, which kills any sense of freedom. I could hang it higher, but I don't have a hook and to get one I have to go to the store, or God forbid, the basement where I have dozens of plastic bins on shelves all marked "miscellaneous". So I go to my kaleidoscope, which is always a big moment for me, but unfortunately, a few of the little glass pieces dislodged and that makes the patterns they form seem dysfunctional. I grab my never-fail Slinky. I play with it in my hands for a bit and then head to the stairs leading down to my husband's office. But the Slinky doesn't go down the way it's supposed to because we had the stairs rebuilt earlier this year. I am about to give up on joy until I discover that the Slinky works on the front steps if I give it a little help. God knows, we all need a little help these days.