Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Little Things

I almost always leave my bedroom curtains pulled tightly closed. On a beautiful day I throw them open as I walk past, but if I'm sleeping, reading, feeding my baby or actually spending time in my room I close them. I prefer the privacy, the intimate "nest like" feel of a room with closed curtains, especially when there is a baby in the house and nap time occurs at all hours. But, today I opened them and sat down on my bed to read. When I looked up I noticed that across the vast highway of suburban rooftops I could see the navy silhouette of the Rocky Mountains on the horizon. The face of the Rocky Mountain range from my bedroom window! How had I forgotten?

On Sunday I didn't receive a Mother's Day card from Jeremy. I didn't get so much as a hastily scrawled note or a mushy gushy greeting card. I expected this; we have been married over twelve years now and Jeremy is as likely to write down his feelings as I am likely to pick up a hammer and build him a gift. But later in the  afternoon as I sat in a camping chair in our backyard at the "Fancy Nancy Salon" receiving a mashed banana and honey facial (Kate), while having my hands massaged with lotion and my hair combed (Elisabeth), and my toe nails painted (Madeleine), Jeremy made homemade pizza. He set the table with fancy, bottled root beer. Then he put the kids to bed and did the dishes. Jeremy was in the kitchen for hours and while that is normal for some men, Jeremy usually logs about fifteen minutes a week in the kitchen, if I'm lucky. So, what might have been unremarkable in other families felt like a grand occasion at our house.

The paper taped up in the background reads "Our Motto: Your Wish Is Our Command"

My sister said to me today, Mother's Day, like birthdays, is often hit and miss. Some years are good, others...not so much! We have lived through our fair share of less than desirable Mothers' Days around here. And if I was hoping to sleep eight hours uninterrupted, I would've been disappointed. If I'd expected my girls to get through church without fighting or the house to stay clean, Mother's Day would have been a terrible disappointment. But marriage and family life have taught me to recognize the beauty of offerings and gifts in every form, including the collection of "sparkly rocks" that Elisabeth dragged in from the yard to present to me. There are so many ways to say I love you. 

As I stepped inside after finishing my afternoon at the "salon" I watched the intense concentration on Jeremy's face as he flew around the kitchen, barely missing the leaning towers of dirty dishes as he chopped olives, stirred the pizza sauce, and kneaded the dough. He is a total stress case in the kitchen. But, I don't believe there is anything my husband will ever say, or write, that will be louder and more eloquent than his actions.

Now one final thought: Yesterday I woke up unreasonably early. I fed my baby. I went to the gym. I came home and showered, made my bed, and started waffles for breakfast. One at a time my girls appeared in the doorway of the kitchen acting shy toward me, as if approaching a house guest instead of their mother. What are you doing? Madeleine asked, confused by finding me showered and dressed before seven in the morning. Waffles? said Elisabeth, her eyes bugging out. And sweetest of all, Kate said to me, This is the kind of morning that makes me feel happy to be awake.  

I have buckets and buckets full of anecdotes about this week's family dramas, work pressures, personal disappointments as well as your typical parenting woes and teething infant banalities. But not today. Today I woke up determined to be watchful for the small and simple ways my life is beautiful. And sometimes, in fact most of the time, it's the little things.

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