I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I don’t spot the sweet moments. I can get so caught up in the business of living that I fail to look around me and see the details that are more than noteworthy — they’re the tiny things that I’m sure, in the end, will be what matters most.
I’m trying hard to be better about this. To just stop when I feel myself rushing through my day or spouting off a quick “no” to a kid’s request because it’s not in my schedule. To remember, especially right now, that the tiny things are what matter to them — not the laundry or my calendar or whatever pressing item is on my to-do list that day. Sometimes I simply have to s.t.o.p. (I acknowledge I am not great at this. Everyone realizes I’m not great at this. Pinch me if you catch me doing it.)
A few months ago Bear and I were headed out of church after her choir rehearsal. It had been a long day already, volunteering in the rehearsal had worn me down, and I knew I still had a dishwasher to unload and lunches to pack. So when Bear commented that she didn’t know there was an organ recital that afternoon and asked if we could go for a while I automatically told her no, we didn’t have time. I was literally midstride, five feet from the door, when I stopped so suddenly that she passed by. She looked back at me and I apologized for being in a hurry, saying of course we could go listen for a bit. She grinned.
So we snuck in through the back doors of the sanctuary. I should admit that I’m not a huge fan of the organ; I’ve always been more of a piano/any-other-instrument-on-the-planet kind of girl. But the organ had been centered up front and set at an angle so you were sort of looking at the person’s back while he played, and it was pretty incredible to see his hands flying over the keys and his feet working the pedals. We had probably listened for two minutes when Bear leaned over and whispered, “Is this it?” and I whispered back yep, an organ recital is when different musicians play their pieces on (what else did she think they would be playing?) the organ. She looked at the young man then looked back at me and said, “I’m good!” We (quietly) high-tailed it out of there.
Two minutes. That’s all the time it took out of my precious schedule to share something new and different with my daughter. She talked about that recital for ten minutes on the ride home and it was the first thing she shared with BrightSide when we got there. Just stopping and taking a breath made a difference in her whole day.
Last week we had one of those days when I actually recognized the beauty of a moment while we were in it. We’d finished dinner one night, and Bear had elicited a promise from BrightSide that we’d make s’mores afterward. We have a fire pit in the backyard but the thought of building a fire out there made us (the grown ups) mutter “ugh,” especially seeing as we’d grilled for supper. So BS fires up some charcoal, the kids bring out the supplies, and we pulled up chairs to the grill so we could roast marshmallows over the flames. (On a side note, BrightSide brought the necessary ingredients home to make the goodies, and he’d bought a bag of the most HUMONGOUS marshmallows I’d ever seen. Seriously, they are the size of a baby’s fist. They’re obviously designed for this purpose, though once you build your s’more it’s so gigantic that you have to be able to unhinge your jaw like a snake to fit it in your mouth. Good times.) As we’re sitting on our folding chairs, holding marshmallows over the charcoal grill, I made some crack about redneck s’mores and we laughed until our bellies hurt. (Apologies to the rednecks. Or friends of rednecks. Or people sensitive to the term rednecks.)
The kids were up past their bedtime, and when we looked up at the sky I swear you could see every single star up there. T-man was having the best time setting his marshmallow on fire so he could watch it burn, and Bear giggled hysterically while I shrieked and yanked mine out every time a flame jumped up to touch it. (Because not all of us like charred marshmallows, you know.) Phoebe was in dog heaven, snuffling around our feet to find the graham cracker crumbs that dropped as we tried to eat our treats.
And as I looked around at this silliness — the sticky s’mores with their enormous marshmallows, the kids dancing around with their roasting sticks in the warm night air, T-man throwing a ball with BrightSide — I realized that this is it. THIS is the kind of moment that matters. Not the laundry and the calendar and the housecleaning and such (though I accept that stuff has to get done or we’ll end up on one of those tv intervention shows). THIS is what really matters.
I definitely want more of this. Now that I’m learning to recognize it, maybe it will be easier for me to stop and take it all in.