I just finished the last pretty word in a lovely book (One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp) while sipping a hot, fresh peppermint mocha, clinging to – or savoring at least – the last sweet minutes of the holiday.
I always think I’m doing okay at life, taking it in and relishing its good things like I mean to. I even take pride in how often I avoid its speed and chaotic filling up of every single day. But then a holiday comes, four quiet days to do only the things I love most, and it’s sort of like seeing them again after a really, really long sleep.
Oh, hello, tall boy. You’re twelve now, and I knew that – I noticed after all, when you first came into life and every anniversary of that day since. Still, it’s nice to look at you, watch you savor your happy things as I savor mine.
And speaking of my happiness, hello, dark table. You’re the largest of the prettiest things I notice at home. You make supper better. And birthday cake. And the rounded edges of folded shirts and pajamas. I like your rich color and your still-brand-newness, which reminds me we just don’t see you enough.
I haven’t seen you in a while. That’s what I say to the top of the bright white dryer after sorting and putting away the heaps of things that have piled there. And what a useful white shelf sits above you when it’s not crammed with things that don’t belong. Little white vase and white flower, photo of my sisters in a frame, detergent, softener, and scrub brush: Welcome to my zen.
I’ve been meaning to finish you for a while, Ms. Voskamp. And you didn’t disappoint. This post is sort of inspired by you really. A list of noticed things. And a bright hello to the books unfinished on my computer or not yet begun in a folder marked ideas. I had time to think of you this weekend – big, long quiet after late, creative nights and long, restful sleep. I like you again, very much actually. I’ve planned our whole future together. I hope you cooperate, but I’m not worried. You’re my favorite work.
Hello boy of ten. I see those eyes and how they’re aging you. A child’s are found about half-way chin-to-crown. Did you know that? Yours aren’t there anymore. And they crinkle when you smile. And they’re Papa’s. Except they’re not when I take the time to look. They’re yours. All and only yours. Just like your comedy and your heart.
My bright, bright sunshine of five. I see your cheek before I press my own to it, praying I’ll never forget how that feels. Your hand still wants mine when we walk, and I love that. You’re right, you know. I said, “Will you always stay little for me?” And on my lap you said, “I think not.” And your brave and blatant fineness with leaving me someday made me almost as happy as the fact that you happily curled up with me then.
Hello, cat’s purr and heater’s whir and the ticking of the clock. Hello twentieth-century fox, how I love your sound. I’ve missed the noticing of all these happy things, the deep, satisfaction of really seeing them and truly taking them in. This morning I sat alone with the bread and the cup. I love how they feel, I love the lingering taste, I love the hot tears I welcome every time I hold them and think of the one I believe in who made me and watches as I notice all these happy things.