Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lifetime Snapshots

These days it’s the little things. Things that make my heart overflow with contentment and peace. Because on most days, the big things have fallen off my list of worries.

I try to let myself ignore the fix it list we’ve created for our house, as it haunts me from the bulletin board hanging in our office. I stopped letting the fact I could not do it all, all the time, bother me, about the time I started working full time last year. The kids have clean clothes in their closets (most of the time) and food on their dinner plate every night (granted, not necessarily gourmet). Although he has the potential to drive me crazy (as I do him), lately I have been pretty happy with the friendship the spouse and I have cultivated for the past twenty years or so. We have a close relationship with our family doctor but so far nothing has been life threatening or even very life altering. We are a pretty healthy, secure bunch on the average day of the week. It’s what keeps my blood pressure under control.

But then I get these rare little treats. These special nuggets that fall out of the sky and surprise me with extra love for these kids and this pretty average, pretty amazing life we’ve put together.

Like last night, when the almost totally grown up daughter came in from work pretty late, right at the moment her youngest brother was headed off to bed. The little brother she rocked as a newborn and has nurtured and spoiled through every year of his life. The little brother she pays to do her chores because it makes her life easier and in his eight year old world, a dollar goes a long way. The little brother who hates to admit his returned fondness for big sister if there is any chance a big brother is around to tease him for his affection.

But last night big brothers were upstairs, out of sight, and in a magical moment I looked around to see him perched, half on his sister’s lap, like an eager puppy, and half on the couch, ready to bail if he heard footsteps on the stairs. He slowly got caught up in her attention and melted into that toddler who worshiped the ground she walked on. As a mom it was heart melting to watch.

They laughed and shared stories about their days, made promises about chores to do and debts to pay. Before it was all over he was headed off to read his nightly book and go to sleep, curled up in ‘the nest’, a huge papasan chair that sits in the corner of her room. (one of his favorite sleeping spots) And it was all just a bit too much. Too much of a gift to this mom who sometimes forgets that I am no longer worrying about the big stuff that haunts a parent’s mind.

It was a loving snapshot of life I will carry with me for years. Tucked away in my brain along with so many other sacred moments that remind me what life’s all about. The way my mom’s voice carried through the whole house, lovingly calling my name when I came home from college for a visit. A frigid night in a record breaking snowstorm when a handsome young man presented me a life changing diamond ring in the front seat of my red Volkswagen rabbit. Sneaking in the back door of my mother-in-law’s house, carefully cradling her first born grandchild I had flown halfway across the country to share with her for the first time. The bright smile of my oldest son as he marched through our local grocery store on his third birthday, proudly wearing a crown his older sister had made him that announced, in glitter and glue, “I’m 3 Today!”

Excited doctors who burst into a dark hospital room to announce they had discovered what was making my second son so deathly ill, and it was all going to be okay. A million little moments I got to share with my children as we slowly made our way across the country, moving from D.C. to Utah, taking the longest route possible, through the gulf states and Texas.

I will never have a million dollars in my bank account. I feel pretty safe in making that announcement. I have no delusions that our house will ever be completely finished in this remodel project we started three years ago when we moved to New York. We will always have a mortgage and most of the time have a car payment, that make the trek to work necessary every morning. I will continue to fill up the grocery cart with food that lasts about half as long as I need it too. But it’s all okay. It’s all good.

Because sometimes, on magical nights, when all the stars line up in the right order, I get these little reminders. These little lifetime snapshots, that remind me that it’s all going in the right direction. It’s about love, and sharing life, and raising a bunch of great new people to send out into the world.

And I’m having a great time collecting the lifetime snapshots along the way.

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