Most Sunday mornings, our family of four attends the 9:30 service at a neighborhood church. We very much appreciate the warm community we’ve found there, and the chance to take a seat, take a breath, reflect. And…the girls don’t sleep in, so by 9:30, we’ve already been awake for hours. (“What are we going to do now, Mom?”)
A fellowship follows the service. As the talented pianist plays the postlude, Grace and Anna make a beeline for the hall where tables of cookies, fruit and juice await.
One Sunday recently, they dashed off as usual, Stanton close behind. I gathered up our coats, hats and water bottles. I shrugged my own coat on, and noticed that one of the buttons was loose. Something to take care of…some other time.
I reached the fellowship hall, and bumped into a fellow congregant. He smiled. “You look like you have people with you,” he said, gesturing to my arms full of stuff.
I smiled back. “I do, somewhere in here.” Then I added, “I love that quote; it would be a great title for a blog post.”
He joked that he’d have to be careful what he said around me. “I don’t disparage people in my writing,” I promised. But I can’t help when inspiration strikes.
This is that post, friends.
I’ve been wanting to write this post since that Sunday. It’s been at least three weeks now, maybe four. Other things seemed to keep popping up, most of them related to the people I have with me.
At times, our people’s stuff can weigh us down (all those coats!). The weight can be physical, or emotional. Then a moment might happen that makes it all feel worth it.
This happened to me, just yesterday evening. Snow began falling around 6 p.m. The girls thrust their hands toward the front bay window. “Look, Mom, look! Maybe school will be closed tomorrow. We can build a snow girl together!”
I very nearly cried. Because Stanton has been traveling for work since Monday morning. All of us are traveling to visit family for Thanksgiving this weekend. There was already no school on Monday because of Veterans Day, and all I wanted was a few hours today to finish cleaning, packing and maybe even writing…alone.
I did not want…to build a snow girl.
Later that night, I tucked Grace into bed, and then Anna. Anna wrapped her little arms around my neck. “I love every part of you, even your eyeballs,” she said.
“Awww, thank you, honey.” I kissed her good night, and then lay beside her until she was asleep, our heads sharing a pillow.
When I looked at Anna, her breathing gentle in the moonlight-burnished room, her hand on mine, I felt a deep sense of gratitude, for both my daughters. For their good health, their safety, who they are.
When I think of my family, I think of a lyric from an old song I used to like (and one you may remember) called “Butterfly Kisses.” Bob Carlisle sings, “With all that I’ve done wrong, I must have done something right”—to deserve the love in his life, specifically his daughter.
I feel this way, completely. For as good as I may look on the outside (my frequent 9:30 church attendance and all), I could do and could have done better, kinder. I am lucky to have my people, and all their stuff.
“I love every part of you, even your eyeballs.”
When Stanton isn’t home, I usually sleep upstairs with the girls, in Anna’s bed. I’m right there if they need me. One night this week, Grace woke up with a bad dream, so I switched beds to talk with her and sleep beside her. A few hours later, Anna awoke and noticed I was missing. “MOM!!!”
We were all pretty tired by the end of that day, so I turned on “The Boss Baby” for the girls. I watched some of it with them.
I really like this movie (any other grown-ups want to join me in that admission? 😉 ). I love the brothers’ shared quote, at the end: “Every morning you wake up, I’ll be there. Every night at dinner, I’ll be there. Every Christmas, I’ll be there. Year after year after year. We will grow old together.”
The sentiment in these words speaks to having “people.” Friends, family, those we love. Relationships oblige give and take—from lots-of-coats holding and snow girl-building, to end-of-day movie watching and good-night kissing.
We all appreciate solo moments when we can recharge. Sometimes, we may not get as many of these moments as we like. It’s a beautiful consolation prize, though, to have folks who are there for us…year after year after year.
Now excuse me, friends, while I go help build a snow girl.
Photo credit: Pixabay
Like what you just read? Then check out Melissa Leddy’s newest short story, “Backtrack.” An engaging read that’s can’t-put-it-down good.