the willingness to be awed
How I know I’ve been in a really good mood lately:
Instead of my usual Disney-cynicism, I’ve been fully participating with Col and Rose in the ranking of songs off the Frozen soundtrack, feeling, er, quite passionate about my own favorites. I cruise through Facebook, clicking “like” on everything, because, wow, look how much people adore their dogs, kids, food, and inspirational quotes! Daily, there are tiny celebrations to be had: a field of wild iris; the voluptuous curves of a garden radish; waking to birdsong; the public library, where you can borrow books for free. (Loved this and this; and this freaking literary masterpiece, with which I’m currently enraptured – though at 771 pages, it’s going to kill me with library fines).
The days are warm, the nights are cool. There are less places we have to be at a certain time. On weekends, I let the work week unravel so completely that on Monday morning it takes me a minute to remember who the hell I am and what I’m doing. At dinner time, the sky is an encore of its own daylight, and the very fact of the four of us gathered together for another meal feels like a luckiness I can hardly fathom.
Col, encouraging our chicken to rest after she cut her leg on some roofing.
I do most of my work via laptop at the library sitting near the new coffee cart (convenient, right?), which is staffed by teenagers with special needs. Their supervisor is so kind and encouraging, and the whole operation so triumphant and inspirational, I siphon off their feel-good success the entire time.
Last week, after playing at the river with my friend Melanie and our posse of kids, we spontaneously embraced in a moment of Can you believe we have another Colorado summer ahead of us, together?
The overly-analytical part of me searches for an explanation of this unbidden happiness. Is it that I’m meditating regularly (during which Rose bullhorns from outside my door, “Mama, when you’re done meditating can I have a snack, a movie, or a tickle session…Mom? CAN I?) Or is it that I feel like the Jews, who once declared, A Great Miracle Happened Here (with that whole oil lasting 8 nights thing), because I seem to have tamed my auto immune disorder with diet? (Seriously. I’m feeling so solid. I had a beer recently, which took me 2 hours to drink, one sip for every day I had abstained. Lets send a prayer that the doctors realize food is the medicine). Maybe it’s that actual sustenance is springing forth from the garden. Or, just summer itself, which is a trick-wrapped gift: you can never fully unwrap it. I don’t know. Likely, it’s that old physics equation that goes like this: want what you have.
“Bounce us off, Daddy!”
What I do notice is that this happiness feels rooted in something deep, accessible, and ordinary. Like, my ability to do work I love feels more important than constantly evaluating how I measure up in the world. The here-ness of the children—their summer-warm hair, muddy limbs—trumps any imagined future worries. The ash tree sprouting greenness outside my bedroom window is a revelation requiring nothing other than my own willingness to be awed.
Driving home from the mountains last Sunday, all four of us singing along with Billy Joel’s Piano Man, loudly and tunelessly (Rose asking: Is he a grandpa? What does it mean, making love to his tonic and gin? Because it wouldn’t be our life if Rose wasn’t asking some question), I felt so overcome with unexpected joy and gratitude for the weird lot of us. How we spent the past hour huddled around a fire grilling deer, and then devouring it with fingers (remembered homemade marshmallows, forgot plates and forks). How Rose pulled out impractical, purple “camp shoes,” one size too big, to kick back in around the fire after our hike. Me with the smallest headache from Rose accidentally slamming my nose with her forehead. The lupine singing a song called purple. And the clouds issuing enough of a snow squall to remind us who’s boss.
The message I’ve been getting is, Love This World, in all its imperfect and generous beauty.
p.s. I have a guest post up at Simple Homeschool about what I would have told myself—just starting out—about homeschooling, knowing what I know now. Hint: there will be doubts. Also, tremendous “yes’s” sung in your heart.