When I breathe in, the air is crisp and clean and fragrant. I breathe out and let go all of the worries and fears and struggles that I have been keeping deep inside. I open my eyes, and I focus on what I see before me, and I feel the tiny flutters of true joy, and the corners of my mouth lift in a smile as I take it all in.
Its Friday, and we have thrown together an impromptu picnic and met our friend Amy and her daughter Rowan at the little park down the road. Pip calls her Mimi, and when he sees her get out of her car, he is screaming her name and running as fast as possible toward her, little legs a blur of action. Cheerio and I sit on a little blanket, removing tupperware containers of fruit and little foil packets full of finger foods to arrange around us.
Mark has run home for a moment to collect some spoons and an extra blanket, as well as a couple of diapers for the baby, and I see him coming around the corner, just in time. As we all come together, sitting and talking and laughing, it occurs to me that it is the littlest things that can make a person happier than they’ve ever known.
Things like having a best friend.
Discovering new tastes
Playing with fun new toys
Playing on the slides
Holding hands, holding each other, and not being able to see your feet because you’re holding a new life
And then it is Saturday, and we have chores to do, but it’s such a beautiful day outside that we can’t stand the thought of sitting around or being stuck in the house. And momma’s too tired to go very far or do very much, so we move the car out of the driveway so we have plenty of room for sidewalk chalk.
And once again, we breathe in the spring sunshine, and we breathe out the worries that the house will never get clean, and we lose ourselves in Crayola and Matchbox and the old plastic tricycle that’s been sitting in the garage for too long.
And it’s daddy drawing favorite cartoon characters that wow the kids.
And it’s learning how to pull up weeds around the driveway
And it’s that moment you notice the mismatched shoes, and you laugh so hard because that’s SUCH a dad thing to do…
Then finally, it is Sunday, and you have plans to hit the beach, and you leave the house at 10:30, but somehow it hits 12:30 and you’ve only gone about four miles because everything has gone wrong. So you go home to calm down, and you breathe in the knowledge that there’s still a whole day ahead of you, and you breathe out the angry and the sad and the overwhelm, and you get back in the car to head back to the coast.
And you arrive just in time for the sun to be at just the right point in the sky. The kids are rapturous. Your husband is rapturous. And you are rapturous.
And when the weekend is suddenly over, and your kids are asleep by 7 PM, exhausted from the past few days, and when your husband says he loves you, and you turn out the light, your smile is soft and happy. You breathe in the love, hold it in for one, two, three, four, five beats and breathe out all of the worries you had about wasted time.
Because it’s the little things that they will remember. Long after we’re gone, it’s the little things that they will look back on with a smile.