I stand in the kitchen, in my left hand a small bowl, cheerios in my right, banana nut to be exact. I lean back against the counter as the microwave whirs, a large bowl of water spinning in slow motion. My go-to Christmas mug sits behind me, spoon resting within, buried in a mountain of hot cocoa. As I munch on fingerfuls of semi-sweet cheerios, I scan the scene before me. A day spent working as a team, as a family, rearranging, cleaning, and simply creating change in our home warms my heart. Our sectional no longer tucked away in the formal dining room with one window and two entrances, the ‘easiest’ always obstructing the view of the television.
An arrangement originated in the need to make room for a billiards slash ping pong table acquired years ago. A season of fun and games that was short-lived but wholly appreciated. At a time when money was needed, and the table was no longer being used, we sold it, leaving the space open while we stayed tucked away in the dining room. A desperate attempt at comfort in the form of closeness which worked until we sent our recliners to the dump in lieu of our newly acquired sectional. A decision which ultimately left me feeling claustrophobic. The dining room now sits an oasis of openness barely obstructed by my elliptical in one corner and the dog’s toys in the other. I imagine what I could’ve done with this room if Tristan was a child, thoughts postponed for grand-motherhood. ‘I feel good about this setup, it was time to make a change.’
I resonate on the accomplishments of the day, ‘it’s truly amazing how the smallest change can make a difference.’ The living room is the perfect size for our sectional, leaving loads of space for the large round spinning chair to the left. A chair running solo after coming in a pair meant to offer me comfort in the sun as I read books and learned to relax. Instead, our 90lb Staffordshire Terrier decided these chairs were his and I hadn’t the heart to tell him otherwise. I might have tried at some point but honestly, he’s so darn sweet and cute, I saw no point. My heart fills with a rush of gratitude as I look over to see Moose laying in the tightest of balls on ‘his’ chair. Comfort and security apparent in every breath and dream state whimper. ‘I wonder what they dream about.’
Skittles, our smallest and oldest dog coming in at 17 years old, lays sound asleep on the sofa. Three red and beige pillows lined across the length of one side of the sectional, a place made specifically for her and our 15-year-old Scribbles. Skittles is a wire-haired terrier mix and Scribbles is a Jack Russel Terrier with a giant heart and a temper to match. My counterpart in this world, I always imagine what he went through before we adopted him. He couldn’t have had an easy life, and I often wonder if we’ve made it any easier. As Scribbles sleeps soundly tucked away in an open pet porter with a fluffy blanket, the microwave beeps signaling the end of my three minutes. I open the door of the microwave and proceed to prepare my evening ritual of comfort and warmth. As Ed toils in the garage to prepare for a day of fishing ahead, I stir my cocoa and smile.
I smile at the knowledge that there’s been a shift in rhythm recently that is hard to ignore, and I’m grateful for its importance. Not the shift of our nation, though this is a tremendously important time in our lives. No, a shift in personal responsibility, a shift in our hearts, and a shift in our point of view as a family. Sometimes we spend so much time consumed in what we don’t have or all that has or will go wrong, we lose sight of the beauty before us. Think about it. The struggle reaches us all and I’m not pretending it doesn’t hurt at all levels and in most seasons, but I see it as a choice. We either revel in the ugliness of it all, missing every ounce of beauty set before us or choose to see the small moments and blessings for what they are – precious gifts of answered prayers.
Photo by Johannes Plenio