I have been looking for this post for the past month. Looking through my weeks and my journal, looking for a good story to write about here. Something a little exciting. Sparkly.
I’ve drafted, in the past few days, a few false starts: the one about how, last week, my dear son woke up and made breakfast all by himself, setting out the cereal, juice, milk (he even poured milk from the jug into a smaller, easy-for-the-little-one-to-pour decanter), and setting out the spoons and bowls and napkins for all of us before we climbed out of bed. And the one about my daughter’s artwork, scattered all around the kitchen table and the counter and behind the couch and in all the other corners where she draws pictures of houses and rainbows and lovely abstract designs nearly every night as I make dinner. I also tried to write about my husband’s work travel, about his recent going and returning and going again while I stay pretty much in one place, on the usual schedule and usual path day after day.
I attempted to write about these things but they were not what I was hoping to write about. I was hoping to craft something with some kick, something profound, something life-changing or sudden-awakening, and instead I was just writing about these little corners of my rather ordinary life.
Corners filled with crumbs and milk-spilled-from-the-decanter-that’s-supposed-to-prevent-that-sort-of-thing. Crayon-marks-on-the-walls ordinary. Because honestly most of my sudden awakenings involve kids’ voices, sometime around 5:30am, turning on the overhead light and then asking, Mom, are you up? These ordinary days start so very early.
Late one night, while stuck on what to write for this month’s post, I searched through some of the fragments and beginnings and pieces of writing I keep in a “started” folder on my desktop. And in there I found this, written over six years ago:
I rocked my son to sleep tonight like I do most nights, in the comfort of a glider rocker that we bought when he was a chubby little baby. Though some would say that my toddler son is too old for such coddling — believe me, I’ve read all those sleep books — I see it differently. He’s an active, growing kid, but in the quiet of his room at bedtime, snuggled with a soft blanket, I get to cuddle him, my once (always?) baby, for a few still moments. He likes it, but I really I do it for me … The gentle rhythm of the rocker keeps time as he falls off to sleep. I feel his soft breath and hold his growing body. I utter something like a prayer that he stay safe and strong. And I feel the quiet, sometimes for the first time all day. And I take comfort. And he falls asleep.
I read this over and over and over and then went into the room where my son slept soundly, his long, strong big kid body stretched out all over his bed. Our house has not contained a book on childhood sleep in years. Days and days of crumbs and crayons and familiar paths added up and — not suddenly but still somehow startlingly — extraordinary changes have occurred. And rocking to sleep, once our nightly ritual, is a lovely little memory. A sparkly one in my mind.
Jon Kabat-Zinn writes:
The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little. They’re your life.
Which is such a good reminder. And, I suppose, also a good — or good enough — topic for a blog post.