The windows are fog-covered from soup steam and the air smells of baking bread. It’s cold outside on this wintry Montana day. I hear the children clattering through the gate and up the back steps, coming home from school. “Don’t bang the screen door”.
The kitchen is filled with bodies, wet coats, boots, and mittens strewn about. “You guys pick up those coats and hang them up. Put your mittens away.”
What made me think of this ordinary moment in my past with such an ache? It was the shower. That’s where I think, random thoughts about what I need to do, what the day was like, the book I’m reading – random thoughts in the quiet of the evening. This memory pierced my heart fiercely. It moved me. How could such an ordinary memory cause such emotion?
Why would I even remember it?
It’s because it wasn’t ordinary, it was miraculous. That’s how the moments of our days with our children really are, they’re miraculous. We rarely perceive it as so because we’re busy taking care of the business at hand. We don’t see the beauty.
Forty-nine years ago, I was twenty-one, a new mother just starting out. Since that day so long ago how many ordinary, miraculous days have I missed seeing. Was today miraculous? In twenty years will I remember today with such happiness and nostalgia?
That’s how it is. We move through life taking care of business. We worry too much. We hug too little, smile not enough and push away the joy that we could have had. We get confused about what matters most. Maybe that is the state of man, blindness to the magic of the ordinary days and moments. That was the message of Thornton Wilder’s play “Our Town” – that we miss so much. That we need to look at people, really look at them, see them.
We should forget about the screen door, the boots and gloves and gather our precious children up and smell their wetness, kiss their cheeks and just be glad they are home…and ours!