Saturday, July 7, 2012

this is what happiness feels like


I woke up in the middle of the night and my first drowsy thought was, “I have to write that down, before I forget it.”

This is my latest realization. If I don’t get those poignant moments down on paper they’re eventually lost forever. And in my dreamy state, I’m fantastic. I remember actual words and who said what to whom, and I see the color of someone’s shirt, and then I promptly fall back asleep. Only when I wake up, most of its gone again. Because you see, it’s my lucid state that gives me problems. But that’s a whole other post.

In the end, this is what I said and this is what I remember. At least the important part.

I had just walked inside to grab my salad off the kitchen island when I blurted out a suggestion to my kids. Their take-out sandwiches were still in the paper bag.

“Come on you guys, let’s eat outside. Grab your food….let’s go.” It was purely spontaneous, and I certainly didn’t think they'd follow me.

I heard faint groans behind me as I moved through the French doors and out into our shady brick patio. Their deep voices carried outside. “Oh, come on Mom, it’s so hot outside.”



They were right. It was awfully warm. It was the beginning of a sweltering June afternoon in the valley, and even though I was thirsty and sweaty, and had brown dirt underneath my fingernails from bagging leaves in the garden, I still thought it was a nice idea.

After all, this was a rare gem suddenly in front of us, a luxurious patch of free time where there was nothing scheduled. No appointments, no school work, no practices. There was only the sensation of being suspended in time. Together.

When I look back, these are the snapshots of this day I’ll remember. Piles of pillows and books scattered on the couch. Stella’s doggie toys on the oriental rug. The sounds of an action movie blaring from the television and a glimpse of our pup lying beside the boys.

When you’re a mother of older-busy-social-kids, these are moments of sheer bliss.


We sat outside under the steady hum of the patio fan while we devoured our roasted chicken sandwiches. The air was filled with the smell of freshly wet soil and yellow honeysuckle and we could see the occasional bees hovering near the vines while we talked.

“Who is the funniest person you know"?” I asked, as I wiped the sweet salad dressing off my fingers.

I saw Michael squint hard while he thought about my question. Then he told us about a guy from his Rowing team, a name that I’d never heard before. He stared into space and considered why this kid was so funny. And inside, I felt a bit giddy by this impromptu sharing.

Then suddenly there was another story. A milkshake flying though a window. And Patrick was laughing and gesturing with his hands while he described the details of a hilarious mishap. There was Ryan. And boys on a skateboard. And the next thing I knew, my head was filled with the sounds of my kids laughing.



And for a split second I actually thought, “this is what happiness feels like…”

In the middle of my tedious garden chores on a hot summer day, I had opened up a Pandora’s box with a simple suggestion. And it led me into this, a long, meandering conversation with my boys where we simply hung out…and I listened to funny stories that I might never have heard.

Maybe it was the unexpectedness of it all.

But I think it’s these little moments in life… that remind us of what’s important.



What’s on your mind today?






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