All you ever have

photo 3Sunday morning.

Much of the time, our family of four functions fairly smoothly.  Sometimes, though, we don’t.  Some days everybody’s edges feel especially jagged and as we rub up against each other emotions protrude and tempers flare.  Yesterday morning was one of those times.  All was not well at the homestead.  Matt and Grace left to do an errand.  Whit busied himself building something with Legos and blocks.  I put in a load of laundry, emptied the trash cans, finally sorted through the holiday cards (March 2nd seems like time).  I felt a familiar restlessness running under my skin.

Finally I went upstairs to our family room, lay down on the couch, and watched Whit.  He was building a luge track using blocks, legos, clipboards, and small rubber tires.  It was elaborate, and he kept testing and adjusting, testing and adjusting.  I glanced out the window at the tree that has accompanied me through the last 13 years, remembering sitting in this very room nursing a colicky baby Grace and watching dawn spread across the sky through the tree’s familiar branches.

As often happens, I felt the years between then and now collapse in on each other, telescoping into a tunnel of memory and loss.  My eyes filled with tears as I watched Whit play, overcome suddenly with emotions more complicated than I can fully parse or name.  I felt gratitude for this life, this boy, these bright Legos, this warm room, the years I’ve been able to be Grace and Whit’s mother.  I felt guilt for all the hours and days and weeks I have failed to appreciate, all the times I was distracted and short and not present enough.  I felt awareness of all that was over so keenly it felt like a physical pain in my chest.  I felt the frantic and dizzying sensation of time slipping through my fingers even as I try to grasp on.

What I didn’t feel, though, as I swam in that tearful wave of thankfulness and sorrow, was any of the frustration and aggravation that had marked the first hours of my day.  By sinking into the now of my life, by watching Whit carefully, by breathing and just being, I had touched again the hem of heaven, reminded myself of what matters, of all the divinity that glints through our daily lives like mica glittering in the concrete pavement.

My phone, which I’d forgotten was on the table next to the couch, beeped.  I glanced over.  My best friend from high school, a woman I see not nearly enough but still love fiercely, had texted me this quote.

The tears that had threatened to fall did so now, slipping down my cheeks. Thank you, universe.  Thank you friends and children and love and trees and everything about this daily life.  Thank you.

photo 1


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  1. Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    What a perfect quote for all of us to remember everyday! And I love the image of Whit so engrossed… What a sweet little man.

    admin Reply:

    The quote is just so perfect, isn’t it? xox

  2. Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    First of all, I love that you have friends that text you quotes.
    Secondly, I’ve been doing this more and more lately – just sitting there and watching them, taking in every bit of them for a moment.
    Don’t tell them though. 😉

    admin Reply:

    I won’t tell them 🙂

  3. Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    I know this is hard, the part where being aware makes you notice how you weren’t aware, just a moment ago. But sometimes parenting is like meditation–your thoughts drift, your actions follow, you find yourself somewhere far from where you intended to be. The key, I suspect, is to be mindful and give yourself the permission to shift back to where you meant to be, without blame or rancor. Be glad that you notice, that you find your way back.

    I do love it when things come unbidden at just the right moment. I have a jasmine plant that I’ve managed to keep alive for three years, but never got to bloom. Until last week, on what would have been a dear friend’s birthday. She was an artist who drew botanicals, and who loved jasmine. Her husband sent me that plant at Christmas, just after she passed away. It all made sense, just then.

    admin Reply:

    Oh, wow – your story about the jasmine made me gasp. Yes. Sometimes it just all makes sense. xox

  4. Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    So often we don’t pay attention to that awful, unbidden unsettled feeling. Letting it have its way with us, acting on it, acting out … By paying attention to it and by letting it be, it seems to defused its power. I’m glad for the gentling of your yesterday.

    admin Reply:

    Beautiful expressions, both: defusing the power of the discomfort and the gentling of my day. Perfect. xox

  5. Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    “I had touched again the hem of heaven, reminded myself of what matters, of all the divinity that glints through our daily lives like mica glittering in the concrete pavement.”

    Lindsey, this is poetry. Your words are a ladder to the soul: thank you. xox

    admin Reply:

    Thank you so, so much – what a kind thing to say. xox

  6. Jennifer
    Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Love that quote! With Jack turning 3 tomorrow, the emotions in me are running high :/

    admin Reply:

    Oh, THREE! Wow. xoxo

  7. Posted March 4, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Oh yes, Lindsey. Yes, yes, yes. The present moment is all we have, ever. “The hem of heaven.” I can’t think of more perfect words to describe it. xoxo

    admin Reply:

    Thank you. xoxo

  8. Posted March 5, 2014 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    I’m going to add my voice to the choir here and say that “the hem of heaven” is just perfect. And that quote? Simple and powerful at once, and it’s truth makes me a little sad if I’m to be honest.

    admin Reply:

    I know. Bittersweet indeed. I think I read hem of heaven somewhere, I’m realizing … but it is a great image.

  9. Posted March 7, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    I am having a cranky, tired, out of sorts day. Fourth day of RAIN, stuck inside …. I needed this. Thank you!! Not just for this bit of writing but also for your way of seeing.