Recapturing the Ordinary

December 26, 2013

Last night as we were eating dinner, the subject of Christmas came up. Excitedly, my oldest son asked, “Remember last year when we made a birthday cake for Jesus? That was cool.”

Celebrating Jesus birthday this year!
And of course, I didn’t remember until he said it. 

Because with all the busyness of the season -- decorations, presents, events, cards -- I’ve forgotten the little things we’ve done. But my 11-year-old had not.

“We should do that again,” he says seriously. I nod in agreement.

And the other night as I’m visiting with a new friend, someone who had known my sister Katrina before she died, she tells me how she used to be in a MOPS group with my sister, how she would drop juice off weekly for her to drink. It reminded me of the months I lived with Katrina and her family. How we would share meals together, have Bible study every Tuesday afternoon. How we would sit in the evening and watch Gilmore Girls.

I remember how soft her hands always were. How often she would uplift with a soft touch, an encouraging word.

And early this morning, I came across a picture of my daughter as a baby and my mind wanders back to her first day with us. Just three months old. How she cooed when the social worker handed her to us. How I gave her a bath in the sink, put her to bed in a new outfit her grandma gave her. How she never made a sound. Not a cry. And went right to sleep.

How soft the new pink blankets felt as I tucked them under her little belly. How her big, beautiful blue eyes looked up at me as I smiled down at her, whispering comfort in this new space.

How I laid in my own bed that night, thankful for the little life God had brought to our house. How I listened to hear her breath, checked on her every few hours. How I promised God in the darkness that if he allowed us to keep her, I would do everything I could to be the best mommy I could be.

And as I took a walk this morning, I was struck by how often in life it is the little things we remember. The seemingly insignificant. The ordinary things that, over time, become the extraordinary.

Sometimes I get so caught up in the big, the elaborate, the planned things, that I don’t see the value in this day-to-day life.

I forget that the kiss I give my daughter each morning as we walk down our driveway to the bus, my whisper in her ear -- “I’ll be right here waiting when you get off the bus this afternoon, honey” -- may be just the thing that matters.

How my youngest son’s habit of finding me each afternoon after his nap for a snuggle and a kiss may be the sweetest memory I have of this little four-year-old person.

And how my oldest son, despite all the other holiday fun, presents, and hoopla, remembers the cake we made for Jesus’s birthday fondly, asking to do it again.

This remembering the ordinary? Is priceless.

And I wonder what, ten years from now, I will think was important from this time in my life. What I will look back and value. What I will remember.

What little, seemingly insignificant things I do today will be important tomorrow?

“Little things seem nothing, but they give peace, like those meadow flowers which individually seem odorless but all together perfume the air.” –Georges Bernanos

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