Today is Adam’s first birthday. From our couch, I watch him cruise the living room, weaving in and out of midwinter sunbeams. He picks up a blue building block and passes it through the mail slot of our front door. Turning to me, he exclaims “Da-da-da!” while I hover my pen over my notebook.
“Good job, baby!” I reply, setting my pen down. I’m trying to think of a metaphor that encapsulates his spirit, but everything I write sounds stale. I guess love does that to you, doesn’t it? Sometimes love leaves you wide-eyed and bewitched, unable to translate the heft of your feelings into words.
Some call the first years of a child’s life “the wonder years” and for good reason. A year ago Adam was just a tiny babe who wanted nothing more than the comfort of my arms, but now he’s crawling and toddling. He’s hungry for new tastes and faces and experiences. And I’m stuck wondering how he underwent metamorphosis before my very eyes. How did he turn from shy smiles to rich giggles? How did he outgrow those tiny onesies? How did he move from tummy time to banging pots in the kitchen?
If my life was a sonnet, Adam would be the volta, the turning point where the speaker shifts her focus and entertains a new perspective. He burst into my world and gave me the courage to claim a new beginning. He was born the day Kim and I received an offer to write The Beauty of Motherhood. He was by my side as I wrestled words to the page in the midst of feeding and diaper duty. He woke me over and over at night and taught me there’s beauty in the darkness. He’s helped me laugh, slow down and appreciate the person I’ve always been and who I am becoming.
I read today that we’re approaching the halfway mark between winter and summer. Outside snow dresses the ground, trees and homes in our neighborhood. Steam rises and twists in the twenty degree air. Inside Adam abandons his game and scrambles toward me. I gather him up in a bear hug, relishing the warmth of his love. I could call him a wonder. I could call him a turning point. I could call him the midwinter sun.
Tag Archives: gratitude
Gratitude list, November 2022
the night sky, when I’m up late
feeding the baby, falling into
& the arms of my spouse
for a few more hours of sleep before
fresh coffee & hot oatmeal
little hands reaching for me
for games of peekaboo
songs & cuddles
for the wide embrace of our village —
our congregation — with whom we raise
for music while I’m doing dishes and folding
warm towels just out of the dryer
for naptime, blessed naptime,
a moment of peace amidst the chaos of
Legos & crayons & rounds of Uno & kitchen dance parties & “another snack please!” & playdates & playgrounds & tag
long walks in the neighborhood
the scent of burning leaves
& the way sunight catches in the leaves
at golden hour
dinner to make,
bathtime bubbles & squeals,
for sharing stories & poetry & prayers,
goodnight kisses & “I love you”s
& when the dog curls up on my lap
& the whole house is
holding a freshly sharpened pencil
& a blank page on which to praise
this one holy and beautiful life.
Small graces on a fall morning
Sunlight slices through the night,
washing the world in color.
I rise, grateful
for earl grey tea in my cup
lavender swirled in
another chance to get it right
or rather, live gently —
to soften my heart where it’s been hardened
toward others (and myself).
Cold nips the air,
dew drops deck blades of grass,
yellow and purple mums brighten porches,
leaves shift their outfits for the season,
a reminder that change often seems slow
until one day you arrive,
bursting with beauty.
The promise that those same leaves will fall,
carpet the yard in red and brown,
become fuel for a backyard bonfire,
smoke curling in the sky
while we sip hot cider
and embrace its warmth.
The last dandelion puff,
placed in my hands by
a child who knows how his mama trusts
dreams and prayers…
in every ending and beginning
shining on the horizon,
bathing us in hope.
This list of “small graces” was inspired by this reflection.
A prayer of thanksgiving
For a little boy who celebrates fresh flakes with spontaneous snow angels,
For his bear hugs & sloppy kisses,
For the sweet taste of his remaining Halloween candy, freely given (seems like all our talk of generosity is sinking in, eh?),
For building towers & bedtime stories,
For every blessed time he utters, “I love you too, Mommy!”
Thank you, Jesus.
Also. Help me remember this feeling when this same child throws a tantrum after I cut his hot dog the “wrong way” & myriad other sins that shall go unnamed.
Help me, Jesus.
And so, Amen.