1) It was the last blackberry. Plump and ripe, it found itself being pushed around and around the small bowl with a small spoon held in the small hand of a small boy. He was patient, the small boy; or perhaps I should say that he had been patient since the increasing energy with which he attempted to scoop up the berry seemed to indicate that his patience was not, in fact, endless. Each time the blackberry felt cornered the small boy would stab and scoop through the oatmeal with all the ungraceful motions of a two-year-old, and the berry would fall... realizing that, in the small, round bowl, there were no corners to be cornered in after all.
It was the last blackberry. Wearing the deepest purple, it's drupelets began to burst, leaving a bright, rich purple trail like a map behind it. The small boy's mother sat close, her elbow propped on the table to give support to the hand that cradled her chin, and watched her son with a comfortable, easy smile. She watched as the last ounce of patience seeped from that small boy, and she bounced with quiet laughter as he dropped his spoon, extended all five of his fingers, and plunged his hand into the remaining oatmeal to grab the berry. He noticed her laughter as he pulled it from the bowl and turned his head in his mother's direction. His eyebrows pulled together in confusion as if her laughter had reminded him that there were other things in the world besides him and that blackberry. She couldn't know what he was thinking, but she watched him force his own smile at her from behind the confusion, and soon he was following her example by forcing a laugh, too. They sat like that in one beautiful moment. A small boy holding a small blackberry in his small hand, oblivious to the ill-mannered mess of the dripping oatmeal, staring at his mother, laughing with her at a secret something that only she had found amusing.
2) The mini-van hums quietly along the dark streets. It's just me inside if you are counting humans, but my Les Miserables CD plays loudly through the speakers and keeps me in beautiful company. The quiet notes of one of my favorite songs starts and I feel my hands, light on the steering wheel, begin to dance with the gentle beat. My heart swells with the music as the lyrics begin: God on high, hear my prayer. In my need, you have always been there. As the song goes on, I am taken back twenty years to when, as a 13-year-old, my dad was teaching me the beauty and majesty of Les Miserables on a road trip for just the two of us. I had watched him sing this song as it played in our small car; I had stared at him, really, with all the unashamedness of a 13-year-old. Today, as my mini-van hums quietly along these dark streets, I can still see him lifting his eyebrows to reach the highest notes, I can still hear his soft and gentle voice, easy and beautiful. I can still feel his passion and love for the music. And reliving those beautiful moments brings me new beautiful moments, sitting alone, with Les Miserables in my ears, and my dad in my heart.
3) I opened the junk drawer. I try not to do that very often because it kind of stresses me out... but sometimes it just has to be done. In sifting through the mess of trinkets and papers, I stumbled upon an envelope that I hadn't seen before. In the shaky writing of an older hand, the words 'Dr. Alder' were printed. So, naturally, I opened it. And my heart filled with happiness as I read sincere words of gratitude from a complete stranger who had regained her sight at Brian's hand. I know he's doing good in the world, but something about that thank you card helped me see it, too. And as I closed the card with my full heart, I noticed that she had taken the time to put eyeglass stickers on the front, and it made me laugh. I found myself wondering about this lady. Is she someone that has drawers and drawers full of stickers for every occasion, or did she go out and buy eyeglass stickers just for this occasion? Either way, I'm grateful to her for taking the time to say Thank You to the man I love.
4 -The fresh air hits my face as I walk to my car from Starbucks. The roads are slightly damp, and there is moisture in the air. My skin soaks it up and I breathe it in.
5 - TK brings me a book. "Wee? Wee? Wee?" he asks. "Yes," I answer with a smile, "I'll read to you." He gasps in excitement and follows me into his room. It's that part - the following me - that snags me. Beautiful little foot patters. Trusting. Expecting. Excited.
6 - I watch TK's eyes open in excitement as he hears the garage door open. And then comes my favorite part: "Da-dee?!" he asks. I love the slight hesitation between those syllables... the way his lips pull wide in a smile and exaggerate all movements around the vowel sounds.
7 - I finally took down the kids' Christmas tree. Packed all the decorations and ribbons and branches into their boxes and carried them down the stairs. Vacuumed the stray, artificial pine needles and sat, in a beautiful moment, in the clean corner... vacuum lines leading away from me (or is it towards me?) and felt the peace of cleanliness and order.
8 - Finished my morning chores with time to spare this morning. So I grabbed a handful of cashews, sat at the breakfast table, and stared out the back doors over the sun sparkled golf course. The palm trees swayed in the wind and I grabbed the beautiful moment.
9 - I smell it before I taste it - the chocolate. The salted macadamia nuts are hiding beneath that lumpy brown coat, and I know the caramel is there, too... just waiting to fill my mouth with deliciousness. The bite is my favorite part. I love the way macadamia nuts seem to explode in the pressure between my teeth. Oh, chocolate macadamia nut cluster. I thank Costco for you.
10 - After being sick with a fever for two days, Miles looked at me with clear, happy eyes. "Oh, you look like you're feeling better!" I exclaimed with a giant hug. His grin widened off of his face and he exclaimed, "Happy Birthday!" I love looking into those clear eyes.
11 - I wheeled the garbage can back into the garage - totally not my job, but it made me happy to do something for my wonderful husband.
12 - The weight of TK sitting in my lap, covered in a soft blanket, resting against my chest. Carson sitting next to me on the hard benches of the school. We watch as McKenzie receives honor awards for being so awesome. My kids fill me.
13 - A swarm of black birds soaring down from an electrical wire into the trees. A graceful dive.
14 - The warm sun pulls me outside today. My handsome husband pulls two chairs onto the
15 - Driving with the sun roof open.
16 - TK emptied a whole Costco-sized container full of fabric softener into the corners and crevices of the laundry room. After pulling out the washer and dryer to sop up the liquid from underneath them, we threw the towels we'd used into the wash. Today, weeks later, I walk into the bathroom and notice I still smell the fresh scent coming from those towels folded on my shelves. We will not be using those towels any time soon unless it's to sop up more fabric softener. Delicious smell.
17 - Opening the blinds in my room - sunshine!
18 - Eating a fresh-out-of-the-oven doughnut from Krispy Kreme. No one does a doughnut like Krispy Kreme does a doughnut.
19 - Enjoying the sunshine again today.
20 - I love the moments when the tennis ball connects with my racket. I love the sound, the feel, the power...
21 - Sinking, sinking, sinking into the soft blankets for story time with Miles.
22 - Pollen falling from the trees. Each tree seems to be planted in a pool of yellow.
23 - I stood and admired the magnificent pillars and fun stucco on the side of my house today. I do love them.
24 - Chatted with a new friend about real things tonight. It made my heart happy.
25 - One of the young women started playing a song on the piano tonight in between volleyball games. She played it beautifully, and the girls who stood around her singing the lyrics were beautiful, too. I love the youth in this ward.
26 - TK folding into my shoulder while not feeling well. He is such a sweet boy. I love the way he curls right in.
27 - Napping on the couch (a beautiful moment in and of itself) when Miles came to snuggle. His curly red hair tickled my face and made me smile.
28 - McKenzie worked so hard on her state project and finished it tonight. I feel so proud of the work she has put into it.
29 - Diaper change turned tickle fight.
30 - Helping TK blow his nose, he was whining and unhappy until he saw himself in the mirror. His whines turned into an excited smile and he greeted his long lost friend with a wave and a, "Hi tee-tee!"
31 - The small hands, dimpled at the knuckles, reaching up to me from the crib. The sleepy smell as I pull him out.
32 - His strums are perfect; his fingers are sure; his face is stoic up on the stage in front of the school. Carson works that guitar while accompanying the third graders in their school assembly, and I feel Happy Mommy Tears catch in my throat.