Today was nothing special, really. Except it was.
The girls and I found ourselves alone at home, all of us at one stage or another of fending off or recovering from a cold virus. A bit tired, achy, and without much of a plan once my big boy helpers left!
But I had prayed early this morning, before I even knew exactly how things would unfold, “Lord, help me to just bring joy into this day.” There is always joy in following Jesus, so really, that prayer is simply, “Help me to hear and follow.”
It was just little slivers of sunshine, but it was so special.
The way three girls played and giggled (yes, three; Cecily loves to be in the middle of it all these days!) while I quickly made beds and straightened bedrooms and even organized my own winter clothes.
How Beatrice asked if they could paint, saw the “No,” forming on my face and pleaded, “It’s so easy, Mama! We can just get out a few things, and that’s all!” And so I said yes, and I was so glad I did. It was so easy. And it was in the warm, healing sunshine, surrounded by the rusts and golds and scarlets of autumn, all wrapped with a great big blue sky.
The way God brought autumn to me, despite my disappointment in not being able to go on our planned leaf-peeping excursions, by helping me to see the colors on my own acreage, quieting my heart enough to hear the scores and scores of geese flying overhead, and giving me a day free of obligations where I could just sit and read in that beauty.
How many chances there were to wrap my arms around each daughter, letting their tired heads rest on my shoulder. Feeling the sweet buttery chub of Cecily’s legs as she sits contentedly in my arms, happy to go or do anything with me. Beatrice laying with me on the couch, watching an old Ina Garten episode, and with shining eyes blurting out, “I just knew she was going to put the sausage in that pan!! I love cooking!”
The nudge I felt in that instant to shelf my plans of cereal or pb&j, and cook some dinner with my girls. Watching Beatrice push the chair from one side of the kitchen to the other, and back again, without missing a beat — so eager to be independent and figure this out. Fiona grating cheese (or maybe mostly eating?), while Beatrice cracked 6 eggs perfectly, while I just stood with baby on hip and oversaw and thought, This is perfect. I love this moment.
We lit candles and ate our potato and kale frittata with applesauce and laughed. We cleaned up quickly, and then made lunches for Friday School — all of us, including Cecily (of course) at the counter. Then clothes laid out, and pjs on.
Last, the quiet of Beatrix Potter in the comfort of their pillows and quilts.
Doesn’t that sound perfect?
Funny thing is that I know if you zoomed out a bit, you’d see the piles on the dresser, the peanut butter I probably missed on the counter, hear the squabbles that happen when two girls are too tired, see the laundry and notice I haven’t cleaned my bathroom this week. That was all there, too, today, but somehow there was grace to just focus on my portion for today.
And that is the way to live.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”