I smell like someone's mom

one of my very favorite moments of 2014 (and all time)

It has been nearly a year since I’ve written anything of a personal nature that I cared to publish.  I’ve started several times to write something I hoped might turn into a blogpost, but it never was shareable or even finishable in most cases.  They all turned into these selfish, writhing pity parties that are embarrassing to even reread myself.  Blah.  You’re not missing out, trust me.  At the start of last year, I was so hopeful to “keep better memories.” That was my well-intentioned, silly little resolution for 2014.  I had great plans of taking more pictures, writing more, keeping mementos, and teaching my kids (and me) to savor moments and seek out joy in the everyday.  I bought a little divided tray, which I think I may have mentioned in one of the blogposts that actually happened last January, and intended to sort of catalog each month in that tray.  I bought adorable scrapbooking paper, trimmed it down to size, wrote the names of the months in scrawling cursive or chunky block letters on them, and fit them into each space on the tray.  I put it in the foyer, displayed it prominently, so I could show it to people who visited.

And then January progressed.

On January 2, a well-loved lady who lived in my childhood community – my stompin’ ground, as they say – passed away.  Her name was Carene.  Her husband was a fisherman and she was a fantastic cook and she would fry fish and share it with her neighbors.  She was always always at church.  She shared her birthday with my Marlie.

On that same day, my grandfather was admitted to the hospital, his second hospitalization in less than a month.  He passed away on January 25th, my dad’s birthday.  We sang Sweet Hour of Prayer around his bedside and he went to be with his Savior.  I could write pages and pages on all the reasons I love my grandfather and how important he has been in my life, but this isn’t the space for that.

The Saturday after my grandfather’s funeral, what should have been our first “normal” Saturday in a long while, David woke me up in the very early morning hours sick with a kidney stone.  We ended up in the emergency room.

So, there was the January spot in my cute little divided tray.  It had 2 funeral papers and a hospital bracelet in it.  I look back on the little writing I did that month, at the few pictures I took, and each is clouded with memories of hurt.  I was done with that stupid tray.  It’s setting somewhere with pictures of the kids stuck in it now.

Fast forward.

Sometime over the course of the year, I was taking a walk at a nearby park and in the wind I caught the smell of clean laundry.  I remember when I was kid, always being sort of intrigued by how I could smell what my friends’ houses smelled like, but I couldn’t smell what my own house smelled like.  I mean, just on a normal day.  I always wondered what my friends smelled when they came to my house.  WEIRDO, I know.  I’m well-acquainted with my weirdness.  The clean-laundry smell in the air that day was me.  I smelled like clean laundry.  Not flowery or exotic like I might have shot for in earlier seasons of my life.  Just clean laundry.  And it occurred to me that because I’m doing laundry, ya know, all but about 12 minutes of every week, my house probably smells somewhat like that, too.

And it kind of pleased me.

It was a simple kind of pleasure.  Like something I was doing was actually turning out the way I meant for it to.

I’ve come to the conclusion that that’s sort of what adulthood is all about – the ability to find small pleasures and simple joy right there where you’re standing.  One of the marks of immaturity, I suppose, is a desire to always be sprinting forward to the next big thing.  Always chasing something and never finding contentment in any of the things you actually catch.  We barely get through one holiday around here before my kids start gushing about the next one… discussing Christmas presents over their Halloween candy and the like.  For that matter, the subject of a lot of their conversations is… what we’re going to have for dessert tonight or “are we going to the library tomorrow?” or whether or not we have fun plans for the weekend.  It’s hard to be in the now.  It’s a hard thing to learn.

Sometime soon after my grandfather had passed away, a dear friend of ours made reference to “time standing still” during those days surrounding his visitation and funeral.  I didn’t realize how appropriate that was until later, but looking back it really does seem we were kind of frozen in time during the days just before and just after his passing.  Everything else stopped and nothing else really mattered.  Our family came together and clung to each moment with him and with each other. 

Because, really, that’s all we have, isn’t it?  Moments.  Whether time is standing still for us for whatever reason or everything is spinning around us at warp speed.  Whether things are really good or really bad.  And maybe especially when it’s just a normal day that seems to pass without notice.  We can only really be in the moment we’re standing in.

The thing about moments, though, is that they have a remarkably short shelf life.  Moments pass away and with them go any number of simple pleasures and such great joy they make available to us whether we take notice of them or not. 

And that’s why if we’re going to chase after anything at all, it’s in our best interest, in my best interest, in my husband’s and children’s best interest, in the best interest of my home… to chase the moment we have right now.  To hunt down simple pleasures and to take them captive and squeeze every little particle of joy out of them that we can.  To become a kind of moment vortex and suck in everything about this moment.  And we can hope for tomorrow’s joy without rushing headlong into it and we can choose to soak up the joys of yesterday, to relish in our happy memories… and just tuck away the bitter parts as hard lessons or character polishing.  Or just let them go altogether.

Let me tell you… I could go down through 2014 a tick off a pretty long list of other not-so-great things.  It just wasn’t our year, but if I’m looking for them… seeking out those little sunshiny specks there among the teardrops… there were a lot of great moments, too.

Like listening to my kids’ quiet conversation before they fall asleep.

Kites flying in a blue sky.

Sparks rising above a bonfire.

The satisfying pop of a jar of tomato juice.

A precious little face emerging from a pile of leaves.

Completely falling apart laughing with my sweet husband.

Answered prayers.  So many.

Realizing for just a moment what my friends smell when they come to my house.

And being completely content in knowing that I smell like someone’s mom.

other favorite moments from 2014