Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Ordinary

Today was one of those perfect summer days - about 82 degrees outside, a little bit of a breeze, not a cloud in the sky - and the little man and I spent most of the morning with my friend NK and her two girls. Alex and NK's older daughter played and ran and chased while NK and I sat on her patio, in the shade, entertaining her baby and talking about some Life Junk we've both been dealing with lately.

The baby was a little fussy, so I offered to take Alex and C. to lunch - just a little jaunt up the road to ChickFilA - and the three of us sat, and ate, and talked. I grabbed a couple of balloons - green for A., yellow for C. - as we left the restaurant, and then we dropped C. of at her house on the way back to ours.

I expected that Alex wouldn't make it home awake, but instead he balked at his nap this afternoon - he pretty much sat in his room and played and talked during the two hours he'd normally be sleeping - and finally around 4 I pulled him out of isolation so we could eat popsicles on the front steps and run around the yard for a little while. About an hour later we came inside, fixed something to drink, and I started working on supper: making hamburger patties, chopping stuff for a salad, shucking corn and getting it ready for the grill. Alex handled all the "shakey shake" duties - meaning that he sprinkled seasoning wherever it needed to go - and we talked on and off while he watched "Blue's Clues."

David finished up his work around 6, and he and Alex headed outside for grill duty while I checked email, read some blogs, and vacuumed up the corn silks that had scattered across the rug in my kitchen. We sat down for supper, the three of us, and Alex said his Official Blessing: "Dear God, thank you for today. Thank you for our food. In Jesus' Name. Amen." The hamburgers were great, the corn was okay - Alex went a little heavy on the dill when he did the shakey-shake - and the salad was fresh in a way that only happens in summertime.

By the time I ran Alex's bath, he looked slightly like Pigpen. His feet and legs were filthy from all his outside activity; his mouth was surrounded by a ring of peanut butter coated with a couple of layers of Cheese-Its and Cheetos crumbs. I thought to myself that he looked and smelled like little boys should once the weather turns warm - dirty, for sure, legs covered with little cuts and bruises, the official battle scars of his summer adventures.

Once he was clean and pajama-clad, Alex and his daddy played trains, then came downstairs for a little TV time, neither of them doing a very good job of keeping their eyes open. So Alex went up to bed, said his prayers, and was out like a light in no time at all.

It seems like, with my personality, I'm always on the lookout for "the funny." I see the world around me at sort of a skewed angle, so I tend to go through my days being entertained by the oddest little occurrences: the way a clerk at a grocery store pronounces "celery," or the way a political candidate announces that she is "for education. Absolutely for education" (I'm sure the anti-education lobby, powerful as it is, was shaking in its boots at that bold proclamation), or the way a little boy at Walmart dodges behind a rack of clothes just as his mama's hand is about to make contact with his behind. I am, as a general rule, pretty easily entertained.

What I am not, at least not often enough, is easily grateful. There was absolutely nothing spectacular or special about our day, but what bowls me over as I think back on it is that it was absolutely everything that I never thought I wanted. I never dreamed of marriage or of children. I never pictured myself living in suburbia, shuttling kids to fast-food restaurants, playgrounds, and zoos. I certainly never thought that I'd belong to a church where there is no stained glass, no kneelers behind the pews, and instruments that require electricity. So while I don't know exactly what I thought my life would be, I do know that I had some vague notion of living in a big city in a fabulous apartment and walking to a job where I edited what other people wrote. And I'm certain that I never thought my life would be this one that I have.

In light of all that, I just want to write it down and make it official: I'm so thankful, as I look back over this very ordinary day in our very ordinary life, that God has blessed me with all the things I never wanted.

Because there's absolutely nowhere else that I'd rather be.


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