Snips and snails and – monkey tails?
Around here, big things have been happening. The tachometer for this year, 2012, is in the red, and as I told The Mister last night, “Just think – back in January, we didn’t know any of this!”
But interspersed with the ‘big’ is the ‘little;’ tiny moments of blessing. Small jewels to be gathered up eagerly, hungrily, and placed in that heart-shaped box that mamas all carry.
For instance, one of them happened in my kitchen on Sunday last. We’d promised them, as we’d set out for the cooking show on Saturday, that we’d come home with the goods. Knowing the implications if we failed to deliver (staged coups, power shifts, marches and riots in the street – or at least around the dining room table), we’d put that first, hoofing it over to the bakery to grab a cool half-dozen Essenhaus long johns before eating breakfast ourselves.
Now, on Sunday morning, they were licking their plates, terrified of missing even the last smear of frosting. And there it came. “Thank you for the long johns.” This from Boy Two, Kid Kaboom. Never one to miss a chance to jig a sibling, he turned, glaring meaningfully at his younger brother. “Am I theone lone leper who came back to say thanks?” I laughed out loud (of course), and told his dad.
Another everyday snippet I noted recently was a piece of handiwork on the white wall. Just above the couch, laboriously lettered in pencil, were the first three letters of a small artist’s name. I’d thought Picasso was done; that Michelangelo was finished; that he no longer saw “canvas” when he looked at a wall. But apparently not. This time, his medium was pencil instead of marker or that blasted green butterfly stamp. And he signed his name.
I sigh. But I smile, too, knowing that this blessing-who-might-not-have-been is growing up. Already, the smudges are moving higher on my walls. One day, they’ll be gone altogether. Knowing this, I swallow a lump. And I leave them there, those shaky letters scrawled above the couch.
Speaking of the scribbler…the monkeys have come out. No, really. They have. The stuffed one he got for Christmas has joined three others of varying sizes from Big Brother’s Curious George collection. And they’re fighting. There’ve been some terrible injuries, including a shooting and a few fatalities. This, of course, requires an emergent trip to the ‘hospital’ where the ‘doctor’ administers ‘medicine’ with a toy syringe, performs a few other hazy medical procedures, and voila – health and healing restored! All of this happens in front of my desk as I work.
When I told a wise and discerning grandma about the monkey shenanigans, she said, “Well, as long as they don’t jump on the bed!” And laughed.
The “girl encounters” I hear about from Boy Three. The texts I get from College Kid. The assurances of prayer I receive from Boy Two. Disgruntled monkeys and artwork from Boy Four. I’m storing them up, tucking them in my treasure box, grateful – oh, so much – for these. For (as Jan Karon put it) “the ineffable holiness of small things.”
Ah, yes. Big and small, these gifts are holy things, given in love, received with thanksgiving.