Last weekend Lex was in all four performances of the school play at the jr. high. I forgot to take his photo, of course, because I am Mother.Of.The.Year. I worked in the cast room for two of the performances. My job? To keep the kids "quiet." Seriously.
Anyway, I didn't have anything for Nathan to do during the Sunday afternoon performance, so SG offered to pick him up and take him to the beach, even though grad school and work are both demanding most of his time right now. Even though he'd taken Sophie and Nate for dinner the night before while I spent hours hissing at a bunch of teenagers that they were getting too loud.
They headed over the hill with their wetsuits and fins, a couple of boogie boards, flip flops. Nate caught his first real wave, and SG said he swam out around the jetty like a pro. They got hot chocolate after, and then went to SG's parents' house where they had steak for supper. Nate came home so happy and proud. I caught him several times that night with a smile on his face when no one else was looking. He's been having a rough time of it lately, and some days my heart breaks over and over for him.
Lots of days, lately.
Monday he was helping me make supper. We stood in the kitchen together, not saying too much, his sisters running through all silly every few minutes. Mom, he said to me, what's the best day you ever had?
Oh. That's a tough one, I said, a sudden kaleidescope of days rising up from my memory.
Okay, then. The best year ever.
I looked at him, thinking that before too long he wouldn't be looking up at me when we talked like this, standing by the stove, but I'd be looking up at him. This year's been pretty great so far, I said.
Yeah, he said. And, yesterday was the best day I ever had.
Good, I said. Let's make a lot more of those days, okay? I think there's always room for more.
And, I've been thinking about that all week. About recognizing the best moments when they happen. About paying attention to them, figuring out what, if anything, makes them fall into place. Searching out clues on how to make more of them. Sometimes it's as easy as stopping what you're doing, putting on some music and getting your kids to dance with you in the kitchen. Reading a chapter from a book, even when it's already past everyones' bedtime. Stopping to listen, or talk, snap a photo, write a note. I think it's not the doing that's so hard, but the remembering to do. First you have to forget how busy you are; forget that idea of not having time for something, for a few moments or hours. Days sometimes. That's when the good stuff shows up; the stuff that makes all the work worth it.
photo by Nathan