Today I watched a leaf fall from the tallest oak tree in my backyard.
It flickered like a fading light as it floated back and forth, back and forth, showing its shiny side to the sunlight every now and again.
Yesterday, I watched the 5-year-old and his little sisters make mud soup in the front lawn in big Tupperware bowls as I rocked the baby on the front porch rocking chair. The day before, we had a tea party on the livingroom carpet and pretended to eat bananas and ice cream cones that were sewn together from colored felt.
We’ve been searching for frogs in the bull rock and caterpillars under the leaves — and last night we ate summer garden pasta tossed with sauteed tomatoes, garlic, basil and thyme.
There have been many meltdowns and messes, too — but I find that once a day or two passes, those fall quickly from my memory like grains of sand through the cracks of my fingers. What sticks like glue is the other stuff. The stuff that fills me with GK Chesterton’s definition of gratitude: happiness doubled by wonder.
There is a place in my heart that I think of as my comfort-place — it’s filled with memories similar to these I’ve mentioned, but of my own childhood: of smells and sounds and colors that remind me of grandparents and holidays and fresh-baked cookies gone by. They are memories that I think are perhaps only able to be planted in childhood where the mind and the heart and the eyes are fresh without distraction — where we can soak up beauty in its purest form.
I love that my children give me the opportunity to see life through their eyes — to be young once again — to experience the art that children are especially good at: the art of wonder.
It’s all too easy to go through life taking the little things for granted — rushing around in rush-hour traffic, filling the quiet moments with social-media feeds, spending the present planning for the future.
Thank you, my beautiful children, for reminding me that God’s biggest miracles are often found in the little things.
“Enjoy the little things in life, because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”