A few weeks ago, I started reading “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. I’m only about a third of the way through it, mainly because at times it can be heavy and is often thought-provoking, and by the time night rolls around I’m exhausted and can only digest light reading. But sometimes I get a few minutes to read during naptime or I get to bed earlier than normal and my eyes aren’t quite so heavy. At those times, I’ve really enjoyed this book so far. It’s written so differently from other faith-based books I’ve read. It almost makes me feel like I’m back in college in one of my Literature classes.
The way Voskamp writes is truly a gift; I could never imagine crafting such beautiful imagery. She finds beauty and gratitude in the ordinary, and I’d even take it a step further and say the less than ordinary. For example, she marvels at the eye-capturing irridescence of soap bubbles as she’s washing dishes and other seemingly mundane bits of life. And even though I only get to read from this book every few days and am only a third of the way into it, it has spurred me to take an introspective look at how I view the sublties of life.
Earlier this week, I was trying to figure out what the boys and I should do late afternoon after their naps. The pool crossed my mind, but with the temperature barely reaching 80 degrees, I wasn’t too keen on being fully drenched. So I settled on something so simple, so often taken for granted.
We spent the afternoon in our small, but oh-so-big-to-them backyard. The boys slurped down popsicles. It was Beau’s first one all to himself, and he made it a truly memorable moment, proving that he knew what he was doing holding the stick. He finished in half the time it took James Michael. The boys also discovered a tomato that had fallen (possibly with a little help when no one was looking) from the vine much too soon. James Michael tried to cut it in half with his toy saw, while Beau decided to eat it as a snack.
They played together, watching a butterfly, pretending they were firemen and just being brothers.
And I could look at this (and I often do) as a successful afternoon entertaining the boys and keeping them happy. But really, it’s so much more than that–so much more I take for granted. It was Beau’s first popsicle, yet another taste of independence, as turning one has catapulted him into a new phase where ‘baby’ withdraws to make room for ‘toddler.’ It was the determination on his face when he finally gripped the stick the right way and held onto it for dear, sweet, juicy life. It was sitting like a big boy beside his brother, doing exactly what brother was doing in a chair just like brother’s. It was discovering a butterfly on a nearby flower that captivated their attention and curiosity, bringing about little squeals of awe as they batted at the air and chased it across the yard.
And it was at this time when a lump rose in my throat as I came to terms with the fact that they can’t stay babies forever. And as I forced the lump back down, I smiled, watching them make new discoveries and so thankful they could make them together.
This simple, ordinary afternoon gave me a chance to glimpse God’s beauty through the wonder-filled eyes of a child, realizing that sometimes, happiness in life can be this simple, this fulfilling, from the everyday occurrences.