Winter’s last gasp lay frozen on the landscape this morning. A fringe of icy breath laying tissue-thin over stark limbs and evergreens. One last gasp before spring decidedly arrives.
Birds twittered outside my bedroom window this morning … a sure sign that spring is near. A sleepy peek at the clock through tired eyes, and I awoke with a start knowing that Maea needed to get up and get ready for soccer practice … I should have stirred her 20 minutes ago. Before she even opened her eyes, we were already running late. My fault. Waking is a painful process for her, like me. And if the day is to get off to a smooth start, it’s best to let her wake slowly, like me.
I brushed my fingers across her back and said, “Maea, wake up. You need to get ready right now for soccer. You have 5 minutes to get ready.” Silence. I repeated myself until she started to stir and eyes started to open. And then the tiredness that hasn’t been allowed to wake gracefully snapped out a few charged words … “I’m not going. I’m tired. My throat is still sore.” And then rising in volume … “I DON’T WANT TO GET UP!”
These are the words that floated into the hallway like a slap in the face. Jay, who wakes up early to swim laps, was just arriving home to a quiet house that should have been buzzing with the sounds of kids, with one ready to walk out the door.
Angry words flew, slicing the air. Weary of the seemingly endless battle with kids who commit to sports and then whine about going, or can’t find soccer socks and shin guards because they NEVER put them away (they don’t walk off and hide themselves!) Maea stomped into the bathroom to pull her hair up into a ponytail and shot Jay a glare.
By this time, the boys were awake. Wesley was sitting on the couch, with his words already in high gear. “MooooOOOOM! I want yogurt!” he yelled. “I’ll get some for you in just a minute,” I told him as Jay and I turned a closet inside out looking for shin guards. “MOOOOOOOOM, I want yogurt!” he yelled again. “Wesley, you’ll need to get some yourself, otherwise you have to wait until I’m not busy,” I told him again. Without even waiting 2 seconds, he yelled at me again … “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM, I want yogurt!” I let my breath out slowly and decided to ignore him.
Just then, Emme walked into the room with the laptop to show us a picture of a loft bedroom set she was admiring. She’s wanting to get a loft bed and be able to put a small couch beneath it to have a place to hang-out with friends. Jay looked at the photo and then explained that the ladder would get in the way of a sofa.
“You don’t need to attach the ladder!” she snapped. “Yes you do or it won’t stay in place. It will fall on someone or fall out from underneath you,” he explained. “You don’t need to attach it, Dad!” she snapped again, and with her eyes and the tone of her voice what went unsaid was this … YOU IDIOT YOU FOOL I KNOW BETTER THAN YOU.
And with a temper already frayed he snapped back at her … and angry words flew again, slicing the air with razor sharpness. And then I threw a few razors of my own “Why do you even get in the ring with her Jay? When she taunts you, don’t get in the ring!” and of course my tone also said YOU IDIOT YOU FOOL I KNOW BETTER THAN YOU. Truth be told, I get in the ring as often as he does.
Why do we use words (and unsaid words) to hurt the ones we love the most?
So we left for soccer practice, with silence hanging heavy and smoldering in the air. Maea got out of the car, and with one final glare, she slammed the car door.
Jay started to unleash with angry words about lazy kids, uncommitted kids, snotty kids, disrespectful kids and I told him to, “just let it go.” Quiet for a few moments, he started in again … lazy kids, uncommitted kids, always late kids … I cut him off again, “It was my fault she was late. Why can’t you just let it go.”
“I have let it go,” he snapped.
"Yep – it sure sounds like it,” I retorted.
And then with just a whisper of a smile he said, “You can’t see inside me so you don’t know that the raging fire is now just a few glowing embers. You can’t see inside me so you don’t know.” And I started to laugh.
“Keep driving,” I asked, “I want to see the hoarfrost and it never lasts for very long.”
The hoarfrost forms on the trees on especially cold mornings when there is fog and moisture in the air. It seems to wreath the trees even more near lakes and rivers where there is perhaps a little more moisture in the air. It’s incredibly beautiful, and delicate, and you can’t help but admire and appreciate it. It’s beautiful in the haze and fog and it’s even more beautiful when the sun breaks through and whole forests glisten and sparkle with a sheer veil of white. Up close, branches and stalks of grass look like lacy fingers.
It's delicate and fleeting.
With a hint of sun and a whisper of wind, it's gone, sprinkling the air with glistening crystals.
These precious years when the kids are little, still being cradled within the belly of their family ... these are sacred moments and they are delicate and fleeting.
I want to savor and appreciate these years, moment by moment ...
and not sully them with angry words, said or unsaid.
It's a lesson that I still learn day after day as I try to instill that lesson in my children.
Every day, every moment can be made sacred ... if we live it with gratitude and awe, knowing it is delicate and fleeting.