1) My girl earned her first pin in her archery class last week. She was so excited to test for the pin and pretty much bounced off the walls all day until class time. Then, a change came over her and she was poised and calm, and her form was beautiful. She drew back on the bow, checked her stance, and that split second when she released the arrow — before it hit the target — was full of hope and a smile spread across her face when it landed thisclose to the center. It’s hard to realize that my daughter is growing up and her Daddy’s not here to see it. She is doing activities now that he never knew she was interested in, and while I am incredibly proud of her accomplishments, there’s still a bit of poignancy in that beautiful moment.
2) The weather has turned cool again, despite May being upon us. I’m so happy that I discovered jersey sheets at Target; the perfect balance between winter’s cozy flannel sheets and summer’s washed-to-softness cotton. Nothing like snuggling in bed with my girl, sleeping late like a couple of slugs on sheets that feel like a hug.
3) Two massive hanging baskets of bright pink geraniums sway happy on their hooks in my front garden. Spring is flirting with us this year, but these flowers promise that cheery warm days are just around the corner.
Some pieces of beauty and joy in this very hard week that I’ve spent remembering the events and emotions of last April 16, when Kevin died.
1) My daughter was enthralled with the idea of a “blood moon” so there was no way we were going to miss it. Armed with a Mountain Dew, I stood watch until the wee hours of the morning, when I woke her in time to witness the eclipse. We stood, bundled in winter coats, shivering under the vast black sky and watched the moon’s ivory face shade to a fiery brilliance. And I felt so small in that moment of indescribable beauty, but so aware of God’s majesty and perfect design.
2) A crisp stalk of roasted spring asparagus. The color was stunning and the taste so refreshing after a long cold winter with few interesting options for fresh vegetables.
3) A group of kids creating a “frog symphony”, mimicking native frog calls with finetooth combs, small pebbles, and their voices. So serious while being “conducted” by the conservation ranger, then smiles broke out on their faces as the adults making up the audience clapped wildly at the end of the performance. Learning about nature, and feeling pride in the knowledge; it was delightful to see them all so happy…and to hear my “little frog” in the backseat all the way home, practicing her calls.
Some pieces of beauty I found this week; I’m glad I didn’t overlook them.
1) My daughter takes piano lessons, has for about a year now. I love that she fills the house with music because even though she always has a set lesson to practice, she also improvises beautifully and composes some of the most lovely pieces you’d ever want to hear. This week she was working on a version of “Ode to Joy” which was haunting in its simplicity. On Tuesday, she sat down at the piano and her teacher asked her to play the song. My girl played a bit of music — nothing that was on the page — then turned to her teacher and explained, “That was an introduction. It needed something more.” And I snorted, quietly shaking with laughter in the background, because, yeah, of course my daughter thinks that Beethoven needed a little help with his composition.
2) I’ve been bemoaning the fact that some recent spring storms have scattered small twigs and branches across the yard…twigs and branches that I will have to clean up, in addition to all the leftover leaves that have been blown down. I want to like yardwork…but I really don’t. But then, in the middle of our history lesson yesterday, I looked out the window and saw a blue jay, hopping from branch to branch with a bit of twig in its beak. It was using the bits to build or reinforce a nest, I guess. Something beautiful from something broken.
3) I’ve been cooking for so long now, I sometimes forget what a magical thing it is. To take simple ingredients and combine them and create something delicious to share — it’s a gift. And this week, I got to watch my daughter start unwrapping that gift. She’s always helped me in the kitchen (we used to joke to Kevin, “What’s better than one girl cooking for you?…TWO girls cooking for you!”) but she’s starting to explore cooking on her own. She asked me for some cookbooks to look at, so I handed her a couple of kid-friendly ones and sent her on her way. A few minutes later, she strode purposefully in the kitchen and began gathering a few things to make “Salad on a Stick” — some lettuce, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella chunks, and basil leaves, all skewered onto a toothpick. Her enthusiasm was contagious and her face glowed as she ate her masterpiece. What began as a truly boring lunch of tossed-together leftovers became something more when we shared the kitchen and created gifts of nourishment for each other.