Life has been so busy again lately...I'm not sure why. But it's just felt a little crazy and I've been tired.
But this morning I was up early and rested despite a short night's sleep. Although I'm usually too tired to get up before the kids do at 7:00, this morning I felt refreshed and ready to go by 6:00. It's my favourite time of the day, actually...the house is quiet (a miracle, that), peaceful, and a little creaky from not being walked in since the night before...I love it.
I snuck downstairs with those tail-wagging dogs of mine, made myself a freshly ground cappuccino, and went out and sat on the deck steps with the dogs. The sun was already up, but the air was fresh and cool and I sat there in my pajamas breathing in the still-fragrant lilacs. I spent the next hour or so sipping on my cappuccino, talking with God and talking with my dogs - all of whom seemed content just to be there beside me. The morning birds were chirping and once in a while the dogs and I would look up to the sky when one flew overhead, and we found it easy to find contentment in the echoes of their joy.
My messy backyard sometimes depresses me just a little, but this morning it gave me reason to be thankful. I counted six soccer balls lying randomly where some growing foot had kicked them; three or four empty soup cans that the boys were using last week for some invention or another; a few dog-dug holes that all three kids are using as golf holes (complete with flags); a plexi-glass sheet lying on the grass with several sun-baked mud bricks on it that Matthew is experimenting with to see if he can make enough to build himself a shed (there's a multi-year project in the making), and the accompanying homemade brick molds strewn alongside; the trampoline with yesterday's shirts and pants strewn over the edges because apparently clothing becomes an impediment to jumping to one's full potential; fragments of child-sized socks everywhere that the dogs have destroyed; seven or eight ice cream pails and a large rubbermaid container or two, all of which are being used to store last week's rain water because, after all, rainwater provides the best source of food for the planter of tiny carrot greens that Matthew strokes and counts every day; a lopsided tent on the deck that the boys spent a few nights in last week and which their mother hasn't made them clean up yet because it's also a place for quiet times and secret conversations and book reading and hide & seek; deck chairs lying haphazardly around the edges of the lawn (if one can call lawn the sparse, bicycle-trampled, trampoline-shaded grass); small tomato and raspberry plants waiting patiently on the deck to be planted but which might not survive because it's been almost two weeks since we bought them and they have yet to find their permanent stations; bicycle ramps and a bike that didn't get put away last night.
Seeing these clear signs of emergent play gave me joy this morning. I found myself so thankful that my children have these opportunities to play; to experiment with a microcosm of life and find new or re-invented ways to do things.
I won't be asking the kids to tidy the backyard today...probably not tomorrow or the next day either. Call it laziness, call it whatever. For me, it's just a reminder to be thankful for the moments we have in the here and now.