Monday, September 24, 2007

The Natural Order of Things

I once heard my grandpa talk about a next step in a life sequence as "the natural order of things." In the moment, I loved the phrase, thought about how poetic and beautiful it was, and knew that, one day, it will be the title of something I will write down the road. I deeply respect this man and his profound words spoke to me.

As a little girl, I sometimes cried at night in my bed thinking about how I knew that I was going to grow up and I wouldn't be able to be my daddy's little girl anymore. I knew that things would change. At the same time that I was excited about growing up and always so anxious to get to the married-and-children stage, I always felt extremely attached to my home, the people I loved there, the place that had become sacred to me.

Things haven't really changed that much.

I got married, I have two boys, I love what I do all day. I live in the town that I grew up in. We actually live with my dad right now for a few months, so I'm actually living in the house I grew up in, too. I wasn't very excited about moving back home when we moved over here, just because it felt like I was losing independence and I didn't know how it would feel or how it would go down. In reality... has been lovely.

I have enjoyed several late night conversations with my father that I haven't had in a long time. I have reflected, again and again, at how much a space really matters -- how small, seemingly insignificant places and things have such profound impact. I have relished in time spent with family, realizing that this is where it's at, this is what I love, these are the people that matter to me.
I've had phone conversations with sisters that leave me feeling oh-so-connected to them and grateful for all the richness they add to my life. I've had sweet moments with women in my ward at church where I've realized that I have a sense of community here. I've sat at my neighbor's kitchen counter and talked about anything from dates the past weekend to shattered doors and tantrums.
I've walked and ran miles in this city, watched the seasons change year after year, and enjoyed perfect calm in the stillness of the early morning and closing darkness.

The nature around me, cyclical like each passing year, relates constantly the metamorphosis of change. It's kind of amazing that in the day-to-day I don't notice how much my surroundings are changing, how things are different from just last week. But if I stop and take inventory from how things are different from how they were in the years past, change is evident all around me.

Just last night, I was getting ready for bed and my little son was lying awake, watching me as I came in and out of the bedroom at different points. He was so sweet and quiet that I couldn't resist pulling him out of bed just because. I wanted to hold and squeeze him, give him a few kisses. I kept looking at him in his new little footie pajamas and thinking about what a beautiful son I have. And in those types of moments, I think -- Hold the magic.
Hold this moment right now.
This is lovely.
This is a memory in my soul.
And it's kind of remarkable to think that, at one point, I was that little child. I wonder if my mom felt the same way about me.

Then, just this morning, I had finished peeling and seeding a whole pot full of apples to make apple butter with my dad. The boys had been crawling all around the floor and once I was finished, I went over on the stairs to just spend some time with them, give them my full attention. When we made it to the top of the stairs -- with lots of kisses and snuggles and love all the way up -- I sat there watching them for a moment. I realized what a profound blessing I am enjoying right now.
They may grow up and move on, but I have had the sweet privilege of being a part of each moment. I am given a gift each day in the time I spend with them, these sweet moments that are ticking points in these minutes of my life.

And these memories become warm gifts to unwrap. Again and again.

Kind of like when I hear a Brahms Intermezzo and am taken back 14 years to hearing my sister playing that from the couch in the front room and it filling me with a sense of sadness, and aching in its beauty at the same time. The same way I get nostalgic at the sound of a lawnmower, or the smell of fresh cut grass on a Saturday morning. The same way an old joke from my little sister can still come through something as non-emotional as a cellular phone and warm me with how I can hear her voice in the text, how I can even almost hear her on the other end laughing. The peaceful changing of weather in the mountains. The familiar Y lit up on the mountain for Homecoming week at the university, the same way it was when, as little girls, my little sister and I would sit out on the back porch with wet hair and eat ice cream together before bed. Talking with my older sister about mothering and life and quilting and feeling connected to her in ways I never did before. The smell of familiar foods reminding me of years past, and enjoying the same thing, again, in the present moment.

Life is such a beautiful gift.

I am constantly stuck in the round continuum of events past, and enjoying them again in the present. And, as much as I find myself often wanting to "hold the magic," I realize that I continue to have beautiful moments in each new phase -- and I want the magic to shimmer for me in that part, too.

Isn't that lovely?

About a month ago, I went to the store late one night to get some lanolin for pumping (how blessed the day that we purchased that for the last time -- at least this time around). Upon coming out of the store, I wasn't ready to head home yet. I started to drive east, taking a familiar loop I used to make when I was in high school. I headed up past the temple at the base of the mountain, up around the road passing right by Rock Canyon, going past my friend Brian's house that I spent so much time at back in those days. I looked out over the city. I was stuck in one of those moments where memory floods me and I couldn't help but reflect on how special this place is to me. This city, this home, this neighborhood, these moments.

As I turned the corner coming back into my neighborhood, I thought about how, from the sky, this little place looks like any other place. Insignificant to any onlooker who might be just passing through. Lights, mountains, busy movement below, but just another city.

But to me, it might as well be the world. I was caught, in awe kind of, thinking about how, all through time, all spaces of living have been sacred to people in all ages past.

I felt a sense of reverence for roots, for the earth and its beauty, for the opportunity to tend my own little heartland of earth.

And last night, lying in bed with cool, fall air blowing into our room from the open window, listening to my husband breathe, my son babble, and the wind chimes at 12:30 in the morning, I felt peace. What a beautiful moment.

Just like calling my grandma yesterday morning for a recipe I was going to make for breakfast. Something that now, whenever I'm asked, I'll say, "It's a recipe I got from my grandma." Something that will now get passed down. To the next person who asks. Another way to remember grandma and all the moments we've shared together.

Another way to rejoice in the beauty. Make connections.
Hold the magic.

Be part of the natural order of things.

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