On Saturday, we reached a record high of 116 degrees in the desert. As I drove home with my daughter, I couldn’t ignore the sun, the rays shined into our car and sweat trickled down my back even though I raised the air-conditioning to the highest level. In the back seat, my daughter squirmed and said, “Momma, it is too hot. My skin is sizzling.” I didn’t disagree with her.
In the next five minutes, the sun started its descent. The sky filled with an orange-amber-red afterglow, the sun strutted her feathers like a peacock. We both said it at once, “The sunset is beautiful.” My daughter grabbed my iPhone to capture what we experienced as we approached our home. I’ve flipped to the picture a few times since Saturday and it represents what I’ve repeated in this space – the sheer exquisiteness of the ordinary.
The weekend unfolded with this exuberance. On Friday morning, I spent a few hours writing at my desk, reflecting on the goals I wanted to meet for the next few weeks. I did a load of laundry in the afternoon, paid some bills and hauled the recycling bin to our garage. In the evening, my husband, daughter and I cuddled underneath the covers and watched a movie together. There wasn’t anything earth shattering about these moments; just the quiet comfort of caring for our home, enjoying family time and the gratitude that accompanies these seconds. For the outsider, it may seem tedious or boring or not “exciting,” but I’ve spent the last few years identifying what means the most to me and paving the way for those activities.
In my twenties and the my early thirties, I’d spend moments looking forward to some event or occasion, often saying, “I can’t wait for Friday or Saturday night,” assuming these were the “exciting” seconds of my life. Now, I look forward to the everyday in every single day, whether it is reading a book, enjoying a good laugh with my family, exercising, talking with my mom or sister or bantering with my husband. It’s not loud or grand or big, but it is mine. It’s a contentment, a settled feeling of knowing what you’ve built isn’t disappointing, but is with a joy that has the potential of showing up day after day in your life. For me, it’s a certainty, a routine, and a comforting cadence to our days.
As the weekend moved into Saturday and Sunday, we spent part of those days attending my husband’s basketball team in a league tournament. My daughter and I lingered on the bleachers, cheering and holding up a handmade sign she made the night before. On Sunday afternoon, my daughter painted at a local pottery place, I purchased groceries for the week, made dinner and caught the NBA Finals. We ended the weekend reading our books.
Before going to bed, I thought about how we witnessed the glorious sunset, its radiance and the love and comfort of the mundane. I tucked my daughter in and cuddled with her for a few minutes. As I exited her room, she said, “I love you, Momma,” and I repeated the words back to her.
Yes, I thought. This is it. The exquisiteness that accompanies the ordinary.
I love those moments, too. Me, my husband and our daughter cuddled under the covers and watched a movie yesterday, and like you said, it was exquisite.
Those ordinary pleasures are unbeatable. As I get older, I relish them even more.
I think appreciation of the ordinary comes with age and perhaps with parenthood as well. My expectations of excitement and comfort have shifted dramatically through the years. I’m happy you are able to see the beauty in everyday. Enjoying life is a beautiful gift. The sunset picture is gorgeous. 116, wow! We haven’t hit anywhere near that!
Children do have a way of filling our lives with wonder and the ability to pay attention to those small moments. I love that this kind of excitement has the potential to appear in my everyday. Yes, 116 for the high and it is only June! It will be a HOT summer in the desert this year.
“It’s not grand or big, but it’s mine.” That’s such a perfect line and I hope to remember it everyday. I will celebrate my 40th birthday next month and I hope to practice this appreciation for the presence in my next decade.
Happy Early Birthday, Amy! When I turned 40, I detected a palpable shift in my perceptions and learning to practice my appreciation for the ordinary.
I remember always having something to look forward to, and always needing something. That was in my youth! I will probably always have something to look forward to, I only hope, but it’s definitely smaller and quieter moments! Not epic city lights like it used to be. Ahhhh.
What a great attitude, Tamara, claiming out loud that you will always have something to look forward to. In my youth, my excitement definitely centered on events and now my focus is solely on what is, instead of waiting on an external cue for happiness.
This is so beautiful, Rudri. My favorite moments, too, are the ordinary ones. Taking care of the ones I love the most, I find joy and peace.
Thanks, Ker. I know you share this appreciation because we’ve often discussed how the little things are the big things. xo
Beautiful! Those small moments are the big moments and somehow the moments that remain engraved in our memory. xo
Exactly, Ayala. Relishing the ordinary is a place of satisfaction.