When we are presented with the gift of a 60 degree day in January, schoolwork gets stripped to the bare minimum so that we can thoroughly enjoy the outdoors. I believe that one of the most devout forms of thankful prayer is the laughter of children as they chase puppies and leaves around the backyard; surely, the Lord in Heaven hears them, and smiles at their gratitude.
After schoolwork, a little desultory housecleaning, and a slightly early lunch, Bugaboo, Beanie and Mr. Man sprinted down the stairs, out the back door, and peeled off for different destinations in the yard, with Smudgie and Bo in hot pursuit. I stayed inside and attempted to convince Baby Guy that cereal is really tasty, and that sitting in a high chair isn’t so different from being snuggled up in Mommy’s arms (he’s the first one we’ve had trouble getting to eat from a spoon, but at least once a day, we keep trying). When baby wiggles and cereal expulsions indicated that our youngest was done with the whole “big guy food” drill for today, I opened the front windows and let him get the rest of his wiggles out on his playmat, all the while keeping a watchful eye out the back window for any whispers of trouble in the yard.
Baby Guy was thoroughly involved with his toys, Smudgie and Bo had taken up guard positions, and the ambulatory small people were merrily wreaking havoc in the yard, so I decided to chance catching up on a few phone calls. It’s the rare winter day when the decibel level in our house allows me to have actual conversations with other adults, so I was delighted to be able to talk to a couple of close friends and catch up on my husband’s adventures with our family doctor (ah, the 40-year-old physical).
During my chat with one friend, Bugaboo scampered in, begging for a bucket of paint and some brushes. We have a large, wooden fence, large wooden playset, and lots of rocks in our back yard. Diluted tempera paint is a terrific art medium for all of the aforementioned, and since Mr. Man had playfully hurled a full bottle of orange to the floor (thus rupturing one entire side of the bottle), I mixed up a nice big bucket, handed her some sponge brushes, gave her a kiss and instructed her not to allow Smudgie to drink the paint. Our giant puppy’s backyard leavings are easy enough to spot without any artificial coloring, thanks. Carefully balancing her prize, Bugaboo tiptoed back down the stairs, hollering as she went that Mommy had ACTUALLY LET THEM HAVE PAINT THIS TIME!
I finished the first conversation and returned the call of a second friend, whom I had interrupted to get the lowdown on my husband’s checkup (for the record, he is hale and hearty, if a victim of his wife’s cooking). As she and I were catching up on each other’s current events, Mr. Man wandered upstairs, stopped to greet Baby Guy, then meandered into the kitchen. I handed him his water bottle, still chatting breezily with my friend, and started putting the lunch dishes in the sink, since Baby Guy was still happily doing pullups on his playmat mirror.
It’s been said by many, including me, that the little things one overlooks tend to return to nosh on one’s nethers. In this particular case, I lost track of Mr. Man momentarily, so engrossed in my conversation was I. I would very much like to have seen the look on my friend’s face when she heard the following escape my lips:
“I really have to go now. Mr. Man just bit my butt.”
Today’s prayer: Lord, Your blessings concoct some truly novel ways to get my attention. Please open my eyes to their needs, so that I may channel their creativity into more constructive endeavors. Thank you for all the wonders of this beautiful day!