how I want it to be

Evening time. The older girls are cleaning the kitchen and I invite coax cajole my 12 year old sons to come help me work on a puzzle. I’m hoping for fun moments together.  They come over half-heartedly to pick through the pile with me.  In ten minutes a piece or two gets placed, but they’re not really in a puzzle kind of mood.

When the girls get done with the kitchen, they come over to see how the puzzle is progressing. Sensing actual honest interest, I release the boys from mom-duty so the girls  can take their space.  They flee in relief.  The girls and I paw through pieces, talking quietly about colors and patterns, methodically clicking pieces into place.

Across the room John is reading the paper, and the two little girls are playing a game.  My 8 year old starts to hum, “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”, and soon I am singing along with her and the 6 year old.  My 16 year old son wanders down the stairs and harmonizes with me, sticking a few puzzle pieces in himself before sitting on the couch with his computer. My older girls don’t sing, but I can feel them cozying happily into the moment.  A gift indeed.

More pieces click in.   More singing.   More quiet conversation.  I never want to leave this moment.

Other moments of the day may have been difficult, uneasy, strife-filled, but here in this moment, life is just how I want it to be.


Words from women who encouraged me today:

Hope, in fumbling words

Why what you write matters

Weakness, strength, and the end of self


  1. Isn’t it amazing how you could be having one of the worst days…and then your child comes home to you…says something incredibly funny, or just gives you a hug and a kiss…and all’s forgotten. If for only a little whole anyway. 🙂

  2. “More pieces click in.”

    What a delicious metaphor for those of us who are constantly doing the work of buliding our families. Whether through adoption, birth, new girlfriend for an older son, or having an aging parent join you, the peace is in the pieces clicking. Thanks for this one, Mary.

  3. Beautiful. We’ve grabbed some of those moments lately, too. They make the other ones worth it. I’m trying to remember those at the end of the day instead of all the times I fell short or everything was crazy.

  4. Love this post. Love moments like this :o)

  5. Thank you for sharing, and reminding me of what the ‘real’ gifts of the season are.

  6. My son says to me the other day… “Isn’t this sad… you’re the most important person in my life … you GAVE me life… and I don’t have a present for you… that is really sad….” all I could do was smile.