When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Out of the ordinary

I find it too easy sometimes to get caught up in the lull of a weekday routine that seems to run of its own accord, like a well-oiled machine. The alarm goes off at 6am Monday morning and the gears start turning, not to be stopped until sometime Friday evening (assuming there's no overtime necessary). Get up. Get everybody ready and hustle out the door. Work or volunteer. Run errands and complete various household tasks. Pick kids up. Do homework. Make dinner. Clean up. Go to evening extra-curricular activities. Help kids get to bed. Make lunches. Read or watch tv for a bit. Go to bed. Repeat it all beginning at 6am the next morning. The other day, however, I remembered over a fondue pot that it's so very important to stop that machine regularly, to take much needed breaks that recharge and reconnect everyone and ultimately make family life run much more smoothly.

Because Monday was Valentine's Day, I made an extra-special effort to spend some out-of-the-ordinary moments with each of my favourite boys. Noah, Will and I had some happy conversation over heart-shaped toast at breakfast. Matt and I enjoyed a lovely, leisurely lunch at one of our favourite restaurants, and while we are generally fond of the barely contained chaos of regular family meals, it was really wonderful to enjoy good food, just the two of us, without having to ensure somebody's wildly gesturing arms didn't send a glass of milk flying. I shared time with the boys after school, sprawled across the family room floor looking over all of the fun valentines they'd received from friends. We ate a dinner that everyone liked, and finished it off with a special treat: chocolate fondue (which I made by melting one cup of coarsely chopped dark chocolate with half a cup of unsweetened almond milk and cutting up colourful fresh fruit to dip in it -- delicious!).

We all relished the slower pace of the evening meal and had a wonderful chance to talk while we dipped our fruit and savoured every bite. Finally, we all relaxed and spent time together enjoying the new books we'd given each other as Valentine gifts. Everyone went to bed smiling that night, and while you could argue it was the chocolate that did it, I'm more inclined to think it was the welcome break from the everyday routine, and the meaningful time we shared as a family.

I'm not so naive as to think that every day can be like Valentine's Day, but weekday life shouldn't read like a more complicated version of the instructions on a shampoo bottle either. (Apply shampoo. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.) Even a regular old Monday deserves to be delighted in, and never seen as something we have to simply "get through". I want to make a conscious effort to shake us all out of the routine more often, to make extraordinary moments out of ordinary ones, so that I never take for granted the incredible people I've chosen to spend my everyday with.

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