A wise kindergarten teacher taught this lesson every January. She would gather her students to play a game. Then she would have them look at their shoes. She’d tell them if they had any blue or red on their shoes they weren’t allowed to play the game. They had to sit and watch. Of course, the students that had blue and red on their shoes got very upset. The teacher would introduce a picture book about Rosa Parks or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and read the story to the children. They’d discuss how it felt to be excluded, not accepted, not equal. Then everyone was welcome to join in on the game.
My mother-in-law was sitting outside a store in her power wheelchair drinking a cup of coffee waiting for her ride when a stranger walked by and dropped some coins into her coffee cup. Imagine her surprise! She had no idea she needed help.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between happiness and joy. Happy is what most people say they want to be. Happy is ripping open presents, enjoying our favorite meal, or watching our football team score the winning touchdown. Happiness is dancing and singing. Happiness is an emotion that fills us, makes us smile, laugh, and emanate an energy that others respond to. However, sometimes happiness can be tied to an outcome we are seeking. I’ll be happy when…. If our goals aren’t met, or things don’t go exactly the way we planned, or we don’t get the gift we were hoping for then we may not allow ourselves to be happy.
Driving in Cape Coral, especially during the winter, can be an interesting experience. We have drivers from all over the country and around the world. This time of year the roads are crowded!
Not long ago, I was running errands. I had been to the gym, stopped at a local shop to buy Roscoe and Smudge’s treats and was on my way to the next stop. My holiday music played, the sun was bright, and the decorations lined the street.
A quiet house
Door opens to smiling faces
My babies are home
Food filling the fridge and spilling onto the counter
And a giant pan of mac-n-cheese
Familiar voices fill the living room late into the night, teens that have grown to adults
My heart content, feeling a peace I never fully understood I’d lost
All is well
Conversations at breakfast, mugs of coffee refilled
Sunny, crisp air, days with books in our hands for hours
Decorations pulled from bins, scattered throughout the house
Icicle lights sparkling
Pups tails wagging, waiting by their leashes
Memories fill the space we call home. Our separate lives become one.
We are family. We are love. We are together.
The gentle unease returns
Backpack full. He’s leaving
“Text when you arrive.”
“I’ll see you soon.”
Waving, watching the wheels drive away
Pups tails are still
One last movie
One last morning coffee
One more goodbye
The hum of the dishwasher
The shuffling of paws on the floor
A peace is missing
My babies have learned to fly
A quiet house