Finding grace in small things really isn’t such a small task. I’m working not to miss out on those little moments when I find myself spinning from one obligation to the other. But I find myself oddly content tonight and not beyond a little bit of introspection to find out why…
Today I received a genuine and sincere compliment from my boss regarding some thoughts I shared with him about the direction I’d like to go on a big project. His leadership style centers on constantly upping the level of challenge and moving the bar higher, which typically means the compliments are few and far between. Often, he forgets to offer praise in his haste to let employees know that whatever goal they’ve met is only one step toward an even higher target. So, I’ll revel a bit in my moment today, realizing it won’t likely happen again soon.
Work aside, I had the opportunity to find some moments to appreciate with an evening at home tonight. While Soccer Boy and Adventure Guy tackled soccer practice and DD2 took a dance class, I taught DD1 how to make chicken enchiladas. She did a great job with them–even if we didn’t realize that we (and by that I mean “I”) had selected the hot salsa rather than the mild. We turned out quite the spicy dinner for a Tuesday. But we had fun doing it, and DD1 agreed to take on responsibility for preparing one dinner per week for the family, bringing me one step closer to my own resolution to eat together more often.
After dinner Soccer Boy completed his “mystery desk” project with a little help from me and my mastery-level glue gun skills. I love this project. It’s a product for the research each student completes on a historical figure. The students research a person from American history and create a display of items he or she might have had on a personal desk. Then, at open house, everyone gets to tour the desks and guess the people they represent. It’s a fun and engaging way to show off the students’ learning. And, even better, Soccer Boy enjoyed working on it and is proud of the result.
DD2 arrived home about the time we’d finished the mystery desk and just in time to show off her routine from dance clinic. Tryouts for the 8th-grade squad take place this week, and she’s focusing on learning the routine to perfection. She even agreed to show me her dance, something she doesn’t usually like to do. All I can say is we’ve come a long way from Freeze Frameby the J. Geils band (my tryout song when I was her age) to Circus by Brittney Spears. Or maybe not. I can absolutely recall the weird mix of excitement and sweat coupled with at least a small dose of panic that accompanied every tryout week of my life from 7th grade through junior year.
And I think that’s what made tonight special–those moments of feeling connected to the kids. As I navigate my way as the parent of two adolescent girls and watch my baby morph from a snugly little guy into a boy seemingly made of sharp angles and an even sharper streak of independence and determination, those moments come as infrequently as the compliments at work. So I’m going to grab them (both the moments and the kids) and hold on tight every chance I get.