One morning I was on my way to the computer to write my first column since vacation when I heard my husband singing in the shower. I sat quietly in the hall, sipped my coffee, and listened. He’d sing, then he’d whistle some of the melody, and then he’d sing a few more lines.
It was pretty wonderful. He has a nice voice. But what brought a smile to my heart was how happy and content he was.
As I went to get myself that second cup of coffee, I glanced at our bookcases, which I had dusted and straightened the day before. Then I moseyed into the closet to admire my organizational and cleaning abilities.
By the time I clicked on the computer and the little cursor was jumping in front of me, I had changed my idea for the column.
“I’ll write on anger another time,” I thought. “Today I’ll write on pausing, pausing to note the little things in life that so often get brushed over and rushed by.”
One wall of my office is cork board. It is convenient for hanging story ideas, school calendars, jokes, funny and philosophical cards people have sent me, and family pictures I can’t bear to put away.
In one section on the wall I have all of my daughter’s school pictures. I love to look at the way she has changed and grown from year to year. First there are the big smiles of pre-kindergarten and early grade school. Then there are the years of shyness and tentativeness in front of the camera. And then a more mature face and a big friendly smile.
Looking around this room, there are so many pleasures. My coffee mug made by a St. Louis potter. The shape, the feel, the coloring, the handle – it’s so right. I’ve been drinking coffee from it for years.
One of my favorite cards on the wall shows a large green and orange fish swimming in the water. A white rabbit dressed in a purple dress is hanging for dear life on the back of the fish. Above the picture is written, “Life can be a slippery fish.”
How often that picture has helped me put things in perspective.
I have a globe on a stand in my office. It was a gift from a dear friend. Years ago the two of us were shopping in a stationery store when we came across some globes. I shared with her that when I was in grade school I would have given anything to own a globe.
That Christmas my attentive friend surprised me with one. I like to spin it. I like the feel of it. Last week I used it to check out the spelling of Caribbean.
There’s an electric pencil sharpener on my desk. When I use it I become a little girl fascinated at how it can sharpen a pencil.
A handmade doll sits on one of the chairs. Her name is Emily. My friend Jeanine made her for me. Emily has on a blue and white dress with tiny white buttons. I never had a doll when I was a little girl. Maybe that’s why Emily has won such a place in my heart.
Hanging on the wall is a list of things I wanted to accomplish this past year. Unlike other years when I have checked off only half my list, this year I’ve already checked almost every item. Perhaps I was kinder to myself when I made out the list the first week in January. I didn’t give myself so many tasks to accomplish.
Other items in my office have special meaning for me: A carved bird, a small statue of a little girl, photos of flowers, a picture of one son in his football jersey, another son in his bathing suit.
Pause for a few minutes today. Listen. Look. Take note. Appreciate.
Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World,” “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide,” and “Thin Becomes You” at Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com.
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