“Remember that we are always in the presence of the sacred. . .the sacred nature of life apparent to those who are open to it. We are a part of the infinite, which is in this moment expressing itself through us and in every facet of daily life.” – John McQuiston, Always We Begin Again
The weather’s colder. The leaves crispy as I wrap my jacket around myself a little tighter. We’re making that shift to inside people yet again. I look at that enclosed house with terror. Where will the kids’ energy fit this winter?
As I shuffle in, putting my coat up on a hook, “Let’s have a game night,” you say.
And we do.
After tacos, we sit around our golden-wood table, the middle leaf removed and leaning against the wall. Now little arms can reach all the game pieces. Even though we often eat together here, this feels closer.
Every other night of the week after supper, at least one of us has our noses pointed at a screen or at a pile of laundry or at little cars and Lego Blocks.
But here we are, for once, pointed at each other.
You’re in your comfy sweats, our daughter (6) squirms to my left—her clothes mis-matched—our son (4) bounces in his wooden chair, his tiny knees tucked in, so he can straighten up, tall as sis.
Close up like this, I see our little girl’s front tooth missing, her tongue wiggling the other one. I can soak in our son’s freckles and wonder when his facial expressions got so darn animated.
And you. I see you.
You’re not new to me, but in this moment, you are. As I’m reminded that love can get too grown-up sometimes, as we shift from all-night talks about hopes and dreams to quick car convos about who’s-got-what-activity-this-week and what groceries might go on the list.
In your grin at these tiny humans, in your banter and puffed-out chest each time you gleefully send one of them packing back to home base, I see the guy I fell in love with all those years ago.
Louisa May Alcott has a quote I love, “I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
I see the guy I fell in love with, but there’s so much more to you now. Layers left by the storms we’ve weathered, or maybe layers that have fallen away . . . losing your mom, losing that baby who would have pulled one more chair around this game night table, and some days just plain losing each other as we swam in our own pools of grief, spilling over on each other.
Some days we’re still swimming, but as we sit here at game night, I know we’ve been learning to sail our ship. This version of you—this daddy version—comforts me in ways that are richer, deeper, more sure-footed than I ever could have imagined when I walked down that red church aisle and said, “I do.”
Robert Frost (and later Pony Boy in The Outsiders) must have known about our game night, must have known about the small-town life we would build, when he said simply and beautifully, “Nothing gold can stay.”
So even when you steal glances below the table between turns, your iPhone full of fantasy football scores drawing you like a magnet, I smile, knowing it’s all part of our golden right now.
So, when our son stands up in final defeat, our daughter gloating all the while, I love it when he says, “Hey dad, I’m gonna’ play with you next time. Next time we’ll win.”
He knows the secret that to be on your team is to win. He knows, and I know too.
Happy Thanksgiving from Gratitude Gal.