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The gift of today…

It is a breathtakingly beautiful day outside.  I send the Fearless Foursome outside for some fresh air and exercise.  What I wish I could write about this experience is this:

Everyone played in harmonious co-operation whilst enjoying some excellent winter recreational activity while tromping around in the sparkling snow.

What really happened:

Everyone proceeded to move from one activity to the next, like a bull in a china shop.   And by the time we were ready to eat lunch, one pair of bindings was broken on my set of skiis and a pair of antique snow shoes were broken in half. Add to this, complaints about the four remaining Tim Horton’s donuts offered for mid-morning snack.  You know.   The gross ones that nobody chose the two other times picks were made.  Add to this, Oldest dragged himself out the door only so as to sit on the porch swing,  bribery being the only motive for his appearance in the light of day.  And then.  Littlest One said this:

“Does playing outside count as our chores?”

As if, dreamer.  As if.

Oh how one goes from one moment to the next.  Moments connected to moments.  Never quite knowing where the next step will take you.  Where the next step will lead.  Will there be a next breath?  Another hour to come and go, to see and do?  Will there be another evening to ‘lay me down to sleep and pray the Lord my soul to keep’?  Will there be another morning, another sunrise to awaken the soul?  Will there be?

How very much we take for granted.

An understatement to say that I had a bit of a rough start this morning.  Things were a little crazy around this neck of the woods, what with all the skiis and snowshoes breaking, the donuts not being just right, the Boy balking at the thoughts of going outside, the propositioning about chores and all.  All that murky day-time stuff.  And then there was the lunch-time fiasco.  Ah!  Lunchtime.  A smorgasboard of delights to turn the stomach.  Leftover pasta, leftover meat pie, leftover Chinese food and a few really, really burnt fries and lemony fish sticks that were REALLY leftover, if you know what I mean.

The Garbage Can didn’t even want those puppies.

I was feeling pretty cranky by the time lunch was over.  I was growly about the food on the floor, growly about the food left on the plates, growly about the leftover food going back in the fridge.  It was all classic Gard family stuff.  Things that happen here pretty much every day.  It was just that I was taking it all to heart.  As if it all really mattered in the scheme of life.

After lunch, there was a rush out the door taking us to the rink.  Because the Boy was having a bit of a panic attack over not being on time for the pre-game guy stuff that goes on in the dressing room.  So out we all hurried to the van and piled in like a bunch or sardines.  I was still ‘cranking’ a bit because it was a little crazy in the van, what with everyone still reeling over the after-effects of all those greasy leftovers.  And so on a lark, I went back into the house, putting us in grave danger of being late for the GUY STUFF, and I grabbed some essentials: Ketchup chips, Double-Stuff Oreo cookies and juice boxes.  To hold us all over.

And then we were off.

As we had a bit of time pre-game, I decided the girls and I would go to the park.  I was feeling generous with my time.  Actually, feeling a bit smug with what a great mom I must be, taking time out of my busy day to play with my kids.   So we parked the van and then trudged through the deep snow to the park.  The one behind the potato museum.

Littlest One was so excited to see the big potato.  It’s been a while.

When we got there, something magic came over me.  I remembered what it felt like again to walk in the snow toward the monkey bars.  What it felt like to thrill at reaching the second hoop, after many tries.  What a thrill it is to swing as high as you can go, and then jump.  Landing on your own two feet.  I remembered what it is like to feel the winter sun on your face, the warmth of daylight illuminating the deepest corners of the soul.  Shedding light in dark places.

I remembered.  What a joy are winter picnics, especially when chips are involved.  How precious are those photographs taken when all is well in the world.  When your children are simultaneously at your feet and in your arms.

And as I sit here tonight,  I think this.   Each day, from start to finish is a gift.   Every moment.  From those moments of utter confusion  and chaos that make up much of our days to those moments of peace and joy that are sandwiched in between.  They are all a gift.  A GIFT!!  And we must never, never take them for granted.

It is a wild and precious life.  Live each moment as if it were… your last.

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