When I was preparing for our wedding day seven years ago, one of the main pieces of advice I received from others had to do with remembering it all. "Don't forget to step back and soak it all in for it goes by in the blink of an eye," they would tell me. I remember feeling anxiety about this, attempting to will myself to remember every feeling, every look, every detail about the day that I had dreamed about for so long. Seven years later, there are things I remember vividly, like the way my sister-in-law Gina so effortlessly decorated the entrance to the reception, how soft my satin dress felt against my legs, the look on my dad's face just moments before he walked me down the aisle, and how surreal it felt to stand up there and say my vows to the man I was about to marry. I remember feeling like such a little girl standing in front of all those people.
Unfortunately, there are things I don't have the foggiest memory of. I don't really remember our first kiss as husband or wife, or what we talked about on the way to the reception. And the only memory I have of cutting our cake was being slightly upset with my brand new husband for smearing a piece in my face! I am fascinated by how the mind works, why we remember the smallest details of moments as if they happened yesterday and can't recall other bigger ones.
We are accustomed to want to remember the big things, those milestones that are often labeled as the best days of our lives. They are the mile markers - babies' birth days, wedding days, big trips to new places, and those ever important 'firsts' that you won't ever get back. We put lots of stock into these moments, build them up in our minds and envision how we want them to play out. But in my floods of memories, sometimes I'm surprised by the things I remember - the tiny, seemingly unimportant snapshots that stir up the same senses and emotions that I felt in real time. I often wonder if there is some greater significance to be found in the things my mind remembers.
The older I get, the more I realize the importance of the in-between days. The ones that start with a breakfast of blueberry muffins and a scrambled egg for Cruz and some cereal with a swirl of peach puree for Mila, the ones where I prop Mila up in her carseat and drink lukewarm coffee, where I am somewhere between a strung out restaurant waitress and dancing around the kitchen like the queen of some kind of castle, these are the days I want to remember as the best of my life. The days of the mundanely beautiful. I want to remember the way Mila's lips pierce together when she blows her bubbles and the sound of Cruz's giggle in response. The days when it takes me an hour to pack for an hour at the pool, but that hour, when I hold Mila's hands and glide her through the water as she chases her brother who smiles from ear to ear, well, it makes my heart sing. There's no build-up, no preparation for those moments for they flow like water. Those little moments, often mundane and messy and thrown together, they are full of so much beauty.
This summer has been one to remember for me, however, sometimes I wonder if I'll remember any of it. I hold Mila's little body against my side, feel her tiny hands grab the sides of my face and watch her mouth open like a baby bird as she proceeds to suck on my chin and I wonder if I'll forget what it feels like to hold her. Lately, I've been attempting to jot down the little things as they happen, those moments where I'm standing in the midst of a very lived-in house and something happens that makes me smile. Those moments where you stop and really notice how cute, or big, or precious those babies are. Those times when you feel so blessed, so honored to have a front row seat to the art that unravels as you watch two little souls deepen a connection they've seemed to have from the start. The mundanely beautiful moments of this life where I am content and they are happy.
A few of my mundanely beautiful moments lately...
...Oh, the great catch-all of naptime. You never know what you're going to get. The other day, the three of us climbed in our bed and attempted to read a few books together. Mila was in between us in her little Paddington Bear marmalade shirt and immediately craned her neck and attempted to roll onto her tummy. She wouldn't stop touching our faces and every now and then, Cruz would nonchalantly reach up and grab her little hand. All of a sudden, she lets out this little 'hhmph' sound and it sends Cruz and I into a fit of giggles. All plans of a nap plummeted, we laugh together and lay there as long as they let me.
...Somedays, I feel like all I do is prepare and clean up meals, but it brings me joy to cook for my family. Some days, this looks smoother than others, but it always ends the same way. Cruz's little profile in his usual spot by the window, diving into his second muffin or grabbing both sides of his juice cup, and Mila, fists in her face and kicking her feet as I spoon her bites of rice cereal with fresh berry swirl. We make small talk, but I mostly enjoy the few minutes of predictable calmness around the table as both babes fill their tummies.
...I was trying to put Mila to sleep the other morning in her room and had the door shut. She was overtired and fighting it and I was bouncing, patting, shh'ing fervently, waiting for her eyelids to start their anticipated flutter. Soon, Cruz cracks open the door to her room, peaks his big brown eyes in and says, "psst...Mom, are you putting Mila to bed?" Her eyes pop open, she cranes her neck to catch a glimpse of her visitor, and I attempt to remain calm and acknowledge Cruz in a patient way. After the third or fourth 'psst..." I realize Cruz just wants me to know he knows what that means. I smile and look down, only to see Mila smiling at me, too, her pacifier hanging halfway out of her mouth.
...The other night, I watched Cruz try his very best to keep up with Beau as he mowed the lawn. He had bed head from his nap and he looked so tan from the pool, especially when he followed suit and stripped down to his little cotton shorts that say, "see ya later" on the waistband. He was concentrating so hard pushing his little mower through the grass, looking up every now and then to make sure his daddy was approving of his lines. They'd exchange sweet smiles every now and then, but it was mostly all business. Adorable business.
...And our pool days, how blue Mila's eyes look against that water and how cute she looks in her white pool hat. I love how she is pretty serious on my lap, but the minute I put her tootsies in the water, she's all smiles. I love that Cruz would rather play restaurant with us and that his absolute favorite thing to do is have Mila chase after him in the pool. I grab her hands, glide her through the water humming the "na na, na na" from Jaws, while Cruz giggles his best giggle and attempts to run away. She always has the biggest smile on her face and Cruz's giggle is my favorite sound in the whole world.
...Carrying their heavy, sleepy bodies to their beds afterwards before sinking into the recliner, exhausted, satisfied, and happy.
Thanks to Darcy from At Play Photo for capturing our mundanely beautiful life this spring...