A Full Heart

It is late at night and I’m holding my baby as I type this.  The muffled voices of my husband spending time talking with his Dad come floating from the basement.  Everyone else has gone to bed.  I love the quiet sounds of a house that is asleep.  It’s been a busy weekend and early  tomorrow morning our guests will leave for the airport.  My little ones will wake up and wonder where there grandmas and grandpas went.  We will change the sheets on all the beds and my kids will move back into their rooms.  We’ll eat the leftovers for dinner and by Tuesday our lives will be back to normal.

But for now I must pause and savor this moment.

I look around me at the evidence of a weekend well spent, a weekend spent with people we love.  The furniture is out of place and the extra chairs are still scattered around.  The kitchen is clean and tidy thanks to many helping hands.  The streamers are still up; dim lights still cast a glow on the remnants of tonight’s celebration.  I love to see those shadows of what was, a few hours ago, a house filled with wonderful people.  I love the crumbs on the tablecloth, the empty dishes waiting to be washed or freshly washed and waiting to be put away – evidence of the deep satisfaction I feel in preparing food for guests and having them enjoy it.  I love that I was somehow able to pull it off, that I’m learning to smile and say yes to offers of help, and I love how wonderful it felt to have everyone here.  I hope that they understood that all of my efforts were a gift of love to them, an attempt to provide them with an experience and a memory that makes their time spent here worthwhile.

Tonight was a celebration of life.  My little baby, now 7 weeks old, was blessed.  The room was filled with family and friends and my sweet little daughter looked angelic in her gown.  My heart is full of gratitude for so many things:  for my little baby, for the beauty of the moment, for the gift of creativity, for my parents who are so generous in their praise and their help, for friends who would share their evening with us.  For my Mom and her hours spent in my kitchen helping me feed 20-30 people for the weekend.  Gratitude for my husband’s Mom whose help in the kitchen has been equally valuable.  For the delight my children have felt in the presence and love of both sets of grandparents.  I feel so thankful for all of it.  So thankful for people.

Both my husband and I have had our parents here with us this weekend, along with brothers and sisters and their spouses and friends.  We’ve cooked and baked and cleaned.  We’ve eaten delicious food and basked in the privilege of being together for a while.  I’ve loved every minute of it.

For me, the weekend has also been a quiet celebration of friendship.  My heart has ached with love as I have shared not only the fruits of my own efforts with my guests, but also the fruits of my friends’ efforts with them.  Food, activities, and a clean house were all gifts I could offer because they were first offered to me by women I love deeply.  It was hard to say yes when they offered their talents in my behalf, but right now I feel so grateful that I did.   I feel humbled that they love me enough to have expended effort and thoughtfulness in my direction, anxious to find ways to express my gratitude, aware that my love for them has taken on a new dimension that will not be forgotten.

And so I’m off to bed, off to savor the feeling of a bulging household one last time before it’s over, before I wake up to hug and kiss them all goodbye.  I feel so blessed, so very blessed.

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