[Quiet Thoughts] Of Joyful Gratitude

Photo: Our dear friend gave the boys this adoooorable book yesterday! Absolutely love it. I’m so glad that the boys haven’t outgrown good picture books yet. You should pick up a copy for the kiddos in your life at an independent bookstore near you! 

40 some-odd Valentines went up out of this house yesterday. Despite my ranting and raving, they were not attached with any other agenda. I’m still mad about Black History Month not being mentioned around here, but I was talked off the ledge and didn’t send a long manifesto of my grievances to school. 

Instead, the boys had simple red folded cards they made from the old cardstock I had left over from our wedding programs (I can’t believe we still have that paper!). After writing my rant last week, my friend generously offered to come over and help out. “I love crafting with kids! Please let me do this for you!” 

It’s the second time in as many months that a friend has come to the rescue for me. I don’t know why the minutiae of motherhood are so tiresome lately, but they are. I told my friend that I feel like I’m “outsourcing” my important motherhood tasks. Surely this is cheating. 

My friend disagreed. “There is no shame is saying yes to a friend who is offering to help.” 

For the price of a few slices of pizza, my friend came over on our half day and helped the boys come up with their design, make plan to get them started, and then got them on their way. The boys laughed as they looked at their class lists and discovered their classmates’ middle names. We adults kept the boys on track, but also laughed about our own things. Eventually, the boys took a break and we ended up cutting out hearts and stars to help them along. In the end, they didn’t all get completed in one afternoon, but we got pretty darn close.

There were a reasonable, not frustrating amount left to finish on Saturday. Then they all left the house yesterday, replaced with a million little Valentines with pencils, candies, and other stupid nonsense attached. I haven’t even looked at them. I consider this event over and done now.

My Quiet Thoughts are about the funny, reluctant joy that I’ve had from saying yes to two friends who have performed huge favors for me. I wrote last year that “yes” is a powerful word, often deriving (at least for me) much more joy than saying “no” to something.  Between the goody bags that I’m still getting compliments about and now these Valentines, it would seem that this year means to teach me just how much community I’ve got around here. Where last year, learning how to say “yes” to myself and my ambitions was wonderful, this year means to teach me what saying “yes” to others can do. I’m grateful for the lessons. It’s good to grow. It’s wonderful that the boys seem to benefit from it all. 

 I think my Quiet Thoughts are on the simple joy of letting go. I could have stayed in my anger, fought with my laminating machine, sent the boys to school with my angry little bookmarks, and achieved…nothing. Nothing, really. It could have been cathartic (it would have been cathartic. And badass. And rebellious. And yeah, we need those things), but it would have made all of this about me, when school Valentines are about the boys. You give Valentines and you get Valentines. Yay for Candy. Yay for pink hearts and junk. That’s what yesterday was about for them. Nothing less and nothing more.

When you have friends good enough to see your mania and offer to save you from it, let them. Say yes to being saved, Dear Reader. Say yes to letting go. Say yes to fighting some other day. 

It’s not that cold, but there has not been as much melting as advertised. I am very pleased to say that the annoying mid-week snowstorm revealed important and wonderful news: the fox is back! Yay! I was delighted to see the paw prints in the snow! I feel like s/he is late this year. I hope they aren’t sick. There have been reports of a mangy-looking fox in the area lately. The other cool thing around here? Valentine’s Orchids, two amaryllis plants, and our two Christmas cacti are all in bloom, so the farmhouse has delightful little pops of natural color in every room. It’s such a delight to have to much alive in the house. 

It’s Friday, the Friday before school vacation week. I don’t know what sort of human I’m going to be next week, so I’d better write some strong wishes now. I wish you a little time with a friend this weekend, Dear Reader. Do something more than “have coffee.” If you can go to a museum or get out for a walk and get out to a bookstore or something, do it. Spend a little time telling stories, laughing, and being together this weekend. If your favorite person is far away, pick up your phone and give them a call. I wish you a little time to cook this weekend. Good stuff. Soup, preferably. I made split pea soup and potato leek soup this week and they were wonderful. I was very pleased. Bonus points if you bake bread to go with your soup, or make a yummy sandwich. Extra bonus points if you make enough to send out the door to warm someone else’s belly in the next few days. I wish you time to read. I’m reading an advance copy of Cadwell Turnbull’s The Lesson and it’s absolutely outstanding. Will write a review for you in the next week or two. Pop over to your favorite independent bookstore and pick up a book this weekend. There is such good, good reading out there right now. I wish you a hug that lingers, a kiss on the cheek, and someone telling you they love you. Not this Valentine’s nonsense. Something real and true. I wish for someone to tell you they love you and for those words to give you goosebumps. Above all, I wish you a quiet moment, just for you, when you come face to face with yourself. In that moment, I wish sincerely hope you see your infinite beauty and are pleased. 

Dear Reader, you are loved. You are loved here and there, you are loved near and far, you are loved loudly and quietly, you are loved fiercely and fondly. You are loved because you are. You are loved rationally and irrationally. You are loved. You are so, so loved. You are loved not because of pink hearts on a silly holiday. You are loved because you are. Because what you do matters. Because you are infinitely beautiful. Because you give the people in your life joy. 

So be in the world as you are, proudly, beautifully, wonderfully. Tell the people you encounter out there that they are beautiful, and wonderful, and loved. Shine your brightest light, knowing that there are people who need it more than you can possibly know. When you shine brightly, others will do the same. In a world this deeply dark, the only people who can save it are those who walk without fear, who beat the darkness back by simply being who they are, at their very best, at all times. 

Next week is school vacation week, and that means I’m charged with entertaining two little boys allllllll weeeeekkkk looooonnnnnggggg. I am also on an annoying freelance deadline, so my writing time might need to be dedicated to that next week. So, I am stating here and now that I was absolutely write Quiet Thoughts next week. Monday and Wednesday, though…. they are lookin’ pretty iffy. So just… forgive me now. And maybe light a candle for my sanity. 🙂 

No matter what, you’ll see me here next Friday. Ok? 

Until then, shine on and take care.  

2 Comments Add yours

  1. joanesh says:

    K.C., I’m a new reader, only recently returned to Blogland after a 12-year hiatus. I don’t know you from Adam (nor you, me), but I have to tell you: I *love* your heart, the glimpses of who you must be that peek through your words. I love your honesty and authenticity, your passion and sense of humor. Frankly, I’d be angry over no celebration of Black History Month in the schools, too. (Really? At least they include that here in PA; is that a Mass thing?). I, too, hated Valentine’s Day when my kids were in school. (Ai yi yi, but I gamely worked with them to get it all done, and, like you, I tried to make it fun nonetheless.). My kids are all grown and in their thirties now, but I’m a grandmother of three, so that season is beginning once again (only it’s so much more fun as MeeMaw!). Yet something I learned from an older, wiser friend back when I was still a young mom, that I still use today, is this truth: “We sometimes have to say ‘no’ to very good things in order to say ‘yes’ to the best.” Sounds like you did exactly that this week when you said “no” to self-sufficiency and “yes” to you dear friend’s offer of help. Anyhow, I just had to say hello. All the best to you, and may your writing next week be swift, clean, and according to spec without needing much revision. Happy word crafting!

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      Welcome to my little space on the web, Joan! I’m so grateful for your presence! Thank you for this wonderful comment. I’m really warmed by it. It has taken me a long time to hone my voice here.

      I like the idea of saying “no” to the very good to say “yes” to the best. I’ve never heard that before and I really love it. That should be embroidered on many a pillow! I have a lot of friends who want me to say “no” more often: “you’re overbooked and crazy. Just say no to more things!” they say. They aren’t wrong. It’s just that we get this one precious life. The more you say no, the more you miss. I’m getting wiser about my limits and what I deeply value. If I can come away a little wiser, my world a little more colorful, then it’s worth it. I think what I’m learning right now is that you don’t always need a wild adventure for that. Paper crafts with a friend and your kids can, indeed, color your world.

      Thank you for your wonderful wishes for my week. May they all come true. I pray and pray that I’ll soon graduate from freelancing. It’s driving me crazy and sapping my creative energy.

      I wish you a fun time with the grands this week. Even if it’s just a little Facetime or an old-fashioned phone call. And I wish you warmth, wherever you are… it’s 19 degrees here in central Massachusetts!!

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