Now that the wintry weather blows through my drafty windows and
curls across my floorboards, my two-year-old has decided she wants
to wear only dresses. Short-sleeved, frilly dresses. If you
look at her for too long, she bats her arms against her sides in
what seems to be a mixture of embarrassment and pride. Suddenly,
the pride wins out, and she will start to twirl. Then she'll ask
you to dance.
Last Sunday, my husband had finally taken a much-deserved day off.
It was early in the morning. He was wearing long underwear
with an open bathrobe slung on top. "Tie your dress,
Daddy," our little girl said. And then, with her partner
sufficiently groomed, she hollered, "Let's dance!"
I was all for this dancing idea because it meant I could take some
much-deserved time off, too. I threw another log on the fire and
poked it around until it started to crackle. Then I put my feet up
and opened a book.
The moments of alone time I get with my precious books are so rare
that I sometimes regard them as little snippets of heaven, thrown
down to keep me going. Whenever I get even the smallest fix
of quiet time, I immediately engross myself in the book at hand,
which is why, I suppose, I became so overwhelmed by what I saw in
my living room when I finally looked up.
It was silent except for the soft, easy crooning of Randy Travis.
The pops from the logs in the wood-burner embellished the warmth
of the room.
And there was Cassie, her hands reaching up to high
to meet her daddy's. She stared at him as they swayed, and, just
at that moment, I could see straight into her little soul.
was something separate in there. Not a reflection of me or of her
daddy or of her grandparents, but of pure Cassie, of the unique
soul she's discovering herself--day by day--to be.
When the song
ends, daddy teaches her how to curtsy. His leg juts out, as
though he were preparing to do a cartwheel.
"Is this right?" he asks. And so I finally join the
moment. Cassie looks at me, and something in her face, the set of
her jaw, that impenetrable gaze, speaks a quiet wisdom. Some part
of her recognizes the feeling that has grown familiar to her
mommy, the feeling of being torn between enjoying the moment and
stopping to figure out--in desperation--how to suspend time.
But in the end, we realize the more we try to slow time, the
faster it goes. And so we learn to savor the everydayness of the
everyday. Sometimes it takes an unexpected shaft of light to
illuminate the ways that our most ordinary moments hold the most
striking magic, like those moments when you make no plans but to
tie on a dress and dance. These are the moments that make up a
life, and the most foolish thing we can do is to rush through them
trying to get to a bigger, better, more dramatic moment. Let us
elevate the ordinary to the extraordinary, this holiday and every
Susie Michelle Cortright is the founder and publisher of Momscape,
an online magazine devoted to nurturing the nurturers.