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day 89: look to this day

May 1, 2011

On Day 89, our family participated in a neighborhood yard sale.

Though the event didn’t start until 8 a.m., our narrow street was choked with cars before 7.  I had scarcely laid out a plant stand, then a chair, then a pair of semi-ugly brown pants before each was snatched up by grateful bargain hunters.  That anemic silk fern that’s always given me the willies?  Sold in 2.5 minutes.  The array of DVDs, ranging from “Jerry Seinfeld Live” to “Pilates for Idiots?”  Seized as if made of solid gold.  Yesterday morning, I was impressed by how varied human’s preferences are (that’s right, I’m going to write it:  one person’s trash really is another person’s treasure).  The ecstatic face of the woman who purchased our full-sized box spring, an irritation that’s been sucking up space in our garage for months, was just one example.

By morning’s end, my face reflected a similar elation.  Things we no longer need, things we previously couldn’t give away, had been happily purchased by strangers.

After Day 89’s yard sale, I entered my younger son’s nearly empty room.  His glider and ottoman were gone — sold to beaming new grandparents.  All that remained of my son’s changing table was the indentation it had left in the carpet.  Today, it lives in the nursery of our neighbor’s six week-old baby.

Those sold items coupled with my donations to Welcome Baby render it official:  we are now a baby-free home.

I’ve noticed, since having begun this “a gift a day” project 89 days ago, that my attention to the passage of each day is heightened.  Because the project has forced me to begin each day with, “What shall I give today?” and end it with, “What have I given today?” I remain steeped in the present in a way I’ve never been before.

I thought about this as I sat in church this morning, observing the engraved message on the altar’s chalice:  “Look to this day.”  Though I see that message every week, today I considered it from an altered perspective.  Today I read it as, “If I look to today, perhaps I won’t find the passage of time so cruel.  Perhaps the years won’t tumble around my head, falling like wooden blocks.  If I can look just to today — every day — maybe the years will look … different.”

I’ve found that one true mark of time’s passage is other people’s children getting older.  I notice less that my sons’ faces have elongated from baby to boy than that my nieces are suddenly toddlers (didn’t they just arrive?).

When my twin nieces R.E. and E.T. (numbers 13 and 14 on my list of “Nieces Destined to Receive My Much-Loved and Mildly-Worn Stuff”) turned two last month, I could scarcely believe it.  I almost had to double-check my calendar, as it seemed impossible that they’d emerged from babyhood and found themselves toddlers.  I’ve missed most of their lives, living on the other side of the country as I have, but I anxiously await the opportunity to get to know them as individuals.  Never having been a twin, I don’t know what it is like.  I imagine that my nieces will teeter on the balance of separateness and interdependence.  Their parents are committed to encouraging their individuality, I know, but I’ve also observed among twins a depth of kinship that surpasses sibling closeness.  I await the chance to witness their bond.

I’m having technical difficulties today, but if I weren’t I’d post a photo of the gifts I offered to R.E. and E.T. on Day 89.  Each is a silver ring, each was made by jeweler James Avery, and each was a gift to me.  The rings are similar by birth but striking in their difference — one’s design is two interlocking hearts, the other’s is a seashell.  When they are able, I hope my nieces wear them with the understanding that they can be whatever they choose: they can be bright as pennies, or the loudest ones in the room, or kind as rain.  I suppose that is my hope for any little child.

While they are still so close to the ground, I hope they pay attention to the worms and the beetles and the little creatures of the sand.  I hope they, like the engraving on the chalice advises, “Look to this day.”  I hope they keep looking.

I hope you, too, look to this day for everything it offers.  Thank you, always, for showing up.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Melissa Hawley permalink
    May 1, 2011 8:15 pm

    you give me hope our junk will find its rightful owners. xo

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