Thursday, May 9, 2013
It's Not Such a Small World, After All
My world is small and very, very full.
My immediate world, my home, is filled with small: small people and all their many, many (some not so small) things. My life with my children is busy and wild and close and intense and always very full. Full of activities and friends and emotions and scooters and bedtimes and fevers and kitties and treats and lost socks and octopus hugs.
My family of origin is pretty small, too, as families go, and although its members live far away, my life is filled with them in all the amazing ways it can be, even when we can’t be together in body. Technology and shared stories and common joys ensure that my mother might even know what I’m wearing today. (And if she doesn’t, she could probably guess pretty accurately anyhow.) I couldn’t imagine a family full-er of connection than mine, that purest and most necessary and most tangible expression of love people can know. Can a home be full of people who are rarely physically there? Mine is, much to my children’s and my delight. What’s 700 miles to our family? Not a thing.
My church, the place where I worship and work, is small--family small--and full of so much Good: full of God and full of joy and full of passion and full of real and full of brothers and sisters of the best non-biological kind. And my job there is full of small, too. Small people of the sweetest kind are my little congregation, and my classrooms and my heart are filled to the brim with them.
My children’s schools are small and full: full of people who love them and our small family, full of Joy (the kind with a capital J), full of exploration and activity and friends and sweetness and Love (yes, the capital L kind).
Most of my world is small. Small people, small places, small families, small things; and all of this smallness fills up the space I have right to spilling over. Smallness, chock-full and sweet. How could anyone ask for anything more than this full-to-the-brim small world? I couldn’t have imagined.
But yesterday, I got to be part of a thing--a small thing, really, a small group of people so full of so much--that filled a part of me that I didn’t know was empty. It felt a little like when your preschooler tells you through tears that he can’t possibly eat another bite of whatever repugnant, gag-inducing dinner you’ve forced on him; he’s totally and completely and up-to-his-throat full. But suddenly there’s ice cream in view, and his “ice cream stomach,” as it turns out, has plenty of room. And who ever knew he had an ice cream stomach in the first place?
I never knew I had an ice cream stomach, either. But last night mine was filled to overflowing, with ice cream of a flavor I never even knew existed. I’ve been so satisfyingly, deliciously full of dinner here in my everyday world, I never knew I was missing out on dessert.
Thank you, Marty and KeAnne and the rest of the cast of the inaugural Listen to Your Mother Raleigh-Durham show, for last night’s dessert. It was delicious and sweet and has left me wishing I had lingered over it longer, found a way to make it last. And oh, how I wish there were more! Thank you for helping me rediscover my ice cream stomach. Does that preschooler who only managed to choke down three ridiculously filling bites of mama’s special gruel need dessert? Of course not. But some days, what that preschooler needs is a treat, plain and simple. Thank you, Listen to Your Mother cast, for the reminder that sometimes it’s best to eat dessert first. That sometimes, even if my small world is deliciously, satisfyingly, delightfully, overflowingly full, a little taste of the bigger world out there could be just the dessert I needed.