The quiet of the house feels surreal.
The lush snow thickly blankets the yard outside my window, except for a few scattered deer prints trickling down the hill, and off towards the road.
My husband took our girls out for an errand, and I’m left alone. I’m not yet ready to exercise, and I don’t want to force it because, after a challenging week with my daughters, I want more than one of the half-ass workouts, like I’ve had all week.
I’ve kissed them all good-bye, and finished making my second cup of coffee. I note that it’s hot when I take a sip—not lukewarm, not cold, but hot enough to see wisps of steam rising from the top. Like a vision from God, I remember a face mask that I’ve stored in the deepest part of my bathroom cupboard. I didn’t want to throw it away, but I laughed a little too hard when I read the directions on the back. (“Leave on for 20 minutes.”) I can’t imagine my mindset when I made such a purchase. Was I naively optimistic? Or too rushed at the store to even read the packaging?
The mask says it’s made from “volcanic ash.” I’m a geologist, and I doubt this highly, so I read the ingredients well, and I do see—near the bottom of this list—“charcoal.” I put it on.
Looking out the window with my hot coffee in hand, I take another sip, and see that the baby evergreen outside the window is so snow-covered that it looks almost uncomfortable. I feel warm and snugly in the house.
I think of the girls in their layers, getting in and out of their car seats with their dad. I think of the slushy parking lots, and the inches of salt that surely must have been put down since the snowstorm last night. I imagine their cute pink cheeks, and my daughter’s glasses fogging up when they walk inside of the store. I think of their mitten-clad hands nestled into their daddy’s much bigger ones, and I can nearly feel their excitement as they shop on a Saturday morning with him.
This morning is so simple.
This morning is girls and their daddy out buying a gift for Mommy. It’s steaming coffee. It’s the worn Strawberry Shortcake blanket wrapped around my legs as I write.
I think of my family getting me a present, and I know–as cheesy as it sounds—that nothing I unwrap tomorrow will be as special as these faces looking at me while I open it.
This time alone is precious, too—something I won’t again take for granted in my life.
I hear the garage door, and I know that they’re home. I breathe in. I take a sip of still-hot coffee. I’m grateful.