Day 27: The World is For You

I’ve been thinking a lot about how wonder is not quite what I hypothesized it as: deep and accessible. This experiment has complicated that definition and challenged it. I think of wonder as small surprises, natural delights, the changing of time, growth. But overall, today this phrase came to me: The World is For You….Not Against You.

What do I mean by that?

I was trying to pick just one wonderful thing that happened today, and my mind was moving like a spider across a web, trying to pick just one. So I will share them, chronologically.

At 6:45 am, my son knocked on my door. He sleeps in a crib and I’ve been scooping him up out of his crib every morning for 3 years and eleven days. The knock made me pause. My boy was getting bigger. He was a monkey and could climb out of his crib easily, but even in his athletic ability, he still called my name in the morning from his room. Him knocking startled and delighted me. I told him to jump in my bed and get some more rest. I wasn’t ready for this moment, yet, I was. Of course I was. But in a way I was sad to realize my son wouldn’t need me in the ways I’d been accustomed to. But I was delighted by his independence, his growth, his joy to come and find me.

At 10:00 am, I entered a fairly empty TJ Maxx looking for thank you cards to send to everyone who so lovingly bought my son a birthday gift and/or attended his third birthday party. I know handwritten thank you cards are so old school, but I love them. However, once inside TJ Maxx one cannot just buy the desired item one came for then leave. (Cardinal rule!) I stumbled upon an orange Nike Oklahoma State hat…..normally $25, on sale for $6. This was a moment of wonder to me. I’d been wanting a hat, there the hat sat, on the shelf, waiting.

At 4:45 pm, I was on a jog. Well. It was more of a walk than a job because it had been cold and I had been busy so I hadn’t gone as frequently. When I run I play Spotify music from my phone that cozies up inside an athletic fanny pack. And as I was running, the birds chirped like it was spring, a melody, their own song. They were louder than my music and I attuned my ear to listen to just them. Before iPhones and digital music and cassette players — there were the birds. To sing and sing and sing some more.

So, world: how do I pick which wonder? Perhaps a side effect of this experiment is noticing wonder more, subconsciously. And by seeing more than one wonder a day, I affirm that the world is on my side. I can look at the small three moments today and see this to be true.

the hat!
My awesome child (right) reading at school…also wonderful.

Day 26: Can Leaves Just Rake Themselves?

Today was a really sad day — a plane of 9 crashed in Calabasas, CA — on the plane was LA Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. A lot are assuming there were other kids with their parents aboard the helicopter. It’s striking how piercing these moments are — for not just the sports world, but the entire world. We have been shook. These things aren’t supposed to happen and when they do, it’s devastating.

So today’s wonder happened with humor, grace, patience — while raking leaves. The leaves in the front yard seemed to have been given steroids. They kept showing up, about a feet deep, the bottom layer was wet. Bennett and I tried to tackle them, making multiple mounds. There had to be over a million leaves in the yard. It made me wonder: what did people do with leaves before rakes? They didn’t disintegrate fast enough. It also made me think about how miraculous a tree is, to grow all those leaves back.

Sending love to the people who lost their lives today on that helicopter, and sending strength to the families they left behind.

Day 23: Clouds that Make You Stop What You’re Doing

Today was cold. It’s been cold. Winter is here.

3:30 PM: Wind whips across my cheeks, I pull my hands deep into my pockets, keep my head down. But the way the sun glares, just bright enough, for a brief moment, has me stop. The clouds and sun demand to be seen, peaking out behind the oldest building on campus and desolate trees. I obey the command to briefly stop, take the scene in.

Day 17: “When You Wonder, You Can Try and Find Out More” – Daniel Tiger

If you know me between the hours of 7-9 am, you know my favorite show on DVR is Daniel Tiger on PBS. And don’t worry if you feel bad about not knowing this. The only person who does know is fast asleep as I write this (awaiting his third birthday party tomorrow!).

The songs, Daniel, Tigey (Daniel’s stuffed animal), his friends, teachers, community, parents, the diversity of people and families, the trolley. It’s all the secret ingredients to make me watch episodes over and over with my little.

Today’s episode was about wonder. Of course I jumped out of my skin with excitement. What I’m learning about wonder is that it means different things to different people. For Daniel Tiger, wonder is about finding out more. Putting your curiosity hat on. In a playful way.

As I reflect on this at the end of the day, I think the most I wondered today (through Daniel’s theory) was about going to a car dealership and asking to test drive three cars in the rain. I probably won’t buy a new car but I wanted to see how a couple different ones drove. So I followed Daniel Tiger, gave the guy at the dealer my ID, and test drove some SUVs.

I learned a lot about the cars and the salesman. He’s proposing to his girlfriend next weekend in Oregon. She’s a DPT student at OU, near where Nick works. There was nothing wildly profound about the experience except that it was pleasant to get out of my own routine and as Daniel says, “try and find out more.”

Watch the video! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bBZZ1yjqT-4

Day 13: First Day of School

Today was the first day back of school. There is a an excitement that vibrates through the campus. Students print out syllabi. Campus coffee grinds fresh espresso beans. Chick-fil-A back in action, line swerving around the union. People crisscross through campus, greeting new faces. Geese waddle, wondering who all these new people are, on their turf.

There are fresh beginnings at the start of a fresh semester, in a new decade. Questions flash across our minds.

How will classes be?

What opportunities will a semester bring?

What new friends will we make?

How will we grow and challenge ourselves in new ways?

How much longer until…summer?

Day 11: The First Snow!

This morning, Bennett came running into my room saying, “Mommy, it snowed!” We pulled open the blinds and there it was — a fresh coat of fluffy snow.

We slid on our snow clothes and went out to the front driveway to make a snowman.

Wonder like today’s is easy — it’s a gift from mother nature.

It also helps that today is Saturday. I don’t have to worry about Nick driving an hour into the city for work or driving Bennett to daycare or parking then walking a half mile through the snow to campus. We can sip our coffee at home and just enjoy the wonder of snow.

Day 6: A Canceled Flight, A New Perspective

When our plane touched down in Oklahoma, I was sleeping. Like one of those tilt-your-head-back and catch the flies kind of sleeps. Reader: I never sleep in public places (and half the time I have trouble sleeping in bed). So you can bet I was some kind of exhausted.

Our flight the night before had been canceled due to mechanical errors, so American rebooked us for the next morning. At first I was annoyed (it was so AMERICAN of them….they do this to us a lot). But then I was relieved. One more day at home in California. One more day with family.

That night (the extra one) I went with my mom and dad to my dad’s work party. Since he retired from being a Principal, he became a banquet bartender at a fancy hotel. The hotel was throwing their annual holiday party. Last year I was able to go too — so it felt special to be able to go again.

During the loud ’00s dance music, and while my dad played Blackjack with fake money, my mom and I walked the property. We found a jacuzzi and slipped off our shoes, and shared a few moments together while looking at the stars. It was one of those picturesque scenes out of the movies — a mother and daughter connecting. With three other siblings, a husband, a dad, and a son, it’s rare for my mom and I to be able to just sit uninterrupted. And it was lovely. (It was also fun seeing my dad mingle with his hotel co-workers….he loves a good time.)

(As I write this my mom is FaceTime-ing me. She must know I’m writing about her!)

On our drive home to our little town of Stillwater, OK, from the airport, it felt good to be back. That’s a mini-miracle all on its own. Because to be honest, living here can sometimes feel….different. So the shift in perspective was a welcomed one.

And to really grasp today’s wonder, when I came home, our friends who were watching our cat and plants left us donuts. AND (the best yet) one of my orchids (one that I wasn’t sure about) sprouted a new branch. A teeny branch, which will grow into a full stem, sprouting new buds, to finally BLOOM. Orchids are my soul flowers. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about them this year.