We woke up the other day with everyone at low ebb. The exhaustion of cleaning and packing and farewells (not to mention 841 miles of togetherness in car) had worn off and it felt like life had just hit the brakes bringing everything to painfully sudden stop.
Seven people and two dogs in a three bedroom second floor apartment is cozy at best. When you have kids who have spent the past 3 months running outside into the woods or climbing the rocks or playing on the swing set (endless supply of neighbor kids included), being cramped up without most of their toys and books, and no yard, no neighbor kids is a recipe for discouragement. And outings like "let's go look at more houses" or "time to go to Target to get some cleaning supplies" just don't really stir the imagination in the same way that "let's go hike at Jockey Hollow and then get cider and donuts at Wightman's Farms" would do. So I had a houseful of kids in a funk.
But little things can make a big difference.
In this case it was the public library which, providentially, is an easy 5 minute walk from our apartment. We stepped in the front door and YP simply stared for a moment: "The entry is bigger than our whole library in NJ!" She was right.
And then we walked in further and saw beautiful new library - brightly lit with huge windows and leading to the children's section there was a huge stained glass wall - all of a forest scene with all sorts of animals. Beautiful. To complete the scene, there was a little wooden footbridge going over illuminated glass floor tiles (for a river) into a children's section with comfy reading areas, a play area, and of course plenty of books. Not to mention a number of lively, happy children. Then we went over to the Teen section - even my most reluctant reader found books she liked. She also observed, "Mom, there are so many computers here!" She was right there were also two story windows letting in natural light, all sorts of comfortable chairs and desks, tables set up for chess or checkers, and a "wall of water" - a soothing place to sit next to and read.
After we checked out our books we went to the outside seating area and took the walking path around the little pond right next to the Library. All were smiling by the end of that little excursion and pleased to realize how easy it will be to return whenever we like.
Later in the day, after we picked up Kevin from school, we went over to the apartment swimming pool for a bit of welcome play time. Lots of laughing and silliness there.
A trip to the library, a quick splash in the pool - little things that matter. Especially, when you have just walked away from your well loved old home and good friends, and into a small apartment for an uncertain stretch of time before you can really start to re-create normal. And a good reminder to the mom of the family, that every day is composed of the little moments, and that even before we moved, that was what really made up life. So we are trying to use our moment well. And trying to appreciate little things just a little more: making a pan of brownies, playing a game of Uno or Clue, laughing together over an old episode of "Get Smart". Little things can either cheer the heart, or drag it down.
Makes me think of discussions in my Bible study about Mother Theresa's words about not doing great things, but doing little things with great love. Just like it is the little things that make happy family days, so it is little things that show love for God and bring a smile to His face. A welcome and timely reminder for me during these busy days.