I get the dog up every morning. And, of course, he has to pee immediately. This becomes a much more cumbersome chore when winter sets in, as it has done in the last 24 hours here in Iowa, and I find myself grumbling through the task more often than not.
I struck out the downstairs door this morning with him on the leash. I was well-bundled up, because I can't stand shivering outside while he sniffs around the yard for the perfect spot to deposit his business. But I quickly realized that my slip-ons were probably not the best protection for my feet because there was more snow on the ground.
And more snow falling. It was still dark, and it was markedly still. The house on the other end of the "valley" behind our backyard had its Christmas lights on -- a simple white cross lying in the middle of their expanse of property, as if placed there just for our viewing on this side. The few street lights on the road to the left were enough to highlight the tiny flakes still coming down.
It was beautiful. So, so beautiful.
And for a moment it made me sad to realize how few moments there are in my life these days of just standing still and appreciating beauty. The beauty of anything. For far too long now, I feel like I've been operating in what I call "survival mode". Just praying for the energy and grace and wherewithal to get through whatever's next -- the next school week, the next busy weekend, the next groggy day after a sleepless night . . it's always something.
Someone warned me early in my parenting career to not spend my parenting days waiting anxiously for the next stage in my kids' lives when I think things will be easier. Nothing gets easier, just different -- and you need to enjoy each stage while you're in it. I've tried to do that, for the most part. But I kind of feel like I've fallen into the trap of living-for-the-thing-that's-still-to-come on a "micro" level, day to day. Survival mode. I don't want to live here.
I keep blaming it on my sleep problems. Or on teenagerhood (not mine). Or on, well, a whole host of other things. But maybe it's just my own lousy mental habits. Sigh.
Anyway, for a moment this morning, the world was beautiful. Then the dog finished pooping and life went on.