This is a life

I listen.

And I hear the heavy footfalls of a far lighter boy tromping from bed to shower. Soon, I will feel his bear hug and return it, breathing in the ebb of boyish musk and the waxing scent of Right Guard deodorant.

I count the steps from coffeemaker to front porch, hearing the squeak of the hose as I water the hanging plants. I sit with my coffee on a sofa I spent far too many hours debating the merits of at Macy’s home store. The room I have created—it is pleasant, soothing to my senses, yet somehow stimulating. “You are French, no?” says the mother from school in the memory in my mind. “No,” I reply, smiling. “But thank you for the compliment.” She looks puzzled. “Your house, your style—it is very French.” Again I smile. No higher compliment. She sat in that chair, schooling me on the proper way to make an English tea. She is back across the ocean now, years hence, living a very British life.

Bailey, all 95 furry pounds of her, lays next to me on the sofa. She groans, stretches, and finds the cool hardwood. As much a part of this life as any of us. We have our habits together, like an old married couple.

I pass the mirror and catch a glimpse of—who? My mother around the eyes. My father (thank God) at the tip of the Germanic nose and around the mouth. God knows who around my increasingly crepey neck. Whose genes are responsible for this? I want to hold someone accountable.

I nearly trip over the hand weights, the yoga mat. How many downward dogs? How many leg lifts in this spot on my family room floor? Countless. Is there an equivalent remedy for my neck? I think not. Blame the teenaged girl who wanted a 1980s tan. She should have listened to her mother.

The kitchen island and dining room table—confessionals, both. What is it about a solid slab of stone or wood that seduces people into sharing their innermost thoughts? I think not the slab, but the food and drink—the energy put into the meal and home—that is what loosens tongues. And the secrets stay here, as they should. Will they follow me to the next house or stay here in the corners to taunt the new owners? Will they feel them in the shadows, something they didn’t share and can’t touch? Or will they be oblivious?

The door that has slammed countless times because my boys don’t know how to close one quietly, despite years of training. My eldest entering with his usual bravado. My youngest leaving with his gentle spirit. My friends, in and out, with their good intentions. My family who visits little despite their proclamations of love. It’s all fine. All good. I no longer want to change things. I just want joy as I live.

The center wall of family photos. Just last week, I said to my aunt, “I wish Mom were here to see the boys live on into their lives. She would be so proud, she’d jump for joy.” Minutes later, a photo of my mother comes off the wall and lands smack in the center of my center hallway. Undamaged. I hear you, Mom. You’re here. All good. Thanks for applauding from a ringside seat.

Just a few thoughts as I sip my morning coffee, friends. These are the bits that make a life. Wishing you joy as you create your version of one.


40 Comments Add yours

  1. I need to do my downward dogs. =) I’d rather bury myself in the hearts of teenage boys. You pieced together a beautiful life for your family & friends because you built a home they want to come to. Thanks for remembering me. I’ve thought of you too, Kristine, marveled at how you pulled through to the other side flying solo. Wishing you the best in the new year. You go git it, Girl.

    1. candidkay says:

      Aw, I can’t tell you how good it is to hear from you! I hope all is well in your world and with your family. I did pull through to the other side, didn’t I?! I believe I have a few more Denson things, but at least I didn’t crash and burn. As for go git it, I may just tell it to come git me.😉

  2. Jane Lurie says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed your moving piece, Kristine. An insightful meditation on the “in between moments” that make up life. Love that your mom chimed in.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Jane 🙏🏻. I love that she chimed in too. If I pay attention, I think she does it more often than I know.

  3. This one got me like a beautiful stab to the heart. No matter where you are, your mom is there, and she reminded you of just that. I love the way you think and observe things, Kristine. I, too, just want joy as I live. Brilliant.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, you dear thing💕. Remember when I told you to look for signs? These things happen to me all the time. And I have no doubt, the way you are wired, that they will happen to you too. And they’ll bring you that joy.

      1. I pray you are right, Kristine. It would bring me immense joy to receive some kind of sign from my dad. Thank you for saying that, I will keep waiting patiently for that incredible moment to happen. ❤️

      2. candidkay says:

        When you least expect it, there it’ll be❤️

  4. Masha says:

    Ohhhh how I love this piece, I love that you shared your boys slamming doors and the picture of your mom falling, passing a mirror and seeing your mother in your face, the older I get the more I see my mother in my face too. thank you for this wonderful post xoxo

    1. candidkay says:

      And thank you, Masha, for the kind words😊. I’m glad this one resonated with you!

  5. Well, I certainly enjoyed my visit with you today, Kristine. What a lovely picture you paint with your words. 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Jennifer! We should do it more often🙂.

  6. mydangblog says:

    Pieces of a beautiful life:-)

  7. markbialczak says:

    Yes, piece by piece, Kay, it often seems like tumult at the time; but upon reflection, we’re fortunate as we reflect it’s really become peace by peace. Have a great day, my blogger friend.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, Mark, I love what you did there😊. Thank you!

      1. markbialczak says:

        Thank you for this Sunday morning reflection, Kay.

  8. David says:

    I wish you an abundance of joy for your life even though you appear to have a fair bit.
    Beautiful sentiments of the simple things in life that sometimes are overlooked because of a busy life.
    I was sitting at my open bedroom window this morning at 04:30 am GMT sipping my coffee and listening to the rain gently fall and dad (who is now the playful soul of a magpie) came and sang to me on the wall outside.
    Happy Sunday and thank you for sharing.

    1. candidkay says:

      I love the picture that you’ve painted of your morning. It sounds like a really heavenly way to begin your day. And thank you for the wish for joy. I am pretty good at finding joy in the small moments. But I would like some joy from a few big bits too. The universe has its own timing!

  9. Lovely thoughts. I was there on your sofa and there at the kitchen counter with a mug of hot drink – tea for me. And I love how your Mom said hello. Wonderful home you have.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you for the virtual visit! I hope I served you the wonderful tea that I discovered through a friend. It’s my current favorite and every purchase helps refugees.

  10. bone&silver says:

    Sensual and visceral, thank you for sharing 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you! Good to see you here.

  11. Karen Lang says:

    You are definitely being watched over. And to become the watcher of our life, keeps us present, and becomes our greatest gift. 😊💚

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you, Karen! I know you have so much wisdom in this area. It’s good to hear from you and I hope all is well!

  12. Great thoughts, Kristine. I’m glad your mom made her presence known. Always a good thing. I’m with you. Just live it. 😁

    1. candidkay says:

      Exactly, John! Thank you💕

  13. suemclaren24 says:

    I love that you shared the picture falling and your Mom. Similar things happen in my house, and that of a neighbor. Her Mom, my husbands. One leaves Irish pennies (!), the other stops clocks, both actions associated specifically with them.

    1. candidkay says:

      Isn’t it wonderful that if we are open to the signs, we are given them. A true blessing!

  14. Piano girl says:

    Beautifully said! “The kitchen island and dining room table—confessionals, both.” So true. ❤️

    1. candidkay says:

      Right? Something about the heart of a home.

  15. Dale says:

    I was sitting right beside you, coffee in hand, reading this, nodding my head, agreeing with you that yes, just being and enjoying is the way to go.
    Love your mom’s response!

    1. candidkay says:

      Thank you❤️. I felt it!

  16. willedare says:

    THANK YOU for this thoughtful, graceful glimpse into your day. I especially appreciate these sentences: “It’s all fine. All good. I no longer want to change things. I just want joy as I live.” I aspire to a similar wisdom. I also laughed at your mother’s photo jumping for joy off the wall and onto the floor, unbroken. Hurrah for all the beings watching over us!

    1. candidkay says:

      Our comments are crossing in the ether–I just commented on your most recent blog:). Love that we’re inspiring each other this morning! And thank you for the kind words. I feel “watched over” much of the time.

  17. it seems a pretty good life, home, and family Kristine. Savoring our lives is a good way to live.

    1. candidkay says:

      “Savoring” is a good way to put it! Joy in the moments. I’ve learned that after many years . . .

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