Growing up, I always thought I wanted an exciting, glamorous, rock star lifestyle. I'd dream of being an adult and envision myself flying off to Rome for dinner, drinking champagne every night, wearing ball gowns, and dancing until dawn. I never factored in how much my wants would change. (And that everything costs money. ) If you'd told 15-year-old-me I'd be happiest standing in the kitchen making bread while my daughter colors and my baby sings, I'd have laughed at you.
Now, I like those days best...the ones where nothing monumental happens, but you're happy.
by Barbara Crooker
This was a day when nothing happened,
the children went off to school
without a murmur, remembering
their books, lunches, gloves.
All morning, the baby and I built block stacks
in the squares of light on the floor.
And lunch blended into naptime,
I cleaned out kitchen cupboards,
one of those jobs that never gets done,
then sat in a circle of sunlight
and drank ginger tea,
watched the birds at the feeder
jostle over lunch's little scraps.
A pheasant strutted from the hedgerow,
preened and flashed his jeweled head.
Now a chicken roasts in the pan,
and the children return,
the murmur of their stories dappling the air.
I peel carrots and potatoes without paring my thumb.
We listen together for your wheels on the drive.
Grace before bread.
And at the table, actual conversation,
no bickering or pokes.
And then, the drift into homework.
The baby goes to his cars, drives them
along the sofa's ridges and hills.
Leaning by the counter, we steal a long slow kiss,
tasting of coffee and cream.
The chicken's diminished to skin & skeleton,
the moon to a comma, a sliver of white,
but this has been a day of grace
in the dead of winter,
the hard knuckle of the year,
a day that unwrapped itself
like an unexpected gift,
and the stars turn on,
into the winter night.