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how to love

The girls were off school yesterday. They were up early and I rose a bit later and we let Daddy sleep in a bit. There was this small stretch of time when we hung out in our pajamas on the hardwood floors, floors beleaguered by life and magic markers. My Rowlets collaborated on a puzzle as I tucked into a tiny and brilliant book: How to Love by Thich Nhat Hanh. A song by Snow Patrol - Canal Song (End of Sentence)drifted from the ceiling, its lyric tumbling over and over around us: It's the only thing that I need. It's the only thing that I need. And all of these bits, these everyday details, conspired to snap me from my sleepy self. There are moments in life that are so full, so pure, so quietly good, that I find my eyes filling, actually or metaphorically, with unexpected happy tears. Yesterday was one of those moments.

Happy tears. I find myself curious about them, what they are and what they mean. I'm not a big crier, never have been, but what does it mean when my eyes gloss over and go misty in a given moment? It's been happening more and more and I find myself grateful for this. I see it all as a good sign that I am seeing, that I am feeling, that I am, at least some of the time, very much here in my life.

Some more recent big love moments:

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After a quick trip to Los Angeles, I returned home to a quiet, sleeping house. I kissed my slumbering man and slipped into bed. The next morning, I reunited with my girls and my goodness, I felt a chug of tremendous emotion. I don't like to leave them, but there is something exquisitely startling about stepping away and then coming home.

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Last week, Big Girl performed in her winter chorus concert. Husband was home with a cold, but I went solo and snagged a front-and-center seat. And I sat there and watched her, my firstborn. And up there, under the bright lights on the stage I stood on so many times, she was so tall and poised and they all sang so beautifully and I just felt swollen with pride and affection.

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After school on Friday, I unpacked Little Girl's bag and found this dictated Valentine. The world slowed a pace as I read the words. When I kiss my Mommy...

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I caught Husband's cold and was feeling pretty crappy Friday, but after the girls went to bed, my guy and I threw together a little Valentine's surprise for the kids. Balloons and stuffed sloths and oodles of confetti and candy. I probably went overboard, but I didn't care. When we were finished and heading upstairs, I looked down and took this picture and smiled. It was one of those surreal snips of time where I found myself asking, Do I really have three daughters who will wake up and see these goodies?

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They loved their surprises. It was a day of candy and sloth-snuggling and despite plans to get out, we stayed in all day. I was fully sidelined and sniffly, but the girls rolled with it. They wore leotards all day and pranced around and had fun and ate candy and got on each other's nerves, but not too much. And we canceled our sitter and our dinner reservations and stayed home. Husband whipped up turkey meatloaf and roasted carrots and our very picky eaters devoured their dinner. It wasn't the day we predicted, but it was a good one.

happy tears

Okay, this one is random, but last night, after bathing the girls in our tub, we let them watch a cartoon in our bed. And I snuggled in with them and Husband stretched out on the chaise and it was just this quiet, real-life, no-frills chunk of time. And then Middle Girl complained of a sharp toenail and Daddy indulged her in a little pedicure. And I watched from the bed and filled with something wild and wonderful: love.

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It's funny because I had other plans for this post, but it kind of got away from me and that's fine. Something interesting is happening and this post is evidence of that something. I'm having more and more of these moments where I'm so present in my life, in my love, that time takes on a different quality, a different texture. Maybe all my hard work and thinking and questioning is paying off? Maybe I'm reaping the rewards of my quasi-obsession with the conundrum of presence? I don't know. What I do know is that I like it, whatever this is. These moments are small and slippery, but they are also so indelibly big and it feels good, and right, to memorialize them here.

A question you might have, and one I have too: Does increased presence and feeling filter out the less sparkly stuff? Am I also feeling the harder stuff more? Yes. Of course. There are things I continue to grapple with, there are people I love who are suffering greatly, there is anxiety and I'm experiencing these things too, but there is, I've decided, a majesty in feeling even these things deeply.

To be present is to be present for all of it.

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Leave a comment and tell me about one of your own Big Love Moments for a chance to win a copy of HOW TO LOVE. Giveaway ends at 11pmET tonight 2/17/15.

here year3

The 4 Elements of True Love

ADR Friday Loves 02.13.15