Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Excitement Of It All December 19, 2014

Table cloths. Holiday decorations. And food smells. Lots of food smells. I’ve been around long enough to know what’s coming. I don’t need to have a crystal ball to know there will be some kind of fabulous shindig at my forever home tomorrow. Mom spent the majority of today running around like the headless chicken she often does before such events. There is cleaning and cooking and baking and decorating to be done, after all!

The funny thing is so many people tell her to slow down. Take it easy. Don’t stress. Yet she follows none of these pieces of (very sound) advice. It’s puzzled me for some time why she feels the need to uphold this reputation of hers as a “super hostess.” She could as easily not go to the detail she does with things. She could skip an appetizer (or three). There don’t have to be dessert options. One is probably just fine. Flangipropping

I think I finally got my answer today. It happened somewhere in between ironing her third table cloth and setting up the dessert table. She sat down, for honestly the first time since she woke up with dear baby Carter around 7 a.m. and sighed. To a stranger, it sounded like fatigue. And maybe there was a bit of fatigue mixed in, but I know better. I know better because I could see her face when it happened. Joy. From the ground up, it resonated in her smile and the twinkle in her eye as she surveyed the work that had been done so far.

Table cloths and decorations and food smells were the way of the day around here today. It was a lot of work, most of which mom made for herself. But she loves it. Thrives on it even. Has she been breathing a bit heavy since this afternoon as she runs around dusting and cleaning bathrooms? Sure. Will she be sore tomorrow? Probably.

But there is something about the excitement of it all that brings joy to life. And I can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow.

 

All That Sparkles December 4, 2014

I thought I’d seen it all when it comes to Christmas decorations around here. From the ornaments on the tree to the garland on the windows to holiday-themed gadgets mom disperses throughout the house, mom usually covers all the bases.

With this being dear baby Carter’s first Christmas, I expected the full array of all things Christmas to sprinkle the house with a special kind of holiday joy. So you can imagine my surprise at the restraint she’s demonstrated (at least thus far) for what she is saying is the sake of Carter’s safety.

Anything that would normally be within his almost three-foot-tall reach has been held back. The tree features a more sparse selection of ornaments than usual at the bottom area, including primarily the squishy or non-breakable (namely, slightly less sentimental) items. But there is one thing she whole-heartedly embraced. Twinkle lights. They seem to be Twinkleseverywhere. On the tree, in the windows, you name it. Twinkles everywhere.

Today I saw why. I’m sure it’s happened before in the handful of days the decorations have been displayed. But this was the first time it happened when I was able to pause and take it all in. It was dark in the living room except for the lights of the tree and the window garland and Carter was absolutely mesmerized. There he was, standing there by the tree, his little face lit by the faint glow. That’s when I saw it. His eyes were twinkling almost as bright as the lights. And his smile was the brightest thing in the room.

I’m not usually a fan of all that glitters. I could care less about all things glamorous. But all that sparkles is indeed gold in my world, especially when there is joy involved. It brought to mind the words of American pastor Roy L. Smith who suggested “he who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”

I thought I’d seen it all when it comes to Christmas decorations. It feels like every year, there’s a new something or another joining the collection of all things holiday around here. Though at first it appeared mom was scaling back, she brought more lights into play. And I’m so glad she did. Because today I saw joy sparkle. It was a beautiful sight to see.