Extraordinarily Ordinary

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I sit on the floor, lean against the couch, and listen to a house wrapped in the unmistakable quiet of a child asleep. The refrigerator hum blurs into the muffled drone of rush-hour commuters in the distance.

In these early hours of a hushed house, I’m hot, sweaty, needing a shower after a morning run. But the quiet captures me. I listen to the sound of my own breathing.

In a moment, she soundlessly slips into the room.


She climbs into my lap, pulling her special blanket close. Her body is still warm from the cocoon of her covers; her hair, soft and silky, smells of last night’s bath.

She no longer fits on my lap. Her long legs stretch out in one direction, mine in another. I close my eyes, rest my chin on her head, and wrap my arms around her in the morning stillness.

The words well up, and almost without my knowing, escape my lips.

“I love you.”

From behind a thumb still sucked, traces of the baby she is no more, comes the muffled “I wuh you, too.”

Soon enough, something across the room catches her eye, the thumb pops out, the blanket is cast aside, and she’s off.

Mine is a day of deadlines, phone calls, appointments, and writing. Hers is a day to explore, learn, touch, savor. I must work to be present to the moment; she lives no other way. Before she came to be, mine was a world of early morning meetings, frequent business trips, ten- and twelve-hour work days. Somehow, in a few short years, she rearranged my priorities, my purpose, my world. I make less money and worry about finances. But I've chosen to have time, to take time, and limit my work, redirect my career, allow a small person to occupy a big place in my life. Success in my former career was as clearly defined as quarterly financials and project results. Success in my current work? Perhaps a longer-term investment with no guaranteed outcomes. But I chose, and I am following through as daylight pierces this darkened room.

One weekday morning. One little girl awakes. One mother begins her day.

Ordinarily humdrum . . . and extraordinarily intimate.

Laptime communion. A sacramental moment, to be sure. Savoring the sweet smell of tousled hair, holding a child’s body against mine. A wordless experience of something sacred, of something deep within. She has known trust, comfort, assurance of love that defines her world. I have known another’s presence—and lost myself in the gratitude that she has graced my life and filled it beyond measure.

The day begins. Laptime communion lingers.

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