A trip to the grocery store resulted in a bounty of perfectly ripe strawberries. In season and on sale. They were even organic, so it was a win all around.
I was still unloading the groceries when Charlie spied those strawberries. His favorite! I returned from the car with the last load of bags to find Charlie and Millie eating them straight from the carton right on the kitchen floor. I shooed them away with the promise of plenty of berries on their lunch plates.
As Noon arrived, Charlie was hovering close by. As each new berry was de-stemmed and sliced, I would scoot it to the side of the cutting board where the sneaky hands of a 4-year-old were waiting to reach up, grab the berries and run. We continued like this, with me furiously preparing strawberries and Charlie reaching under my arm to snatch them right up; the pile of prepped berries diminishing dramatically. I enjoyed playing dumb and exclaiming, “Where could those strawberries be going?” Charlie’s laughter increasing with each new stolen slice.
He ruined his appetite with a belly full of berries. But his laughter was infectious and soon everyone was in on the fun and there were no strawberries left for lunch.
There are overly simple moments like these when our family life is so pleasing that the whole of it makes my breath catch. Incredulous that life could be this good. This happy. This blessed. Because more often than not, our life is not perfect, not pleasing. It’s frustrating, tedious, tiring, filled with big decisions and even bigger responsibilities.
It can be so hard to remember the good days when you’re having one where everything is sloping downhill. Where voices have been raised, tantrums thrown, tears shed and arms gripped a little too hard. Days with non-stop complaining from the kids.
So, it’s tough when Charlie is crying because his shirt is touching his skin (actually happened!), to pause and remember how fun it was that one time, earlier this summer, when he had the juice of way too many strawberries dribbling down his chin.
Parenthood. It’s such a mixed bag, you know?