Welcoming Life

Photo by Alborzshawn, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

The other evening did not go well. Maybe it was the transition from vacation back to real life, the post-holiday, post-sugar blues. Whatever it was, it wasn’t pretty.

Some days, that’s just how it goes. Both kids are ornery.  I am short-tempered and tired and my husband is working late again.  Traffic sucks.  The kids are having a boxing match in the back seat.  Traffic, somehow, sucks even more. My daughter spills her bowl of spaghetti. My son spills his milk.  The cat vomits.  To top it off, a favorite lamp that belonged to my beloved aunt who passed away mysteriously breaks.  There were strangely no witnesses and “nobody” was repeatedly jumping off the arm of the couch.

Sigh. It’s definitely time for a glass of wine and a mommy time out.

Despite my best attempts, I’ve never consistently kept a journal, but for years (pre-kids), I compiled a collection of quotes in a little book. Leafing through the book recently, I was struck by this one:

This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival: A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice — meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.


I take a breath.  I pour myself that glass of wine.  I smile and invite them all in.  And I take solace in that fact that tomorrow is another day and that one day, in the far-flung future, I’ll look back and pine for these precious, chaotic moments.

I tiptoe into my kids’ room and tuck them in, kissing them on their warm, sleepy foreheads.  Goodnight my little guides, my little gurus.


6 thoughts on “Welcoming Life

  1. Heather, this too shall pass and all too quickly. Just ask your folks. I look at my “kids” now in their 30’s and wonder where all the time went. Cherish the spilled milk and the cat vomit. It’s just part of life! You’ll miss it one day for sure. Not all of it but perhaps most of it. Remember the wonderful holiday at the mt house and the memories made. Cousins playing. Food. Conversation. Get a jar and each time something wonderful happens, if only a kiss from one of the kids, write it down and put it in the jar. When you have that glass of wine reach into the jar and read some of the great things that occurred in your life. Hope you get settled soon and can make it out on the water again. Happy New Year!

  2. You told the tale so well, Heather! Your column brings back memories of those transitions from vacation to reality, or even transitions from day to night or just minute to minute! It invoked an image long ago of being in a hurry and harried from a busy day with baby and big brother, and standing at the top of carpeted stairs staring down at the suddenly broken-handled and recently full cloth diaper pail that had tumbled down. My first thought was, “I don’t have time for this.” But now, with a brand new granddaughter, I’m ready. Bring on the broken diaper pails! It means a little one is near, and what can be better than that?

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