I read a post today from the talented Lindsey Mead that struck a chord with me, specifically at the end, where she admits: “It isn’t that I’m paying attention because my life is magic. It’s that my life is magic because I’m paying attention.” Yes! Yes! I thought. Exactly that. I’ve not been writing much lately, mostly because summer has taken over our days, but I was also feeling a little self-conscious about my posts. What do I even write about? Things are pretty much the same ole, same ole around here. We continue to explore this new-to-us city, we occasionally host friends from Chicago and experience Austin through their eyes, and we march, no, saunter to the lackadaisical beat of the drum.
Yet, here I am, happy, content. And somehow it makes sense. Being a transplant makes me acutely aware of our surroundings; I am constantly looking for things to resonate with us, desperately seeking validation that yes, Austin is it. Because of that, my eyes are wide open, noticing the big and small, the details that confirm what we’d hoped, that Austin is good for us.
Things are still so new that this city and our discovery of it is all-encompassing. Every new friend made, new route home becomes a significant mark on this blank slate. And noticing these things creates the extra in my ordinary. Like how the fawn gallops gracefully and quietly behind her mother to hide from me on my morning run, how the merest sight of rain after its absence for over three weeks has me dancing a euphoric jig, and how the playground feels pleasantly cool under the shade of live oak trees despite the blazing sun.
Of course, just as Lindsey says about her kids, a lot of this has to do with noticing how my children experience this world, seeing how everything unfolds before their fresh, curious eyes. Summer is already a magical time, but with kids it’s even more so. I’m often moved by their infectious delight with ice cream to indulge in a scoop of my own, to listen to the chorus of cicadas in our backyard as they play the season’s anthem, to jump in the pool with my girls even when I dread the work that comes before (swimsuits, hair, sunscreen) and after (shower, hair, lotion, hang suits and towels to dry).
Lindsey’s post also mentions how she loves watching her kids sleep, and I have to say, there’s not much that tops that for me either. I think it’s funny that on a day that I read this, our evening was all about sleep—too much and too little rolled into one. A busy morning led to a delayed naptime, and while waiting for them to rise, I also crawled in beside my 5.5-year-old, who took a rare nap, and might have dozed off for a few minutes myself. But when I sent My Guy in to rouse the little one, he never came back. Something told me I’d lost him to the sweet folds of slumber too, although who can blame him? Laying beside sleeping children is pretty magical, after all.
A family that naps together…
The thing about summer is that even if the kids nap late, there’s plenty more daylight with which to entertain them when they’re wired from too much sleep. Naturally, on a 95-degree day, the pool was on the agenda, but seeing that fatigue was nowhere in sight even after a prolonged stint in the water, we decided on a pajama walk around the neighborhood, where we stopped and talked to a neighbor and waved at a man who waved back while paragliding above us. What we also didn’t expect to see, because the girls were often in bed an hour before this time everyday, was the sunset.
We turned onto a street we seldom used, and My Guy gasped. Lo and behold, just above the hills beyond the pristine lawns and Texas-sized homes was the brilliantly round, orange sun. It took less than three minutes from the time the sun hit the horizon to the time it disappeared completely into it, but there we stood, holding each other, mesmerized by the evening’s final act right before our eyes.
Had we not noticed, it would have been any other ordinary evening. But we did, and that made all the difference.