We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.
Henry David Thoreau
Before the arctic blast that is sweeping through Chicago, we had a beautiful day full of snow. Several beautiful days of snow to be exact. The obligatory layers of clothes, snow pants, coats, hats, scarves, boots, and mittens were donned so the girls could spend some time outside making snow angels while their Daddy shoveled and cleared a path. I stood outside with them as dusk came creeping in. The air became colder than before, as snow continued to fall, light yet full, on our little spot in the middle of the city. I watched the snow drift down as the girls laughed and played and threw handfuls of it at each other.
I found myself, quite instinctively, putting my gloved hand out to catch the snow as it fell. I stood there, staring at the snow caught on the bright blue yarn of my glove. I saw all its intricacies. Frozen perfection.
In a hushed voice I called them over and there we stood, all four of us huddled around my glove watching the snowflakes fall. Kathryn immediately proclaimed that each was indeed different while Lucy tried to count them, “1, 2, 3, 2, 3, 2, 3……” Sophie was uncharacteristically quiet as she stared at them while a smile broke through her pink cheeks.
It occurred to me that I’ve never taken them out to just stare at snowflakes. In the past it was always such a hassle and I was always so very tired. But here, as night replaced day and the frigid air began to make itself known, I was awake to things I had not noticed in quite some time.
I think I used to be different from what I am now. I remember being curious and adventurous and full of energy. But sometimes this mom thing sucks a bit of you out. You have to divert your resources to the things necessary and that other part of you seems to slip away. Those six years of waking up each night to rub backs, bring bottles, change diapers, and hold close the scared and lonely have clouded my eyes and dulled my senses. I sleepwalk through the day, unaware of all that is going on around me.
This year, this year I’m taking it back. This year I want to be awake.
I want to be aware of the sights and smells and sounds around me. I want to notice. To take part. To enter in. To be part of it.
I want to jump into the scary, the beyond me, the more than I can imagine. I want to dare to dream. I want to laugh at the impossible and move forward without worry.
I want to do the things I’m too scared to say aloud.
In a world full of gray, I want to see in Technicolor.
I want to bathe in the holy.
I want to expect the dawn.
I want to be awake.
Here's a little song I've been singing over and over and over again....