Today was one of those days where I never left the kitchen.
Sometimes, there are those days where I never leave but I accomplish so much, but today was not one of those. I cleaned up from pancakes. I made bread dough. I made granola. I did my dishes. I put snacks into bowls and filled glasses with water, and I eased frustrations that seemed to stem from not enough protein at breakfast. I did more dishes. I tried to get out of the kitchen to straighten the couch cushions, but I couldn’t get past the scrubbing of the counters, making of tea, the unloading of the dishwasher, and the warming up of lunch. Each one thing led to another, and the making of bread dough turned into the shaping of loaves, and the mixing of granola turned into the checking on it, the shuffling with a spatula, the transfer of finished granola to the jar. Each moment of clear counter seemed to invite someone else came in to make toast, tea, or just smear peanut butter around the kitchen. I felt at the same time happy for small victories, and frustrated that I would never, ever get out of the kitchen. I swept the floor. I searched for the dust pan. The phone rang, but I couldn’t find it. I opened the fridge over and over, took things out and put them back in, balanced jars like I was playing Jenga. I contemplated the mostly defrosted chicken and cursed at my lack of inspiration as to what to do with it. All along, I listened to the inauguration on the radio, I thought about how much I’d like to get out of my bathrobe, I wondered what Michelle Obama would wear tonight, I made tea.
My Martin Luther King Jr. quote for the day is this one: “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”
Last night, we had friends over for dinner. It started as a small thing, a replay of last week’s falafel for the sake of zhoug, but then one thing led to another and the group got bigger until we had the perfect number to squeeze around the table using every chair in the house. One of our friends was a full day over her due date, and the dinner, miraculously calm and organized for so many people and children and deep frying going on in the kitchen, was eaten in mellow excitement as it became clear that she would go straight from our house to the hospital. It turned an ordinary good Sunday night into a straight up celebration, and when I heard the little ding of a text message from my phone in the middle of the night, I knew the baby had come.
Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the amount of courage around me. And today, listening to the inauguration, looking at more pictures of those delicious newborn cheeks of the sweet girl who came overnight, I thought about all of these little acts of bravery in ordinary places.
Midway through the afternoon, I finally got out of the kitchen. I felt grumpy and weighted down by the work I hadn’t done, and Sadie asked if I’d like to have a walk with her. Just like that, “Would you like to have a walk with me?”
We walked in the very beginning of snow, and we talked about Rosie’s birthday and big things. I thought about peace, and action, and Obama, and chicken and dumplings, and what I would make for the new baby and her family when they got home. And I came back to unload the dishwasher, make tea, start dinner. Gather laundry, remind Rosie that it’s time to shower, think about what will go in tomorrow’s lunches. Answer without snapping. Bring Joey tea. Switch the laundry to the dryer. Take a few minutes to read good words (today, it’s Edith Wharton for my Berkshire winter). Small things in a great way. Small things in a great way. Small things in a great way.