“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
The first month of the semester always surprises me with its overwhelming emails and photocopies and administrative duties and the deep struggle to drag my mind back from the luxuries of vacation, especially when it still feels every bit like summer outside. And then suddenly, we are more than halfway through September. In the midst of the busyness and the absence of dramatic and highly photographed activities, this month has had lots of little gems. I turned 30 a week ago, ringing in the new decade with high tea alongside a few girlfriends and then dinner out at our favorite Italian spot. I’m usually a big party sort of birthday girl, but James and I decided to do our France trip in place of big celebrations or gifts for either our 30th birthdays or our 5th wedding anniversary. When it came down to it, I enjoyed our little quiet celebrations more anyways.
Isolated birthday treats aside, we have been sticking with our Whole30 this month, and prolonging it a week to make up for the couple days of feasting that fell in the middle (and yes, I realize that isn’t how the “rules” work. Don’t care.). I feel great, but I am as always reminded that doing one can be really isolating and squelch spontaneity. You can’t just wanted in a restaurant for dinner when out on a walk, or order pizza if the evening is busy. But it also means I tend to plan fewer commitments and we enjoy quieter meals at home. We are also devoted to our Sunday night Uber Eats tradition, and I have found a couple take out options that are compliant. I look forward to these quiet ends to the weekend, to ordering our dinner and then settling in to watch a movie after Henry goes down.
Henry spent the weekend really sick, which is both heartbreaking, and so special. My normally wild boy wanted to just snuggle and sit close to me, and when I would rock him to sleep he would press his face as close into my neck as he could get, arms tight around me. Nothing on earth feels better than that. He felt better Sunday morning, but still couldn’t go to the church nursery, so we took the morning to walk through Eastern Market as a family, grabbing coffee at Radici and letting Henry dance around to the saxophone player that’s always there. Moments like that, moments where my boy seems so happy and comfortable exploring the city his parents love, those moments are my favorite.
After watching and loving the much maligned Anne with an E on Netflix, I decided I just had to reread the novels (the entire series conveniently being 99 cents on the kindle). It’s been maybe 15 years since I read them, and I had forgotten so much, which probably accounts for my enjoyment of the [much altered] Netflix version. I’m devouring the series, crying more often than I can admit, and falling in love with the story all over again. Anne’s joy of everyday moments and the magic they hold has resonated with me this month. It’s had me thinking about the little daily joys, the” tiny pearls slipping off a string” that fill my days, even if they are sprinkled among harder moments and mundane frustrations.
That Sunday night feeling when James and I sit back with our takeout dinner and watch a movie. The way Henry squishes up his entire face to give kisses when asked. The contented feeling I get when I spend a whole afternoon working away at my dissertation, coffee in hand. These warm summer days that don’t show any sign of leaving. Henry’s recent discovery of his belly button and his joy at presenting it to any and everyone and requesting to see theirs in return. How he looks dancing around Eastern Market. Ending our days as a family all in our bed, reading books with Henry between us. The sweet repetition of days at home, where we hit the park every waking hour, and days at work, where I teach the same course I’ve taught 8 times and still find it exciting. A sleepy sick babe who can only be comforted by me.
So many pearls, slipping off a string.
PS: Mixed in with the lovely pearls is the truly terrible haircut I gave Henry. Those lovely curls have been butchered at my hand and I may never recover.