I had a brief reprieve from working every evening and every weekend day, but I’ve had to return to it. It’s tiring, and I always notice the toll it takes first when I don’t find myself able to post about our evening thankfulness ritual. That’s a shame, surely, but we do always do the chalice-lighting itself, which is the most important part.
In the last several days, we’ve been thankful for everything from shovelable snow (versus snow to your waist) to good neighbors, from school delays to a three-night History Channel documentary on Samuel Adams and his rabble rousers, from Crossfit to the new YMCA in town. Mythankfulboy has made me proud enumerable times, but, in particular, for stopping gaming with a happy heart to go out and help a neighbor shovel her drive before the sun set, and for helping a different neighbor with letting the dog out when she had to work late. He also melted my heart when, as we turned a corner towards home in the car at dusk one evening, he said, “Momma, the sun on your face makes you glow, and you’re beautiful.”
I rewarded his shoveling by knocking $5 off of a sum he owed me. I do this intermittently, because I want him to be rewarded, but I don’t want him to expect a reward every time he does something good. I made sure he knew it was not only for doing the work, but for doing it with pleasure (what we call a “happy heart”). Plus, I happen to know, as a developmentalist who works with kids with learning differences, that intermittent reinforcement is the most powerful (as my friends say, he never really had a chance to be bad…). When he said I was beautiful, I gave an involuntary “you’re the sweetest thang” face, and then I screwed it up in a goofy face and said, “How about now?” as a car passed by, the driver staring at me. B waited until the car had passed, chuckled, and said, “I just looked at the guy like, I don’t know, man.”
Beauty abounds in our hearts and our actions. Most of our actions, anyway. May it be so.