The kitchen was a total mess, the dining room table even more so. Carter was sorting his trick or treating loot into two piles, one to keep and one for the Switch Witch*. He was also in the process of using his new little pencil sharpener to sharpen a dozen or so Halloween pencils he got from his classroom party. Pencil shavings were everywhere. Cody was scarfing by the handful microwave popcorn that had been leftover from his classroom party as if I had not just fed them a dinner of roasted red pepper tomato soup with homemade cornbread rolls. Sigh.
I had loaded the dishwasher but still needed to hand wash the pots and pans. I hate washing pots and pans. To put off the loathsome task a bit longer, I decided to grind the coffee beans and set up the pot for the following morning’s much needed cup or two of brew. As I set about measuring the beans and scooping them into the grinder, my mind wandered to the list of tasks that needed to be addressed come morning. Some squabble or another over the ownership of a piece of candy brought me back to the present. In an effort to change the direction of conversation, I asked the boys a question I ask almost every evening; what was your favorite part of today?
For Carter it was easy. Trick or treating and getting candy! Ah, Carter you are so sweet and so like me when I was your age. Cody did not answer right away and I was about to prompt him again in my exasperated are-you-listening-to-me mom voice when he spoke up. My favorite part of the day is right now.
Wow. I had never considered the possibility that the present, that moment we were all sharing when I asked that question, could actually be a favorite. In my eyes that moment was the end of the day chaos, something to get through before bedtime. But for Cody, his hands shiny with the butter from that move theater Orville Redenbacher microwave popcorn, that moment was love and family (and popcorn.)
I stopped grinding coffee beans. I walked over to him and bent down. I asked him for a hug and did not mind at all when his little hands smeared the back of my shirt with popcorn residue. Suddenly the “right now” was starting to look a whole lot better and if I didn’t watch out, it just might become the favorite part of my day too.
*(In case you are unfamiliar with her, the Switch Witch comes in the night to takes the unwanted candy from a child’s trick or treating bag and gives in return a surprise. Our Switch Witch has been known to give tubes of glow stick bracelets and flashing LED rings. Our Switch Witch is lucky in that one of our boys does not like chocolate and the other does not like sour candies, yum.)