We awoke with plans to clean the garage. Well, I did.
A day with no school. Surely it held room for this item on the family to-do list.
Boxes from the move cluttered sections.
Shelves that didn’t properly find homes stood aimlessly.
Odds and ends making their way to garage spaces were scattered about.
Leaves and dirt carpeted the cracked, cement floor.
Certainly, we could get some music going and have fun together. It had the potential of being an excellent activity for the family on a spring break day.
…or so I thought.
My enthusiasm collided with a multitude of preferred ways for unpacking the day. Let’s suffice it to say that none included cleaning.
Insistent on the task at hand, there were assurances that working together now would offer plenty of time for other opportunities throughout the day.
And so it began.
The garage door was opened to the sounds of steady rain.
Coffees were poured.
Brooms and dustpans put in place.
Piles of items sorted: keep, return, give away, sell.
Old cleats tried on.
Soccer balls, lots of soccer balls, pumped up or tossed from too much wear and tear.
Paint grouped according to future use.
Gardening items stacked on designated shelving.
A reluctance to fully engage had tweens and teens “going to check on something” or lingering in the kitchen after delivering a box to the basement storage area or disappearing on a variety of gear with wheels.
When repeated with frequency, this becomes known as the squirrel effect.
Honestly: It makes my blood pressure rise.
You see, the abundance of grey squirrels around our home daily entertain us with their shenanigans. They do not need corralled to complete a project. Scurrying off, collecting precious items, chasing and teasing one another, darting from one job to the next, and occasionally disappearing brings joyful laughter.
Not so with tweens and teens.
Thus, frustration levels rose. Voices carried unpleasant tones. And mumbling entered the picture.
Conversations became commands. Faces tightened.
A few unkind words were said.
A slippery slope of angst was occurring.
It was then, sifting through a miscellaneous box, that a rough-edged, red plastic notebook appeared. Curious, the cover was opened to discover pages of artwork by our eldest when he was in first grade.
Athlete after athlete with names, teams, and numbers.
Doodling and designs from thoughtful moments.
This simple, beaten treasure gathered everyone together for a view. Pages and pages of sketches. We laughed. We reflected on dearly loved teams and players. Memories flooded of classmates whose artistic abilities and sport preferences influenced the drawings. Stories popped from one page to the next.
Oddly enough, the atmosphere went from one of tension to (mostly) ease.
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness –
it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”
Sometimes, just sometimes, all it takes is a battered red notebook.
One simple yet unexpected treasure.
And, many stories later. Yes, to the power of stories and memories!
The music continued playing.
The energy picked up.
The spirit of our work changed.
Only gratitude for the treasure found. Simple treasures open tremendous doors.
With only a few spaces requiring additional attention, the garage project was basically completed.
Successfully. Priorities in place.
And there was plenty of time for preferred activities and an evening together with family and friends.
What simple treasures – little miracles and moments – have impacted your life lately?
They come in so many shapes and sizes…
A kind gesture from a friend
Something lost and now found
Words of encouragement
A warm memory
The smile of someone passing by
“Sometimes the little opportunities that fly at us each day can have the biggest impact.”
Let’s lean into simple treasures that come our way today and upcoming days. They may turn the day around.