I remember the third house we lived in. The one we bought after the dilapidated mobile home out in the middle of nowhere, and before the one where I painted my bedroom periwinkle. The third house was nice, except for the basement. In the third house I put ladybug wallpaper up in the boys’ room.

In the third house I nagged my husband until he hung a bulletin board by the front door. I’d wanted it there because I’d had friends growing up who’d had a bulletin board by their front door, and it seemed cool to me. They’d used it for messages and family art and interesting articles they cut out of the newspaper. Or maybe it was a chalkboard? I can’t remember now, but the one my husband hung was definitely a bulletin board, and he hung it just a tiny bit crooked.

He was in a hurry and I’d been nagging him, and there you go.

I knew it was crooked and so did he, but neither of us did anything about it. It bothered me at first but you know, after a while I didn’t even see the crooked any more.

Then company would come and I’d look at it again and see it hanging wrong, and I’d have to explain the thing to them. I don’t know why I didn’t just re-hang it?

I’m noticing things today. Things – like my crooked bulletin board in my third house – I have become so used to seeing I don’t see them any longer.

I’m noticing the long blonde hair on the head of my almost-six-foot-tall son. I’m thinking he could do with a haircut, but hair is something we have not made a parenting issue. We decided this a long time ago, and so far none of the children’s hair choices have contributed to delinquency or illiteracy or immorality. Not that I can tell, anyway. And his hair is pretty. And I love him.

I’m noticing my youngest boy’s cheek dimple, and his bright blue eyes, and his smile that flashes love at me when I’m not expecting it. And I love him, too.

I’m noticing the lines on my husband’s face, etching themselves around his mouth and his eyes, and I’m not surprised to realize how handsome he is to me still, in a hardworking, wool socks, no frills kind of way. Yes, I love him.

I’m noticing the plant in my bathroom, humble as can be, stretching for all it’s worth toward the sun, and I stretch, too.

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Noticing is stretching me, because I’m realizing, as I work at noticing life and beauty and love, that it is harder than you’d think.

I tend to notice the less-than-lovely first. I see the tattered couch and the untidy floor and the tumbled stack of books, the dirty dishes and the crumbs, and beauty runs and hides in the corners while I fret.

I sit down to write about noticing, and it feels like I’ve failed before I’ve begun. Like all I can see is a crooked bulletin board. Then I see the long blond hair and the dimple and the husband, and I feel my noticing muscles waking up.

I look over to the buffet beside my writing desk and my eyes catch on that big old piece of petrified wood, salvaged from somewhere by my long-haired boy and there it sits in dirty glory. Smack dab on my grandma’s embroidered table runner, next to the family photographs and the eagle sculpture my Tyson made all those years ago.

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I notice it. Art.

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Today is Day 2 in my 31 Days of Noticing Stuff series. Click the link at the top of the page to read all the posts.

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