Thank you for Vicki, who picked out the perfect color to paint a kitchen and then sent me home with a leftover gallon. For the sun coming out in the yard and all the doors of the house left open. For Orest and Moses at Loveland for the day and Julian down for a morning nap that lasted just long enough to move all the furniture, put on a bluegrass album and mix a can of paint.
Thank you for Eloise in an old t-shirt that hung to her ankles, enthusiastically slopping paint on every bit of wall she could reach as I stood beside her, sending broad strokes of sage green over the ugly beige that filled the whole house when we rented it two years ago. For Julian waking up to sit in the middle of the kitchen floor teething on an unopened roller, splashing his hand in a tray of paint, leaving finger and knee prints all over the linoleum. Content to spend an entire afternoon being taken care of by a three-year-old, who fed him a lunch of cheerios off the living room carpet and let him watch too many episodes of Uncle Grandpa. And two hours into it, digging out an old Alanis Morisette CD that I hadn’t heard in years. How it felt like meditation - the kids in the other room, the stereo so loud I could barely hear my own voice as I sang along, the color of the room changing around me. I had resisted painting the walls of this house because it was just a cheap rental that we were not supposed to stay in for too long - but I was reminded today that it is okay to make temporary things beautiful. And as I carefully painted around the trim I felt I was finally paying my dues to every square inch of wall, saying thank you to this room that has held our family these past two years.
Thank you for the walk down the bike path this evening with Vicki and Garrett, how they knew all the neighbors I’ve never met and Garrett gave me his sweatshirt to wrap around Julian when the air turned cold. Sometimes I think I live too much in the past, and it is good to paint a kitchen, to intentionally make things new, to take a walk in the late afternoon when the wind is starting to pick up and to come across your Mexican neighbors drinking beer around the hood of a large pickup truck. To collapse on the couch at the end of the day, delirious from paint fumes, having earned your exhaustion.