My favorite day of the week has changed over the years. Friday was the longstanding front-runner when I was suffering through loops of endless business meetings and navigating the daily grind of commuter traffic. For a great while after that, I liked Sunday best. Sunday meant mornings of quiet reflection and languid afternoons. The only issue I had with Sunday… was Monday. Impatiently, it looms over the weekend like a hungry child anxiously waiting for mac and cheese. Ask me now which day gets the nod, and I’ll tell you it’s a tie between Saturday afternoons, when we have a standing lunch date with my mom, and Thursday, “change the sheets” day. That’s right; Mom and fresh linens. You may be thinking, I get the connection to family, but choosing a favorite day of the week based on one’s domestic duties? I’m here to confirm that many of life’s joys are about the little things; like slipping in between cool, breezy-clean sheets at the end of a trying day.
There are those memories which linger in the limelight of our personal histories. The events that we capture on film and retell at family gatherings. But what happens to the littlest remembrances; the moments that conjure up feelings of being so totally loved and cherished that they are hard to put into words? I don’t want to forget these seemingly unremarkable occurrences that helped form who I am today.
When we were kids, there was a small plastic fount of holy water attached to the wall next to our front door. Each morning before we left for school, Mom would have us bless ourselves and recite the small prayer of protection, Angel of God. My sisters and I can still recite it to this day.
Angel of God, my guardian dear, through whom God’s love commits me here; ever this day, be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.
It didn’t matter if we were running late and the neighborhood kids were already at the stop. It didn’t matter if Mom was stuffing sandwiches into brown paper bags and tossing them to us from across the kitchen as the lookout kid yelled, “BUS!” It was a ritual not to be messed with. We got so good at reciting the prayer in record speed, that we never missed the bus because of it.
One day, I was next door at my grandmother’s house waiting for her to grab her purse and keys before the two of us headed out together. It was a day with no school, and I was accompanying her to church; an early morning Mass in the middle of the week. I was thrilled to be spending time alone with her, since to me, Grandma was the sun, the moon and all the stars combined. We were running behind schedule, but she took the time, as she always did before leaving the house, to turn and run a quick finger scan in the air, ensuring that all the burners on the stove were off and minor appliances, unplugged. We made it to church in the nick of time. We sat in a pew in the back among other similarly aged women from town. Grandma rolled her eyes at me after hearing two of the ladies in a conversation that was much too loud and not at all appropriate for a house of worship. They were gossiping. I rolled my eyes in agreement.
There was nothing remarkable about the ride home, and yet it remains a vivid image. I was sitting in the passenger seat turned toward my grandmother, watching her capable hands easily influence the huge steering wheel in the black, 1958 Chevy that she nicknamed, Betsy. It amazed me how her eyes stayed focused on the road while she patiently and attentively, listened to me carry on.
As for my part, I felt compelled as the passenger to entertain her. I proudly recited the entire cast of the campy sitcom, F-Troop, before breaking into a spirited rendition of the show’s theme song. I laugh now, thinking about how easygoing and kind my grandmother was. I thought I was rocking it! If I had to navigate a car today with a youngster bent on reciting every scene from the One Direction – This is Us movie, I’d poke my eyes out!
This wasn’t the end of our amazing, midweek adventure. We came home to find my grandmother’s cat stuck between the two back doors. She was spread eagle against the screen like a cartoon character free-falling without a parachute. We figured she made the move to slingshot herself into the house just as the storm door closed. Splayed to the point of numbness and exasperated at us both for being gone so long, she allowed my grandmother to release her before taking off for a hiding place inside the house. She was annoyed, but otherwise, fine.
These and so many other pocket-sized moments from my youth were spectacularly ordinary. And yet, they filled my senses in the same way that fresh, clean sheets do now on my favorite day of the week. I want to sink into them and breathe a contented sigh that lasts forever.
Image source: Clker.com