The Extraordinary Ordinary

Today in Washington, D.C. was an extraordinary day. Unfathomable numbers of people, braving weather that normally would keep everyone inside, stood for hours to watch the inauguration of a new President. A man who stands upon the shoulders of hundreds who came before him showed the grace and class that inspired people of differing political persuasions to choose him to lead a nation.


An extraordinary day. But here in Columbia, oh, so ordinary.


I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep, so instead I got up to write. Once the kids were up and Christian was off to work, Alex and I worked a puzzle while Julianna had speech therapy.


I hoped to watch the inauguration—but I had promised Alex a trip to the library. And between therapies and lessons, the only time we could go was 10:30 a.m. So I spent the inauguration sitting in Story Time with my children, laughing at the antics of a baby llama crying for his mommy. When we left, Alex lost a Superman glove, and I had to get pretty severe to stop the screaming, which I read as a symptom of extreme exhaustion. When naptime came, though, Julianna went down, but Alex tossed and turned for an hour and a half.


I tried to nap for twenty minutes. I finished my Advent book proposal and got it sent off by email. (Submissions go a lot faster when there’s an almost-four-year-old standing beside you saying, “Mommy, hurry up! I want to play! You’re taking too long!”) We got Julianna up. Snacks. Cleaning the kitchen. Building with Lego. I taught three lessons. Alex got mad because I wouldn’t let him watch a movie until after dinner. We read about King David instead. Christian was late getting home. Julianna had another bad diaper, and screamed at me throughout Christian’s lesson, because I wouldn’t let her go downstairs with him. I spent half an hour converting Julianna outrage (which is really something to see) to unwilling giggles. (There’s filial gratitude for you. I change your horrible diaper, get you all clean, and you scream because you’d rather be with Daddy! J)


Then there’s bath time and bed time, and in the meantime, a blog post percolates for six hours and, between one interruption and the next, takes two more to write.


An ordinary day. Perhaps a little on the wrong side of “good.”


But then there was that moment when Julianna stood, tottering, for forty seconds, staring mesmerized at the Story Time ladies. And the fire in her eyes, so different from the placid disinterest of her early months—a fire that shows that she has a will to achieve.


And there was the feel of Alex’s hair under my fingertips as we sat together on the couch, and the light flashed off highlights of black and red and blond in his thick brown hair. And the amazement of seeing his elaborate Lego creation—a whole train of connected vehicles that he called a moving truck.


And there was the catch in my throat as I skimmed the transcript of the speech I missed hearing.


Somehow, somewhere in those moments, the ordinary became extraordinary.