A few weeks ago, my five and seven-year-old grandsons, now fully vaccinated, joined their parents, my husband and me for a celebration. We began by swimming in an indoor pool where we witnessed the five-year-old learn how to swim for the first time. Afterward, we returned to our house for a meal. The boys, who hadn’t been inside our home for 21 months, explored it, wanting to see the secret closets again. (Our attics have fascinated all of our grandchildren.) At one point, my elder grandson, who might have been thinking how great it was to be together again, gave a long, happy sigh. He turned to me, face aglow, and asked, “Grammy, can I give you a kiss on the cheek?”
The memory of that kiss made me long for more special moments, and I found them at unexpected times, such as after a fresh snowfall.
The new snow left our world coated in white and made for the grandest morning hike of the year. Winter blue sky and air so crisp—like kisses on rosy cheeks. Later that afternoon, I sat on my couch in a stream of winter sunlight and read. As I soaked up the warmth, I was reminded of how pleasure can come from the simplest of things.
Those simple things might include learning something encouraging. I was comforted after reading a passage from Jim Harford’s book Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives. It turns out that the multi-talented Benjamin Franklin might have figured out the connection between lightning and electricity, but he never conquered his messy desk. The inventor of such wonders as bifocals, a clean-burning stove, and a lending library, never managed to organize his office. As someone who relates, learning that felt like a kiss on the cheek.
A fourth special moment occurred while hosting eight women for “Tuesday Club,” a Wisconsin Dells Club dating back to 1901 and rich with history. Debbie Kinder collected dues and placed them in the black, paten leather purse which club treasurers have used for many years. Debbie’s great grandmother, Evaline Bennett, was one of the original founders. In honor of keeping Tuesday Club traditions, I served dessert, chocolates, nuts, coffee, and tea. I used the pink depression glass my mother collected for me, and my aunt’s silverware. I poured tea from a pot another Tuesday club member and active community member, Gisela Hamm, had given me. Remembering those who came before, honoring tradition, and being part of a rich history felt as welcome as a kiss on the cheek.
A final special moment occurred on a breezy day when I watched an elderly man walking alongside his thin, frail wife. A gust of wind blew her well-worn coat open, and it whipped about. The man stood in front of her, blocking the wind, and buttoned it for her. He did it so familiarly; I stopped to watch. Even though I’d never met them, I could see they had had many years together. As the man finished, he glanced at his wife. Her eyes softened. I could only guess at their life story and what they were dealing with now. But I stood in the wind a moment longer, knowing that’d I witnessed one of the greatest love scenes of all times.
Here’s hoping that your 2022 will be filled with similar moments, sweet kisses on the cheek.