Four years ago, I had a vision. It was, as my visions tend to be, simple: a tiny yellow painted kitchen with a window over the sink. Candles. Music. Laughter. At the time, I was going through a divorce and there was very little to laugh about. I had no idea where we were going, let alone where we were going to live. And then this yellow kitchen scene appeared in my mind’s eye. I didn’t know what it meant or where it was. I don’t even like yellow very much. But after years of visioning scenes, characters and stories as a writer, I knew enough to tuck it away, trusting that the vision would become clear when the time was right.
A few weeks later, I walked into the seventh house I’d toured in my search for our new home. The side porch door opened into a tiny yellow kitchen. There was a window trimmed with little white shutters over the sink.
We moved in 17 days later.
Fast forward to last night. The night before my birthday. My two teenagers – one boy, one girl – and I are hanging out in our kitchen. Someone is always tripping over the two dogs, this kitchen is too tiny for all of us. They are making late-night chicken nuggets after I brought my son home from work. He smells like pizza. He had a tough night, working the counter serving customers and having to use his newly acquired social skills and confidence. She wants to know how it went. He regales us with tales of his customer service adventures in a carryout pizza joint. Hysteria ensues as each of us adds on to the others’ wise cracks. They tease me and I am laughing so hard I can’t program the oven. Which is even funnier, apparently. 🙂 Nuggets are flying. Giggles erupt as they both easily grab something from a cabinet that I am too short to reach. Candles flicker on the table. Spongebob Squarepants’ theme music drifts out from my girl’s room. My kids are bantering with each other now. I decide to leave them be.
I climb the 13 steps to my room as I do every evening. Something makes me stop, turn around and sit on the top stair. The voices and laughter of my nearly-grown children drift up the stairs. It comforts me. This is how they used to be, long ago, when they were littles. I close my eyes. I want to pause this bittersweet moment forever. The challenges we’ve overcome – individually and as a family – to get here have been no small feat. I’m sure there will be more. There is always more. But right here, right now. This:
A little yellow painted kitchen with a window over the sink. Candles. Music (Spongebob Squarepants theme music, but still). Laughter.
Best. Gift. Ever.