While packing up our belongings to move (I, Anna, am moving too…into Carol’s old house!), I ran across a book by Warren Hanson, Older Love (Waldman House Press, 1999). I’ve read it before, but as I paged through it this time, I had a completely different perspective (hint, the perspective change might have something to do with the newest member of our family, who, I am convinced, is part puppy). I was reminded, once again, of the power of ritual throughout the course of our lives. Hanson writes:

We hear this old love every day, in ways we’d never think. The gentle plink of dishes swishing in the kitchen sink. The sound of slippered footsteps in the hallway overheard, when I have risen early, and you have stayed in bed. The morning paper. Coffee in the same old favorite cups. The fond, familiar rituals that nothing interrupts. The joyful jingling of your keys. Your telephone hello. The quiet, happy humming of that song from long ago.

We could choose to get upset by the little (and big) things that bother us. Like when my husband is adamant about selling my huge, ugly-but-useful desk on Craigslist because “it won’t fit in the new house” (oh I’ll make it fit, darn it!). Thank you, Warren Hanson, for reminding me to always find joy and gratitude in my marriage. It’s not that hard, really. He is moving without me while I attend a wedding across the country. Ultimately, it’s the little things that we do, each day, that contribute to long-term happiness and success in relationships.

One of my favorite rituals these days is sharing a massive mason jar as a water glass at dinner. We share these days because one person carries Thomas to the table and the other person carries the food. 4 hands, 1 baby, 2 plates, 2 glasses. You do the math.

Be happy with the little things. Every day.