Days Like These

This is dedicated to a dear friend who recently E-mailed me lamenting having not taken good photos of an important event in her family. When I responded, I reminded her that the special events are not what make up the best part of life, it is the little things – and in doing so, reminded myself of the same.

It’s a cold rainy day, and I have a pot of beans simmering on the stove. This morning my oldest son almost missed the bus and my youngest is here by my side, either home sick or pretending to be sick – I still haven’t figured it out.

My husband is at work, just another day in an endless stretch towards a retirement in the unknown future, something that is uncertain at best, and definitely not promised in this unpredictable life. I vaguely remember his lips on my cheek as I slept, but Carlos was out the door before the sun stretched its sleepy fingers above the horizon. My husband texts me after he clocks in, while I am still warm in the blankets of our bed, his side of the sheets chilly in his absence. Every morning he writes the same, “Buenos dias mi princesa. Dormiste bien?”

And every morning I blindly reach for the phone that I know sits in the darkness on my desk beside the bed, the screen blurry to my still sleepy eyes, smile and reply, “Buenas mi rey, bien y tu?” (Regrettably my phone does not allow Spanish accents, so you will have to forgive the grammar mistakes.)

I will spend the day doing anything I can find to delay writing even though writing is what I want to do most, and then, having visited and re-visited every distraction possible, I will eventually open up a document and write. Once I begin, I won’t want to stop. I’ll kick myself for not having started first thing in the morning. I will feverishly try to get just one more sentence onto the page before I hear the sound of my husband’s keys in the door, or the rumble and screech of the bus bringing the children home.

Evenings are spent squaring away homework, adding today’s mail to the stack of unpaid bills, the voices of noticias en español from the living room mixed with the simmering and sizzling of cooking in the kitchen – these familiar sounds of home, I imagine, are being sewn into the very fabric of my children’s souls.

If it isn’t too chilly or wet I may force the kids outside to kick the fútbol around before the sun goes down. If I can leave something safely cooking without direct supervision needed, I may sit in the hammock and watch them. Sometimes my youngest son will pick me a flower, sometimes Carlos will turn off the television and join us for awhile, but eventually the chill in the air and hunger in our stomachs can no longer be ignored, and we go back inside.

Dinner is eaten, stories about our day are shared, books are read, teeth are brushed, children are put into bed asking to stay up just a little bit longer – but the day is almost done, and Carlos and I have yet to spend a minute alone, (besides a stolen kiss which was interrupted by someone asking for help with their Algebra.)

The night gets darker, the streets get quiet. We stay up an hour or two later than when we actually could have easily fallen asleep and promise ourselves to get into bed earlier tomorrow. Lights are turned off, and we fall asleep – sometimes feeling like we should have done more somehow, or that something is missing … Other times we realize that days like these make up the best part of life. Some nights we fall asleep knowing that, should we be so blessed and lucky, these are the days that we will close our eyes and want to savor one last time in our final years – if only our memories remain intact.


  1. All I want to know is: Where in the world is that book agent that’s going to find Tracy a publisher for her NYT best-seller? This woman is on fire! Love her writing, her voice, the humanness of her content, the poignancy of her words, and the soft emotions her writing stirs in me. I read this post and felt right there at home with Tracy, as if I was watching her go through her day, minute by minute, hour by hour. In just a few hundred words I was an invited guest in her life. That’s what I call an author.

  2. There’s definitely beauty and comfort in the familiarity of our daily routines, but sometimes we get caught up in so much nonsense in our incessant race to the top. That’s why I always try to remind myself that: “La vida es un ratito…”

    Another beautifully written post, amiga! Every morning I look forward to going on-line to see what you’ve crafted. I know I’ve already told you this several times, but you’re an incredibly talented writer. Like Angelica says, I felt like I was right there with you and your family while I was reading this post. Not a lot of writers are capable of evoking such a feeling the way you do! I can’t wait to read your book!

    • @ Roxana – “La vida es un ratito” – so very true.

      I’m glad I was able to “transport” you here to spend the day with me. It’s the next best thing to actually being able to visit with you in real life :) Thanks for the comment, Roxana. Very kind words.

  3. Agree 100% with Angelica. I felt the same. I love how you write Tracy, I almost felt like the book I was reading (your post) ended up too quickly and I wanted more.
    Beautiful, beautiful post!!

    • @ Dariela – Such a great compliment that you wanted to keep reading. Gives me hope for my (much longer!) fiction :)

    • @ Humincat – Haha… I think this is the most popular method of mail sorting in this economy. Sometimes I don’t even open the envelopes. Every afternoon it’s the same conversation:

      Carlos: Did you get the mail?
      Tracy: Yeah.
      Carlos: Anything good?
      Tracy: Bills.
      Carlos: … oh.

      … Not sure what Carlos is waiting for… Maybe a letter saying we won Publisher’s Clearing House? ;)

  4. Didn’t Dooce publish a book that was a compilation of her blog posts? I’m pretty sure she did. Or you could compile an e-book and sell it right here on your site. Just a thought. I related to that feeling at night that you could have done more and the lack of time with husband during the day…ahhh life. Older people tell me that the commotion and busy-ness is what they missed most after their children moved out. It’s good that you appreciate it now.

    • @ Robin – I’m very thankful I appreciate it now. It would be hard to swallow to only realize it once it was too late.

      As for publishing blog posts in e-book form … well, they are here to read for free, so not something I plan on pursuing though I appreciate the thought and vote of confidence. Blogging is something I like to do and it makes me happy that sometimes a post like this hits a special spot in people’s hearts and gives them a smile or needed perspective.

      I do have fiction I write which is what I want published. Still querying literary agents for one of my completed manuscripts but it takes patience and a thick skin. In this economy especially, being published is no cake walk. If it’s meant to be, it will happen.

    • @ Aisha – Yes, I did take the photo. Thanks. That was some flowers my younger son gave me one evening this past summer while I was sitting in the hammock :)

  5. Your life sounds like it is filled with love and affection. More couples need that. I love reading your life snapshot posts, it makes me feel connected to a beautiful thing…. sorry that came across as very sappy, but believe me, it is a heartfelt compliment.

    • @ *pol – I hope that if that affection is lacking in a relationship, maybe my words will encourage people to seek to reignite it. It is something that must be cultivated and too often gets lost the longer we’re with someone.

      Thanks for your words – not sappy at all :)

  6. I am ‘watering’ now Buddy and you captured the essence of family so beatifully. It shows the mutual understanding and love for your husband and I wish I could achieve half of the glow and love there.

    Yes, I am blessed with a good family and with no high expectation, no disappointment as well but sadly I always pulled the handbrake knowing that the communication flow is only one way :( With two teenage daughters having communication problem with my spouse is just as challenging.

    Having said my story, I’m happy for you my dear friend, simple pleaures in life is more important and I’m so with you :D

    Big Hugs my dear Friend :D

    • @ Shionge – I had no idea you were going through such a difficult time, friend. Hang in there. Even if I blog the beautiful parts of my marriage, it doesn’t mean it’s perfect – believe me! Marriage and life in general are like roller coaster rides with ups and downs… wishing you more ups than downs. {hugs}

  7. Loved this. Oh, and these memories are most definitely being woven into your children. I tend to remember so many of the details you described above from my childhood. The smells (what was cooking in the kitchen) noises on the tv, etc….

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