In 2002, Kenny Chesney sang his little heart out right to the top of the charts with the song "The Good Stuff." If you haven't heard it (and don't want to watch the video here), I'll sum up. Guy gets into a fight with his "lady", drives off to the bar, and asks the bartender for "the good stuff." Bartender says, "You can't find that here." Then the wise, old barkeep pours him a glass of milk and proceeds to rattle off a heart-wrenching list of things that actually comprise "the good stuff" - like eating burnt suppers the whole first year and asking for seconds to keep her from tearing up and holding her hand when the Good Lord calls her home.
Ugh. Country songs. They're brutal. But I guess I'm a glutton for punishment because I always come back for more. (New blogging idea - highlight sad country songs on the regular. You're going to love it. Maybe not...)
Even as a young girl of 19 I loved this song. That bartender was right, of course. Not that I know too much about finding solace in a bottle of whiskey, but I do know Good Stuff when I see it.
This weekend I went on a bit of a tirade about what the world commonly considers to be "good stuff." I had a heart to heart with my dear eleven year old son. He's one of the best kids I know. Sincerely. I'm not just saying that because he's mine, at least, I don't think I am. Through teary eyes, I explained to him that I want so much more for him than $150 sneakers. I want him to know that expensive possessions and a big paycheck and a prestigious college degree are meaningless. These things aren't life. I want him to ignore the lies that he's being inundated with that bigger and more are better. They might seem so, but pursuing them for the sake of claiming bigger and more isn't. It's one of those things that's really hard to teach without perspective. I told him I'm proud of him. That he's a fantastic kid, however imperfect he is. He knows it. He also knows how imperfect I am. These things come into the light when you spend your entire days together.
Even after the conversation was long over, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I want him and all of my children to see the Good Stuff like I see it. I can't wait until I have the luxury of the life experience and wisdom of my parents and grandparents. I'm just 31 years old, but life is so much fuller than it was just 10 years ago.
The good stuff -
1. Seeing the delight in my three year old's eyes when her beloved big, teddy bear of an eleven year old brother drops everything and plays pretend with her big-eyed beanie baby toys with her.
2. Watching three sisters give each other makeovers and new hairstyles and foot rubs, having fancy drink wars (mostly apple juice with blueberries dropped into it) in the kitchen, and curled up in a single armchair reading a book or watching a movie together.
3. Hearing the brothers, ten years apart, giggling together in an all-out wrestling match on the living room carpet.
4. Seeing the tears in the biggest kids's eyes when he met his first brother.
And today -
Foregoing all academic activity around 3:00pm because a cold front brought through a torrential downpour and the back portion of our yard turned into a massive mud pit.
I'm not the fun mom. And ordinarily, this might not have flown quite as well as it did today. But for once, I let go. There are no before pictures because one simply does not plan an epic mud fight. These things must be spontaneous or not at all.
Folks, this is, without question, the Good Stuff.
It's not in a store or on a screen and you can't manufacture it even if you try.
It's treasuring the God-given gifts of rain, dirt, brothers and sisters, plenty of soap and water, and respite when life desperately calls for one.
Maybe I stand corrected. This isn't good stuff.
This is Epic Stuff.
Live it well, my friends.
A BREAK IN THE ACTION
6 months ago