Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I'm so happy. So very happy. I think my chest will explode.

It's impossible not to feel both wistful and proud when I hear my Emie regale tales of her day. It's another opportunity to remember that indeed she is becoming her very own person. Last night we went out to dinner and had such a fun time. Ainsley wanted to sit outside for a bit so after Dirk was finished he took her to an outdoor table. Note that we were at Freebirds World Burrito so it's not as though we messed up the universe of any reservation schedule. The menu's on a chalkboard.

When it was just me and Emie at the table, I asked her about her day. About recess and lunch. The two places where it all happens when you're seven. I asked her if she had a chance to be a friend to someone. Someone who needed a friend. I hope I'll always remember what her face looked like before she even started to tell me about it. How her eyes lit up and her dimples plunged, it was as though someone had just plugged in a thousand Christmas lights in a dark room. That.little.face.

She shared with me that her friend Jay was a bit sad on the bus ride home. She told him a made up a story about him, their mutual friend on the bus, and herself. One which had them all laughing hysterically before the end. My firstborn experienced something sacred today. To feel the unsurpassed joy of bringing someone else a smile when they just can't muster one themselves. To make someone laugh when they have already realized that life really isn't very funny. I know she's done this before. She's been spreading the joy around like so much glitter since she was a babe - but for her to get how amazing that feels - Well that's the stuff of glory.

I reached across the table and held her squarely on the shoulders and said "Do you have any earthly idea how amazing you are? How crazy beautiful and amazing you are? You?" Or as much as I could before she recanted, "Mom" in the way that has four syllables. I wanted to stop time and record every sparkle in her eye. Every long eyelash. How her lips were red as cherries. She's growing up so fast. The other day on the way to church she was talking (with great knowledge) about the Revolutionary war. She later explained to her sister (who had asked) what formal attire was. How does she know all of these things already when she was just crawling a few minutes ago? The years go by so very, very fast.

Oh, this job is so hard sometimes. It takes everything I have some days to hold it together as a mom when it's all about pouring myself out and into the lives of the little lovies. The Lord refills me readily but there are days when I'm weary. But yesterday, well it was different. I was on top of the world. I got one of those this is why I'm doing what I'm doing moments. It is a privilege denied to many to get to pour into a real life. An individual sparkly, gorgeous, unique, not-my-own life.

Lord Grantham's words sum it up so very well. "I'm so happy. So very happy. I think my chest will explode."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I just came across this picture. Though taken two and a half years ago it is vintage Ainsley and me. I mean seriously people, who needs cable? She's flying through the air and I want a nap. Not a lot has changed since then and then again everything has.

Spring Break is nearly over. Can I get an amen? It actually has been great to have the girls to myself and not have to wake them for anything. We found plenty to do with our time. We baked a half batch of chocolate chip cookies yesterday because that's how much the family flour supply would allow. But it seemed plenty.

Our aim was to bring a plate of them to some new neighbors we saw move in a few weeks ago. They're at the other end of our street and on one of our trips past we thought we scoped out some little girls on their upper front porch. PFs (potential friends) bring out the Betty Crocker in all of us. Once we had our plate all set and our card ready to roll we walked on over. Yep, you guessed it. No one was home. Hadn't factored in that possibility. And since it's Spring Break we didn't opt to leave them on the doorstep in fear that we'd only attract the local raccoon family to their door and that just doesn't seem too neighborly.

Back home we went, cookies in hand. It wasn't long before we all started to look pretty longingly at the plate. I mean, they weren't home and would they ever know if we just took a couple off of the plate before bringing them down the next day? So we started in and well, it's going to take a lot of convincing for me to feel brave enough to bring what is now a plate of only three cookies from our motley Welcome Wagon.

Monday, March 11, 2013

So Glad You're Here and Good Night

It feels weird not to have written in such a while. I'd gotten into such a comfortable habit of cranking out posts every couple of days. But we've had company here for a full week so that just changes things. And it was the in-laws. And though I actually really like them - a novel concept and a rare gift I'm sure - it's still just different when you have extras in the house. Different in a good way. Like different as in I cooked real meals! I should back up to say that not only did I cook real meals, I planned for real meals like I'd never done before. I made lists, shopped, chopped and prepared to make Ina Garten blush. I held my own and it turns out it wasn't that painful and it saved a ton of hassle.

I had so many provisions around that it appeared my aim was to put everyone in a food coma. Part of a plot to sneak in a much needed nap. But the coma really wasn't necessary since my house guests were big nappers. Huge nappers. Like marathon nappers. Did I mention they like to take naps? Green with envy I am, that's all. But they're good at it. In fairness I should note that this is only because they really sleep poorly at night. Like they don't sleep at night much at all kind of poorly. It's a bit like having owls as house guests. Here's an example of their prowess for napping: Dirk was outside chatting in the afternoon with his dad a few times when he would notice him drift off to sleep mid-sentence only to wake up and pick up exactly where he left off in his conversation with Dirk. This is brilliant stuff here. Mad skills that would be wonderfully helpful during a boring meeting. Take a little snooze and then wake right up and say, "As I was saying..." and just never miss a beat. They're something these in-laws. In truth they lead really full and productive lives in their golden years. My mother-in-law's schedule makes me tired. She's on several boards, does all of the book keeping for her church's child care center, bakes from scratch, quilts, and keeps up with a wide circle of friends. About that nap...

We did wake them up long enough to show them the Alamo, the Riverwalk, a few authentic BBQ/honky-tonk type of joints and other Texas fare, Dirk's office (a mom likes to see these things), our church, and Emie's beloved Orange Leaf. They said they had a good time and we believe them. If getting away is about getting some rest and relaxation--well, mission accomplished indeed! Unfortunately we hosts still had the little people here wanting to try out their new in-line skates, and shoot hoops with their new basketball. So, no rest for the parentals. But we were really, really glad for their company. The in-laws and the little people for that matter.

It was just a treat to be with people with whom we have shared history. Others who know our stories and our people. We got to hear about family members and how they're all doing and also about new subjects such as the perils of cutlery in restaurants these days. Have you noticed that forks are not sharp enough to use in most eating establishments? Neither had I but if you ask my mother-in-law, she would tell you this is a big problem today. The forks out there aren't sharp enough to pierce the food on your plate. Makes you wonder if perhaps a lack of meat tenderizer is the true culprit but that's fodder for another visit. We'll be visiting them in June so we'll have something else to talk about.

The girls are on Spring Break this week and Dirk's heading out of town for work. Cleverly timed, husband, cleverly timed indeed. In any case, I don't imagine I'll have time for lots of posts but life's full of surprises.