A life full of blessings

I sometimes wonder why on earth I got handed a life so full of blessings. I came from a wonderful stable home. I have great parents. I don’t fight with my siblings. I found a soulmate and got married when I wasn’t even looking for one. I’ve had kids exactly when I wanted to and didn’t have them when I didn’t. (Yes that’s right, four kids on purpose.) I did have a couple of years needing fairly major medical intervention, but I’m beyond that now and my health is really good.

Why should I have so much when others suffer so much? A good friend and I had a conversation about this. Her life has been quite different from mine. Her belief is that there have to be people who have lives like mine so that everyone else can know what to work for. That doesn’t quite seem right to me. It doesn’t seem to even out the unfairness any. But then when was life ever fair?

What I think is that it doesn’t matter what cards you are given. What matters is what you choose to do with the cards. I’ve been dealt a really good hand. That means I have a great responsibility to give to others. Every blessing I have, I need to share. This means I need to stretch myself more. I cannot help others if I don’t know who they are or what they need.

Surviving

After my last three entries chronicling one unbelievable day I had a friend ask me: “How do you survive all those kids?!”

The answer is that most days aren’t like the one I’ve just described.  Most days have maybe One of those caliber of events.  Some days have none at all.  The quiet days aren’t the ones that I tell about in here because they aren’t as amusing to tell or to read about.  I don’t often tell about the times that Kiki grabs Patches and takes him out into the back yard to play quietly for an hour.  Or the times that all four kids play quietly in the sandbox without getting sand-in-the-hair.  Or the times that Kiki runs off to a friend’s house, Patches naps, and Link and Gleek play quietly with duplos while I nap.  These kinds of things happen just as frequently as the other kind, I just don’t tell about them as much.  I probably should, because those are the moments when I have time to watch my kids and love them and realize exactly why I put up with all the annoying stuff.

And then there is all the really cute stuff.  Just last night Gleek came down the stairs into the office where Howard was playing music while he worked.  She stopped on the stairs and began doing a little bobbing dance.  “I like this music!  It has dancing in it!”

I like my children.  They have Joy in them.

May Day Part 1: Before School

A little over a year ago I had an unbelievable day. By 10 am I realized that it was the kind of day that needed to be recorded for posterity. (Quite literally, I want to be able to show it to my kids.) So I began taking notes. I’ve always intended to write up a full account from the notes.  During my vacation last week I finally did.  It ended up in three parts. If you want to read about kid stuff …

Buffy Season Six

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

Important:  Please do not post spoilers for Season Seven.  I haven’t seen that one yet.

Howard and I just finished Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season Six.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Highlights:

Once More With Feeling was amazing.  I think that is the best musical production I have ever seen.  It was wonderful to see the writers and the cast try their abilities at something so different and see them succeed so well.

The wedding break-up made me sick to my stomach.  Bad Xander.

The development of  The Trio as villains was a fascinating character study.  Particularly of Warren.  We get to watch him move from petty and amusing through stages all the way to an evil doer of evil deeds. 

Evil Willow rocked.  She was scary and powerful.  She had me on the edge of my seat.  “Bored now.”  Very evil.  I’m not sure how Willow the person is going to be able to come to terms with what she became and what she did.

The Buffy and Spike relationship was also fascinating to watch.  I confess that I’ve always loved the Spike character and I really felt his pain in season 5.  What I emotionally wanted to have happen was that Spike’s feelings for Buffy to ennoble him, redeem him somehow.  Instead the relationship with Spike only created confusion and pain for both of them.  A much more realistic result considering the people involved.  Then things bottomed out and now it looks like I could yet see the redemption of Spike in season 7.  That’d be nice.

Anyway, those are the highlights of my thoughts on Buffy Season 6.  I’m looking forward to the conclusion of the series.

Risky Behavior

The most intense experience I had during my week of vacation was the “High Ropes Course”. This is a 15-20 foot long log with notches in it hanging from a chain that you climb(Yes it swings while you are climbing). At the top of the log you switch to a rock climbing wall with itty bitty little plastic rocks to acend another 20 feet or so. Once you’ve achieved the wooden platform 40 feet off the ground you take to the wires. These are 1 inch thick wires strung 50 to 100 feet between trees. One wire for hanging onto, one wire for walking on. After a circuit of wire walking you arrive back at the wooden platform where you rappel down the climbing wall and the empty space below it.

I actually did all of that. I still wonder why. It was definitely interesting from an introspective psychological standpoint. I KNEW it was going to be a terrifying experience. I knew that before I started. Yet I wanted to do it. To face my fears I guess. Perhaps to prove that I am stronger than my fear. That’s the answer that pleases me. The answer that I want to believe. Maybe it is even the right answer.

During the experience there was a definite split between my animal brain and my logical one. I was wearing a climbing harness with double safety the entire time. During the climbing and rappelling there was a staff member on a belay line who could have hoisted me with no effort on my part. Logically I knew I couldn’t fall. Despite that, I was terrified throughout the entire experience. In order to not be frozen by the fear I had to concentrate on movements. Specifically the NEXT movement. Hand. Foot. Breathe.

When I arrived back on the ground my first reaction was “I’m NEVER doing that again!” Ten minutes later I was reconsidering. I’m curious. Now that my adrenal system has figured out that I survived what looked like a deadly situation would I be as scared the next time? Part of me wants to know. Part of me doesn’t want to be that scared again.

Howard took pictures and video. I saw them later. They are far too short. Surely it took longer than that for me to climb. And why doesn’t the fear I felt show in the motions or expressions? I’d post a picture or two if I knew how, but as far as I’m concerned they don’t accurately represent the experience.

I’m very glad I went through the course. I’m glad to know that in a faux do-or-die situation, I did it. The doing is enough, I don’t need to buy the t-shirt.

And we’ve landed . . .

Here I am, back in my real life. I’m going to miss the woods. Lots. That was the foremost thought in my head as a drove into my neighborhood. Everything looked so cultivated and surrounded with concrete.

My second thought occurred when I came into the house to admire the shiny, newly re-finished hardwood floors. It was along the lines of: “Smelly! Open some windows, no make that ALL the windows, and I’m going to have to put furniture back and 4 suitcases full of laundry to wash and I need a shower and there is dust everywhere from the sanding I have to go back to making meals again Look EVERYTHING needs vacuumed and swimming lessons start next week, agh the lawn minion didn’t mow the lawn while we were gone, why is there that brown patch out there? I’ll have to check the sprinklers. . .”

Did I say I’m going to miss the woods? I miss them already.

Quartermastering

Family vacation commences on Saturday. Between now and then my mission is to pack duffel bags full of clothing for 4 kids and 1 adult. Howard packs for himself. I also have to make sure that I unpack the extras that Gleek and Patches put in the suitcases in their efforts to help. All of that goes into the van.

I also have to pack books to read at bedtime, games to play in our cabin, vitamins and medecines, Snackfood, toothbrushes and toiletries, the play pen, the baby backpack, sippy cups, diapers, wipes, and bunches of other things that I have on a list around here somewhere. All of it goes into the van.

Then there are MY things, Bird books, and wildflower books, and Butterfly books, and sketch pads, and watercolors, and a novel to read, and the story I’m working on, and anything else that I might want to do with the free time I’ll have while the kids are off playing. All of that goes into the van. On Saturday all the people go into the van too and we drive away.

But before we can drive off I’ve got to empty the front room and the kitchen. The couch, the rocking chair, the japanese screen, 3 large plants, 2 plant stands, a bench seat, an end table, a music cabinet, a piano, the kitchen table, 6 chairs, and 3 barstools all need to be moved. Fortunately none of that has to go into the van. It’s all going into the garage. While we are gone some nice men will come and make our hardwood floor all shiny and smooth. Then when we get back we get to relocate all that furniture again. Whee.

The point that I’m circuitously trying to reach here is that starting Saturday afternoon I won’t be online for a week. I’ll be outdoors taking pictures of the kids or off doing something with Howard or something by myself. Maybe the camp will offer a watercolor class again this year. Maybe I’ll try pottery. The camp does in fact offer internet connections, but they keep the computers in the basement of a building and I really have no intention of shutting myself up in a room of florescent lights and computer screens with so many other things available. I can do that when I get back home.

Those of you who’ve become frustrated with the way I litter your friends page once or twice daily will get a welcome break. (why do you still have me friended if I bug you anyway? 🙂 Those of you who’ve enjoyed my ramblings, don’t worry, I’ll be back after my vacation.

Developmental Leaps and Bounds

I’ve already commented in another entry that Gleek has entered the “why?” stage with a bang. She’s also developed another amusing trait; tall tales. She’ll begin telling me how she went to the neigbor’s house and jumped on the trampoline and then she’ll add a small detail which is plausible, but unlikely: “we jumped higher than the fence.” Then she’s off: “Then a bird came flying down and jumped with us and catched us and we flew in the sky and we were all birds and we flew and flew but then we were rabbits and hid in a hole.” Most of the time I can tell where reality departs the story, but sometimes it is harder. I’m not always sure Gleek can tell though. In her mind one segues into the other with no dividing line. I think my favorite one so far is the one where Hummingbirds have no wings and so they have to go and buy them from the store. But they don’t have money so they go to Gleek who sells them money.

Gleek isn’t the only one who has made developmental leaps recently. Patches has discovered the joys of foraging. He can open the pantry and help himself to cheerios. He can climb on top of the table and help himself to whatever was left there. (Suddenly I’m much better about making sure the table gets cleared immediately.) He can also go to the garbage can and get stuff out. Fortunately he doesn’t seem to eat stuff from the garbage can. Mostly he grabs something and comes around the corner and grins and me as if to say: “Mom! Look what I did! Now you have to scold me and pay attention to me!” It works every time darn it. I’m not sure how to NOT reinforce that behavior because I can’t let him keep the garbage.

The other attention-getting works-every-time tactic that Patches uses, which drives me nuts, is that when he wants picked up and I am busy he grabs both of my legs in a bear hug. I’m usually moving at a brisk pace when he does this. I have to come to an immediate halt or risk injuring Patches or falling myself. I frequently have my hands full of something or other, so I can’t pick Patches up immeadiately. I end up shuffling slowly, dragging a crying, bear-hugging toddle-boy closer to the counter so I can put whatever I’m carrying down and pick up the boy.

My kids are too smart for my convenience.