Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Irony of Life

Cute picture of Madison and Bobby, eh? Yes, here they are just leaving for their 8 day Wilderness Trip through Canada's Algonquin National Park. They ate breakfast over the fire, portaged through trails, canoed across clear lakes and slept in a tent. It rained every day except one, which happened to be Madison's favorite memory because they actually got to build a fire.

I was excited for this trip. Excited that Madison would have a great bonding time with her dad, just as Matt had when he was 14. Excited that Bobby would have a break from everyday life and get to enjoy a change of pace. Excited that they would get the time to create a memory that would last forever.

O.K. and I must admit I was a little excited for me. Excited for me because we could have pigs-in-a-blanket and breakfast suppers...all of which could be made in 5 minutes or less. Excited for me because I could actually sleep all night with no one on my side of the bed. Excited for me because I could selfishly indulge in going to bed at 9:30 without feeling guilty. Excited for me because of the pure independence I would have.

Reality hit.

I slept about as good as I did when I first brought the twins home from the hospital. Only instead of being awakened by two darling baby girls, I was awakened by one one-hundred pound black lab. Every night, throughout the night, mind you, I listened to the jingle of his metal tag against his collar.

Why was he in my room? Great question! The girls love sleeping with me when dad is gone. Wittle, bitty Hercules can't be by himself at night! He gets lonely.

After three nights of jingling, wise Michaela said, "Mom why don't you take his collar off?"

See why she is so wise?

I did...but then I began to notice his other sounds. Do dogs regurgitate and re-swallow only at night? I have never noticed it before. It was like trying to sleep with someone vomitting in the bathroom next door. IMPOSSIBLE!

Here was my chance for extra sleep...I had planned on it. I had anticipated it. And IT WASN'T HAPPENING!

Yet, here I was. I was independent! If the girls and I wanted to try Best Buffet, as my ESL students had recommended, I could. We did! If we wanted to go to Walmart late at night for a treat, we could. We did! If we wanted to have a quiet evening with the t.v. off, candles lit and quiet music to read by, we could. We
did! (Yeah, Michaela loved that night. :))

Days 1,2 and 3 flew happily by. By day 4, everything changed. On my way to work I felt ready to cry. I missed my Bobby. I missed his laughter. I missed his spontaneous entrances into my life - his phone calls, texts and "I'm home." I missed his teasing eyes. I missed his amazing hugs. I missed HIM!

I missed my Lily, too. I missed her "Come on mom. We gotta go!" in the mornings. I missed her advice on my "Does this outfit work?" I missed her hugs, her gentle spirit and our trips to school, just the two of us.

I missed it!

I missed them!

I missed my family being all together!

Independence, thinking of myself, doing what I feel like, having no one to answer to...

You can have it!

I'll take supervising the kids chores, making decent meals, keeping his laundry done, checking the house for cleanliness before he comes home each night and being there to love on...

Any day!

Why does it have to take being apart to realize how good it is to be together?!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ozzy's Lesson

One of the marvelous parts of my day is getting to teach four 'struggling to read' first graders how to read. Already they are teaching me.

In order to target the most needy children I gave about 15 'at risk' children a battery of tests in order to assess who struggled most.

In the course of his testing, I asked little toe-headed Ozzy, "Can you find a capital letter on this page?"

Ozzy's forehead wrinkled as he studied the page before him. His lips were pursed as he carefully thought.

Then with the most honest, angelic and innocent look on his face, he looked up and said, "I haven't learned that yet."

How precious!

Instead of saying, "I don't know," "Beats me," or "I could care less." He chose to say "I haven't learned that yet."

I thought about that phrase all day. I loved it. Why? I think because it showed no sense of guilt or embarrassment, but rather hope...that someday he would learn it. It showed that not knowing today was o.k.

Little did I know how useful that phrase would be. As I came home from work and pulled into our driveway, I immediately thought 'Wow, our new roof's looking fabulous. The men of our church got alot done in just one day!'

As I walked into the kitchen, my husband immediately asked, "Where did you park?"

Confused by his obvious concern, I flippantly said, "In the driveway, where else?"

I could tell that didn't go over so great.

"You parked where? Did you not realize the men are still roofing?" (I'm sure my look wasn't nearly as innocent as Ozzy's at this point.)

"Lisa, you're going to get a flat tire. There's nails all around the house. Why didn't you park at the church?"

"Nails all around? I didn't know roofs are put on with nails."

Bobby looked at me like I had just crawled out of the movie "Dumb and Dumber."

"Lisa! You've got to be kidding me!"

Then I said it. I said Ozzy's line.

"I haven't learned that yet. I've never roofed or been on a roof with a roofer."

A hush fell over the room. Bobby just shook his head and walked away. Not another word was said.

Now, I'm not advocating that every arguement be solved with Ozzy's little phrase. But wouldn't that be wonderful? Even better than Jack's 5 magic beans...and the treasures they brought.

I'm just saying it's o.k. if you haven't learned that yet.

Isn't that what life's about?

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Day of Humility

Have you ever had one of these? Personally, I wouldn't recommend them. It started when I graciously volunteered to take Hercules (our giant black lab) out for his morning potty break.

The worse case scenario happened on our potty-walk. Just up ahead was a lady speed walking with her mini-dog. 'Shoot' I mumbled under my breath. 'Time to turn around.' I started pulling Hercules and noticed 'Oh great! He's doing his business. No pulling allowed.' He finally finished, as the speed walker, kept coming. Frantically I began pulling him back towards home.

I was too late!

He spotted the new dog to sniff and lunged forward. I was not letting go. He literally yanked me off my feet as the speed walker and mini-dog sailed right by us cutting through a neighbor's yard to avoid our chaos. As I struggled to pull my body up off of the sidewalk, while still holding onto the leash and the demon dog, I could only hope I'd never met that neighbor before...and never would.

Later, I challenged the family to a Labor Day bike ride. Madison quickly reminded me that Meredith was not there and her long-legged friend could never ride Meredith's bike from two years ago. Without thinking (surprise, surprise) I said, "I'll ride Meredith's bike if we all go."

Bob grinned, "We're going for a bike ride girls!"

Every person in Quincy, plus all of their out-of-town relatives was at Moorman Park as we rode by...a long line of girls led by dad and caboosed by the clown mother.

It ended when my dear man at 9:00pm said, "Hey, doesn't a Starbucks sound good?"

Yes, I had already make up on, stringy hair air drying and pajamas on. Of course, Marissa waited on me. No, it couldn't have been someone I didn't know. Not today!

On my car ride home I was hangin' with God and asking the obvious, "What was the deal?"

He whispered one word...'humility.'

"Ugh" I groaned. "Humility is so...embarrassing, so demeaning, so 'please tell me no one saw that' opposite of-