At a cello recital at a very posh nursing home. These cute old folks walk in and ask if they can sit on "the very front row." One man looks at my son's cello and asks, "How long have you been playing? And what is that?" We just choose to answer the latter question and then they sit in front of us, he and his wife, and hold hands.
When your boy is a high school senior you find yourself thinking, "This will be the last time we attend a jazz ensemble concert." Or "Weird that we won't have early morning marching band ever again."
It is both gut-wrenching and terrific at the same time when new eras begin.
So I sit here a little choked up as I think about my boys becoming men. I get pre-nostalgia nostalgia. Followed by nostalgia.
Sappy, sappy me.
I sing in a choir every year from September until December. We perform sacred Christmas music, including Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols.
Soul food, this.
We practice in this non-denominational chapel with its high-pitched ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows. While we practice we see birds, deer, and beautiful mountain views, and I feel close to God.
When the mister and I got home from church today we had an hour before choir practice and decided to sit and read.
He- a non-fiction ebook about algorithmic reading.
Me- The Ten Thousand Things by Maria Dermout.
This is what we can do without little ones under foot. Although I still get the craving to take care of (feed) all the people in this house. Instinctive? Learned? I don't over-think it. Life is better for me when I offer something.
Tonight we had a great group of friends over for dinner and tasty conversation. When you sit around a big round table with 8 other people you can see faces and remind yourself why you like these people. The food is an excuse to be together. It is really the company I chew on and digest. And it goes down smooth.
We now have a fireplace. We have never had one before, but it was a top item on the list of prerequisites when we started house hunting a year ago, followed closely by a garage.
As I sit by the fire tonight I look into the room and see my husband and two of my boys and I wonder to myself how I scored so well. Problems here and there? Yes. But the things that matter feel mostly in place, and I sit here toasty and warm and say a small prayer of thanks.
Posting on the go as we head to the temple. During this month of daily blog posting I have chosen to post everyday from my phone, using photos I have only taken mobily. It's another cool way to document my life.
Last night I went shopping and to dinner with my best friend. It was a nice night after a kind of soul-sucking week with all I am trying to balance. We ate curry noodles and laughed our way through multiple trips to multiple dressing rooms. So fun.
Tonight after dinner we sat around our huge round table and talked about reaching out to people. We talked about stretching our circle. About acting on social promptings.
It is an important skill. The boys reflected on the history of our family having people over. We were glad they had those memories. In this new house we are excited to open the doors even more.
So I bought Christmas early for my three youngest guys this year because they were all talking about the new handheld gaming system that #2 could afford right away and the youngest two had to wait until the holiday for.
Anyway.... I wanted them to pal around and enjoy this thing together, so I handed over a wad of bills and sent them out the door to buy three and wished them a "Merry Christmas" as they happily hugged me and rushed out to make the purchase.
One of the cool things about this new gaming system is the ability to recognize people passing with the same system. In other words, my son can be trotting across campus and his system will import the avatar of the passing person and an immediate game will commence with them both. Cool, huh?
I was thinking about this in relation to missionary work. What if we had the desire to share the gospel and as we walked around in our lives we got some kind of alert or inner alarm that sounded when we passed someone who wanted to hear our message? Are there subtle alerts we miss? Are we losing sensitivity?
I am recommiting to missionary work and looking forward to reaching out.
Watching my grown-up kids be so smart and talented and hard-working (not to mention good-looking) is more rewarding than I would have ever imagined when they were little squats.
The launch. The trajectory. Sticking the landing.
Between work and school and the house I am feeling threadbare, and last night it showed itself in an ugly cry fest. The hubby did his best to fix things but there really is nothing to fix.
I am just having a moment.
A moment that may last for 2 years.
A moment that may leave my family in the dust.
But behind my whining I still feel blessed and thankful. Really. Because I know that the things that matter still do. And I know many would trade their problems for mine. That's a good filter during a pity party.
So... new day. New beginning.
From work to a district meeting to a thesis committee meeting to my special ed law class.
Busy day with lots of good things.
And now I'm snuggled in bed with Geo watching TV and blogging from my phone. More good.
In a dark room a funky and daring chandelier stands out like nobody's business. Suddenly the shape and color of the glass are so distracting that I have moments of confusion as I try to stay involved in conversation with my dinner companion. My husband.
We talk about online writing and teaching strategies and self-reflection.
I see him. I see his passion for these things. I see his interest in his students. I see him as that chandelier, right there over his right shoulder. He is light.
We had friends from the old neighborhood over tonight for family home evening. There's something about people that you've raised your kids alongside. They understand you a little more. Maybe we just see into each others' souls a little deeper when we have done hard things together, like raise teens or vicariously suffer through sin and repentance or even just struggle in general. It was nice to have them here at our new place.
We had family scripture time after they left, during which my oldest son texted and told me one of the Bible videos he is in came out (see my fb page). Cool to see that.
Today our son Perry came over for dinner and a visit. On a cold blustery day what could be better? I love to hear my adult sons in particular talk about their futures with excitement and energy. It's a payoff for us parents. Really it is.
Gid and I committed again to opening our home to more gatherings. Friends and family. Missionary opportunities. We have always loved entertaining but feel like the new place lends itself to it even more.
Assignments to get done this week. Oh, and some paperwork for my job. But I am in the blessing counting mode and choose to be thankful for my busy and productive life.
We had our first gathering at the house tonight. We feel all christened or something. Good food. Good company.
Tomorrow my son and DIL will come for Our dinner. We will eat and talk around the big black table and then Mindy will trim my mop before I head to Christmas chorus.
When was the last time you had someone over for a nice dinner? Open up and feel the blessings of connecting.
I do miss writing and would like to get back to it on a regular basis. Even if that means weekly, or monthly. Whatever ends up working for me.
Been finishing up phase one of our reno on the new old house. We love it. It is comfy and has bigger rooms for gathering, which was a main reason for the move. New kitchen just finished. Etc., etc. We are happy here. In this process I have learned that my mind and soul feel about 20 years younger than my body. Man, that is a tough reality to face. We set Nov 2 as a deadline for the main common areas to be finished so that we can rest during the holidays and enjoy family and friends and stop having nightmares about grout and baseboards and flooring. In the early Spring phase two will consist of painting bedrooms and the garage. Also some gardening will be squeezed in.
Grad school. Yeah. Starting my project with a committee that was already up and running. That was a blessing. I need to start my lit review and decide on my research method, etc. Lots to do. Brain tired. Schedule full.
Work continues to be rewarding. I am learning a lot this year about motivating kids to perform, getting basic behaviors in place, and having difficult discussions with parents. I have been misunderstood a few times already and fear I have stepped on toes, but I am a good diplomat and know I am serving the children best by advocating for them, even if I ironically end up doing so with their own parents. Everyone's intentions are good, but when you talk about special needs kids emotions are involved and things get kind of loaded. All will be well.
I have had numerous occasions lately to feel tender feelings about my children and husband. My youngest 2 are both in high school this year. Kind of a landmark thing. My oldest is working so hard at school, and his wife is supporting them. These kids are so independent and interesting. And my second son is burning the candle at both ends. Work and school and dating. That's his life. And what can I say about Geo. Seriously the guy is incredible. He has worked so incredibly hard on our house, usually after a long day at work or all day on Saturday. True blue, I tell you.
Life is good and I have many things to feel happy and hopeful about.