Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Cups on the Counter, Toys in the Bathtub

Recently I realized that little Hans no longer eats every small thing he sees.

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It’s a great relief of course. No longer do I have to -- in terror over some small something ending up lodged in his throat -- quite-so-strictly monitor everything that ends up on the floor or insist on a maximum size any time the kids pull out toys. He can wander around outside without eating small leaves and sticks. And there is a good chance that he won’t fill his mouth with sand at Bear Lake this year!

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Still, if Hansie no longer puts every small thing into his mouth, that surely means . . . someday there won’t be birthday signs taped up all over the kitchen cabinets 11 times a year. There might not be sets of scriptures on the stairway every Sunday after church – waiting for their respective owners to return them to their rooms. There won’t be library books stacked by the fireplace, diapers and wipes taking up all the space in the bottom drawer of my nightstand, a stack of school books and homework on the corner of the counter closest to the sliding-glass door, and every bathroom running out of toilet-paper every day. There’s even a chance that someday there won’t be little rainbow cups (labeled with blue tape and a sharpie) lining the ledge above the kitchen sink.

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Which would be something to think about I suppose. If I actually believed it to be true. But I don’t. Not really. There will always be bottles drying on the sink ledge, and toys lining the floor of the tub in our master bathroom, and kids bringing in our chickens’ eggs, and Nerf bullets in all our bushes, and dry cereal spilled in the pantry.

Even if Hansie did stop eating wood chips at the park.

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Sunday, May 6, 2018

Saturday

The house is rather in shambles. Saturdays themselves – in their desperation to be everything – always lean it that way to begin with. And then, . . . after a week plus of illness, I’ve stripped sheets and quilts off beds and gathered beloved blankies (despite protests) and added them to the piles of laundry I’m intending to have finished for the week. Simultaneously Mike has instructed the kids to pull brooms and baskets and rain boots and miscellany from the laundry room so he can replace one dryer (a broken one) with another (hopefully not broken). And all about the house . . . mess is getting worse before it can get better.

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And, just when I thought I’d arranged everything so that I might sneak the smallest run into the madness of this day (on my mostly broken feet and ankles), we remembered an event that three of our kids were supposed to be at – dressed in their best – in just minutes. And the longed-for run fell to the way side.

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BUT! Goldie gathered all the little kids around the kitchen counter earlier – giving them fresh balls of dough and instructing them in various options for shaping pretzels. And when I sat at the computer to type for a minute, and Goldie asked what I was up to and I replied, “Oh, I was just writing for a minute, but I probably need to get back to cleaning,” she  responded that she would see to the cleaning. I can hear Mette below -- alternating singing a few jumbled and repeated words of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing with asking Mike to come help her open the sliding glass door. Hans is walking around – shirtless – and, with eager words of gibberish, bringing me small things to examine – some rubber bands, a tin cup, a plastic light saber and a Fisher Price camera. Pen, Jesse and Anders keep complaining about being shewed outside and then resigning themselves to making it fun. And Summer is, with great thought and care, laying out a little bed of towels, blankets and stuffed animals on the living-room love seat.

Later, most likely, I will feel overwhelmed. It will be late. No one will have been fed dinner. Hans will be crying to be held. Mette will be insisting she needs something and only I can help her. Several kids will spill things. I’ll have to repeat my requests (“brush your teeth”, “get your jammies on”, etc.) multiple times in rising crescendo for them to be followed. I might lose my temper a bit when unwilling toddlers refuse to go to bed.

But, right now? Right now . . . this backdrop of undone and stress and clutter. It’s all perfectly fine.

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Friday, May 4, 2018

All of Forever

When you were born, I took all of forever and pushed and squeezed with all of my might to fit it into one little capsule. That was all that made sense to my linear way of thinking. I wasn’t sure how to comprehend you as: an eternity more than the present moment. So I did my best to squish you into an eternity . . . in the present moment.

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But I could never secure the capsule tight enough. I could never manage to compact your identity solely into now. Always and always it was bursting back open – catapulting your existence backward and rocketing it forward. 

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And it was miraculous; and overwhelming -- glimpsing, in those explosive openings, that, despite how it battered my weak logic, you were all of forever before and all of forever ahead: A soul. Unable to fit into one enclosed definition of the present. 

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But the only thoughts and words at my disposal to make sense of or describe any of it . . . were words and thoughts created from time -- ill suited for the task.

Still, sometimes, when I simply quit rebelling at what I couldn’t grasp and let go of my insistence on mortal clarity, something marvelous would happen. My own mind would expand beyond it’s stakes and bounds – and my own soul would meld into the unquestionable rightness of our eternities woven so clearly from long before time, and onward unendingly, and all swirling perfectly together in my clumsy understanding of the present.

And, in those brief moments, nothing made more clear and unassailable sense than holding all of forever in my arms.  

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

A Little Tired Miscellany

It may be that I’ve written variations of this statement on this blog before, (yes, of course I have, it’s possibly all I’ve ever written), nevertheless: I don’t think I’ve slept for years. Maybe . . . ever. I can’t remember. It may have been that long. (All of forever.) All I know is that Hansie wakes me up – crying and demanding -- multiple times a night. And Mette too. She wakes regularly – hollering, screeching and falling into a fitful rage should anyone other than her mother try to soothe her. Every night my head is filled with the unreasonableness that can only properly exist when accompanied by repeatedly disturbed sleep. And every morning when my alarm wakes me I think: I can’t. I cannot. I can’t possibly. (And then, magically, I always do.)

I know. Some of you are likely shaking your head and thinking about how you would never tolerate such nonsense. Your babies and toddlers would never have been waking at such advanced ages.

And well.

So am I. So. Am. I. (Shaking my head, tut-tutting about anyone not having trained their children better, thinking how my kids always slept through the night long before age one.) I hear you. I agree. I am with you.

And yet.

Somehow.

Here we are.

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Still. The days move along. Likely not very differently than they would if I did sleep every night. (Or even . . . some nights.)

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(Although, . . . one might argue that only a sleep-deprived woman would let sick kids play in a little pool with their healthy siblings [previously healthy siblings – sigh]. Ain’t nobody ever heard nothin’ ‘bout contagion around here??? But yes. She wanted so much to play with her siblings. And she was very whiney. And I? I was . . . tired. “Give them what they want. Just stop the crying.” That’s my tired motto.)

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But! I shall tell you something about our dear Abe.

He does not like his vegetables. Or even . . . I can hardly type it . . . most FRUIT! (Gasp!) It’s the strangest thing. And one can hardly account at all for such physical and mental fitness in a boy so shy on veggie.

Sometimes dinner will have wound up and Abe will just be sitting there. Looking contemplative. Or sorrowful. Or uncomfortable.

“Is something wrong?” I’ll ask.
”Are you feeling all right?”
”What are you up to?”

And then I will see it. The spoonful of peas or forkful of beans he is gearing up (for minutes on end) to put into his mouth before calling his meal complete.

Still, I suppose there is something (even if a very little something) to be said for his determining to eat them at all.

Speaking of Abe: he generally has a pencil behind his ear. Sometimes I think he forgets one is even there.

Also, he is known around the school as, “Abe the Babe”.

And yet, for all of that, Abe’s confidence is not what one might imagine – attributing most of this nickname business simply to the undeniably rhymey nature of it all. (I, for one, think he is much more of a catch than he supposes – even if I must acquiesce that, were he to have always gone by his full name, he would not likely be called Abraham the Baberaham.)

And, since the introduction to this post established that my mental state is compromised (and no one would expect a mentally compromised person to write a tidy post full of connected dots) I shall press on with several more disconnected thoughts.

1. Did you all know Daisy is missing several permanent teeth? They just never existed. I worried, when she was young, that might mean implants and all kinds of craziness, but her orthodontist so expertly pulled things together, and shaved things just so, that no one would ever be the wiser. (Except for her family – who can’t help but wonder if those sharp canines growing in right next to her front teeth suggest some sort of vampirey or serpenty genes somewhere back in our family line. We will, of course, watch her closely and not allow the orthodontist’s handy work to lure us into a false sense of security about her. One can never be too careful when dealing with pointy teeth. That’s what I always say.)

2. The other day Anders asked me to make him some toast. He then added, “And will you put that stuff on it that makes it ULTRA good?! You know . . . salt . . . ? or . . . flour??”

3. I shall never admit to anyone here what I paid for a watermelon the other day. (Especially when we all know that buying a watermelon at all right now – much like corn on the cob – is only a thing we do because we are excited to see them again and not because we hold any delusions about them actually tasting great this early in the season.) I hadn’t intended to though. There had been a sale days earlier and so, when I saw no sign or price listed anywhere near the watermelons I just assumed (and we all know what we make out of u and me when we assume – heehee) it was still the GOOD price. And then, when they were ringing up my groceries I just couldn’t bring myself to say, “Good heavens! Never mind! Put that exorbitantly priced melon back!” I’ve done such a thing with non-edible items before – at clothing stores, etc. But for some reason I just couldn’t say it with a melon. I should have though. I should have. (I shall have to buy numerous watermelons at the currently fantastic price of 5 lbs/$1 to make up for it. . . . There’s logic.)

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4. And, to end on a spiritual note: I’ve become more aware of the scripture in me. Words and verses that I must surely have put there over the years. I’ve wondered, on occasion, why the push to read scripture when current talks, etc. are often spoken in a way that more naturally appeals to me. But I’ve neglected perhaps to recognize how, much like poetry and song, scripture can float into my head.

“I will trust and not be afraid . . .”

“I . . . have put forth my hand to exert the powers of heaven; ye cannot see it now, yet a little while and ye shall see it . . .”

“. . . come boldly unto the throne of grace, . . . obtain . . . help in time of need.”

“Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.”

“For I am the Lord thy God, and will be with thee even unto the end of the world . . .”

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”

“. . . let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.”

And I’m seeing more and more that it is not random floating at all. It’s The Spirit bringing scripture to my mind – and more importantly to my heart. It seems to somehow be a sacred language of The Spirit that, if we simply put it in us, he can call up in a way that opens understanding, soothes fears, and guides decisions. Lately, I take note the minute words of scripture pop into my head. I acknowledge that I am learning how to hear God. And I want more scripture in me – to facilitate hearing Him more frequently.

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