Okay, what do you get when you take 2 in-laws visiting from out of state, a 4-day trip to the cabin, a 3-day trip to Charlotte, and 2 days of nearly comatose recovery from said trip, all while teaching a brand-new class online?
Not a trick question. You get no blogging.
I’ve been hopelessly lame about it, and I’m sorry. I know you come and check here every day for some new wise words of wisdom, right? EVERY DAY. Several times. I know I do, just in the hopes that someone else will start writing about my life and I can read about it. It’s the only way I can hope to keep up.
In the news:
I registered Rowen for kindergarten on Thursday. And after filling out these papers (her permanent record! ack!), I was informed that after an assessment day and a meet-the-teacher day next week, she starts school on August 31.
She starts school on August 31.
That’s like, 10 days away.
There aren’t very many times this has happened to me, but as I was leaving the office of the school I had to pause for a minute just to gather myself together - to catch my breath. I could actually feel, in that moment, my life changing forever.
I think as a scrapbooker I’m more conscious of the passing of time in general - I try to pay attention. I try to celebrate and be grateful for small details, everyday joys, reasons for laughter. Most of the changes in my life either occur gradually, or I only look back on them later and think, wow, that was a thing/moment/day/event that changed the course of my entire life. It’s a little like hearing the echo of thunder from a storm that’s already passed, or hearing a distant clock strike the hour.
This was like standing there with the door of the giant grandfather clock open, watching the gears turn and seeing the Big Hand tick its final tick to the 12, and feeling TIME actually vibrate through me as the bell began to sound.
I rushed home and hugged her for all I was worth - my little girl. Suddenly the word bittersweet takes on new meaning, and it’s far more bitter than I had previously imagined, honestly.
I mean, I love that she’s growing into someone amazing. I love the opportunity and the fun and the learning that’s ahead of her. I hope (more than anything!) that she has a good experience, that the kids are nice, her teacher is nice, that her fear of the unknown is eased in her first few days. And perhaps the bitter taste is my own uncertainty for her, combined with the fact that I can feel the change coming that changes one of the most joyful times of my life so far.
I love my two little kids. I love the immediacy of their joy, love sharing the wonder and laughter, and laughing at their stories and games and songs. I get hugs all day, and “I love ya, mama!” I love answering their endless questions, love watching them make instant friends wherever we go (“Hi! I’m Rowen. Want to play on the slide?” and two little girls go off hand in hand to play), love reading and hugging, running and dancing, baking together, and kissing soft blonde hair at night. It’s hard to imagine a life better than this one, and so I’m afraid for the change I can feel coming. I hope that this joy is a pattern of life, and not a passing thing. And that that looking for the delight in life is a skill I’ve developed, and haven’t simply been passively enjoying.
Kristen sent me a link to a great sermon by one of the LDS church leaders, about hope. Here’s his story from the end of that talk:
Thirty years ago last month, a little family set out to cross the United States to attend graduate school—no money, an old car, every earthly possession they owned packed into less than half the space of the smallest U-Haul trailer available. Bidding their apprehensive parents farewell, they drove exactly 34 miles up the highway, at which point their beleaguered car erupted.
Pulling off the freeway onto a frontage road, the young father surveyed the steam, matched it with his own, then left his trusting wife and two innocent children—the youngest just three months old—to wait in the car while he walked the three miles or so to the southern Utah metropolis of Kanarraville, population then, I suppose, 65. Some water was secured at the edge of town, and a very kind citizen offered a drive back to the stranded family. The car was attended to and slowly—very slowly—driven back to St. George for inspection—U-Haul trailer and all.
After more than two hours of checking and rechecking, no immediate problem could be detected, so once again the journey was begun. In exactly the same amount of elapsed time at exactly the same location on that highway with exactly the same pyrotechnics from under the hood, the car exploded again. It could not have been 15 feet from the earlier collapse, probably not 5 feet from it! Obviously the most precise laws of automotive physics were at work.
Now feeling more foolish than angry, the chagrined young father once more left his trusting loved ones and started the long walk for help once again. This time the man providing the water said, “Either you or that fellow who looks just like you ought to get a new radiator for that car.” For the second time a kind neighbor offered a lift back to the same automobile and its anxious little occupants. He didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry at the plight of this young family.
“How far have you come?” he said. “Thirty-four miles,” I answered. “How much farther do you have to go?” “Twenty-six hundred miles,” I said. “Well, you might make that trip, and your wife and those two little kiddies might make that trip, but none of you are going to make it in that car.” He proved to be prophetic on all counts.
Just two weeks ago this weekend, I drove by that exact spot where the freeway turnoff leads to a frontage road, just three miles or so west of Kanarraville, Utah. That same beautiful and loyal wife, my dearest friend and greatest supporter for all these years, was curled up asleep in the seat beside me. The two children in the story, and the little brother who later joined them, have long since grown up and served missions, married perfectly, and are now raising children of their own. The automobile we were driving this time was modest but very pleasant and very safe. In fact, except for me and my lovely Pat situated so peacefully at my side, nothing of that moment two weeks ago was even remotely like the distressing circumstances of three decades earlier.
Yet in my mind’s eye, for just an instant, I thought perhaps I saw on that side road an old car with a devoted young wife and two little children making the best of a bad situation there. Just ahead of them I imagined that I saw a young fellow walking toward Kanarraville, with plenty of distance still ahead of him. His shoulders seemed to be slumping a little, the weight of a young father’s fear evident in his pace. In the scriptural phrase his hands did seem to “hang down.” In that imaginary instant, I couldn’t help calling out to him: “Don’t give up, boy. Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it—30 years of it now, and still counting. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.
I will take the advice at the end, there, even though it frightens me to step into the darkness. Will they ever be the same as they are now, in this final carefree Summertime before school begins? Probably not. But I can trust that there are yet amazing times to ahead. I believe it.