Rainy Saturday, a Chance to Refuel

We have a wedding to go to in a few hours, but it’s one of those kind of days when I’d rather wrap up in a turtle neck sweater, thick warm socks, my leopard Snuggie and never leave. Kind of odd attire for late April, but today’s weather necessitates it. It’s been raining since a pre-dawn thunderstorm and is rather chilly.

With this rain I’m thankful to have gotten my little raised garden planted last night. I’ve decided to refer to it this year as my salsa garden, since it only has tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro planted. I bought some seeds a couple weeks ago, but by the time I finally got around to planting, I couldn’t find where I’d put the bag of seeds. Oh, to be so organized.

Today has been the perfect day to write after multiple perfect weather days demanding outdoor activities, and I had the support of my husband. Deciding to change location for a different inspiration, I tidied up the little den in our basement and positioned myself there. Hours later the only thing I had to show for it were some FaceBook entries, a few written emails, and a tidy den. My son’s electric guitar and my husband’s workout music get the blame for running me out. As if I need an excuse for my nonproductive writing time. So I retreat to one of my favorite places of all, my front porch.

Yes, it’s cold outside, but I do have that leopard Snuggie. I’m watching a wren that flew out of its nest in the decorative pail beside the door check me out to see if it’s safe to fly back to her eggs, or if this giant feline with a black hoodie is waiting to gobble her up. Okay, she decided I was a tame leopard. I can still tell that my son is playing his guitar in the basement which is essentially underneath where I’m sitting, but it’s muffled and subsidized with the rustling of leaves and the lovely patter of raindrops hitting the leaves. I kind of wish I could cozy up here in a hammock with warm blankets and a good book, but I’m supposed to be writing one, not reading one. If I keep at this pace, I will have piddled the entire day away, and it will be time to get ready to go to the wedding.

I’m glad it was my anniversary week and not my wedding day, and I hope the bride doesn’t freeze to pieces in this unusual weather. But then there is that old saying, “April showers…” So why does a slow, rainy day in April feel so unusual?

The last two weeks have been chock full of middle school and varsity baseball games, an overnight trip to celebrate our silver wedding anniversary, meetings, carpools, a writing workshop, yard work, on and on. Perhaps, THAT is why a slow day in April feels unusual, rain or not.

God, thank you for the chance to slow down today and listen to your water works.

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Growing Pains

Before a baseball game this week, I was standing at the back of my car attaching the newly embroidered backrest of my stadium seat with duct tape when I glanced over at the sound of a car arriving next to me. Moments later a father and son appeared. The boy looked about 8 or 9 and was wheeling his personalized bat bag behind him. We were at the most prestigious ball park in the area, and I know that it is neither cheap nor easy to play here. (Incidentally, we were there for our school team.)

As they walked past, I overheard the father ask his son, “Would that be okay with you if we did that?”  The kid nodded. Now it’s been a long time since I was 8 or 9, so my memory may not be clear, but I’m pretty darn sure my father never asked me that question.

I reiterate: “Would it be okay with you if we did that?” Laughable. It didn’t work that way in my house growing up, and honestly I don’t know how I might have responded. Our father barked out the orders, and we daughters obeyed. No backtalk.  No discussion. No question.

Sure, maybe we didn’t like it so much that we didn’t have a say in making decisions. Maybe it wasn’t fair. And maybe we had valid points or good reasons why we should be allowed to go, to buy, to stay, but our parents had one thing we didn’t have—life experience.

As I tell my children today, every time their father or I give them an answer, it’s always looking out for their best interest. We don’t have to say no to them very often, but when we do, that’s it. We have a good reason, whether it’s good from their vantage point or not. You see, they can only see from the starting point up to now. Imagine a number line with 0 marking their birth. Their number lines only extend to 13 and 15. We have over thirty ticks after that. A lot of life has happened in those extra thirty ticks. When you stand at our number and look back, it’s easier to make rational decisions based on the sum of life experiences that have occurred since our 0.

Yet still, today’s culture has seeped into our number line too, maybe even a little resentment towards the autocratic parenting style my father employed, to soften some of the edges (or at least make the “no’s” less frequent). So far they’re none the worse for it. But at the same time, we’re still first-time parents, only have gotten this far so far, so each stage is a new one for us. I had some younger mothers asking me questions this past weekend, listening to my answers like the gospel.

Tonight was another first for us—allowing our son to ride with his friend driving. Ugh. One hour to go until that curfew arrives. With all the life experience at this point on my number line, I know too much to make his being out a comfortable situation. This mama hen really likes it when her chickens are tucked away safely in the nest. At some point, we have to lengthen the tether though. Stretching hurts. Just ask your hamstrings.

Dear God, Please guide us as parents to make the best decisions for our families knowing that we can trust you no matter what.

Six Seconds to Sleepy Town

I think falling asleep fast is a man thing—one of those nice gifts God gave to the male species. Maybe it was his way of thanking them for putting in a good hard day’s work. My husband can fall asleep in about six seconds flat.

As I’m writing this message, we’re sitting outside enjoying some incredible spring-time weather. I’m on the patio with my laptop working, and he just arrived home. He walked out here, sat back in the metal chair, propped his feet on the cocktail table, and opened a magazine. It never got read. Six seconds later the only thing open was his mouth.

I could tell he was asleep behind the Oakleys when I saw his fingers jerk, his lip twitched, his breathing steadied. All of this with the lawn care guys using loud leaf blowers next door. Noise doesn’t bother him. I wonder if the wasp will. That or the slap of the golden retriever’s tail when he parades by. The motor stopped. A few minutes later, “Was I asleep? Was I snoring?”

Six seconds later, he was back at it—mouth open, hand jerking, somewhere in dreamland. The loud chirping of the nearby cardinals didn’t bother him, but the golden’s bark did.

Six seconds later, back for round three.

It’s unbelievable. He can do the same thing on an airplane, or if I’m driving on a trip, or if he’s driving on a trip. True story. That’s probably why I can’t rest when we’re on a trip, because at least ONE of us needs to stay awake.

I’m still trying to get adjusted to this year’s edition of Daylight Saving Time. I sleep later, stay outside longer, and then don’t feel like fixing dinner. So far it doesn’t seem to be working in my or my family’s favor. Something else to work on. Maybe in a little while, I’ll get to hit the sack, but I can guarantee it will take longer than six seconds for me to fall asleep.