Archive for September, 2006
Is it better to experience life as it happens or to record it so that I can experience it later? This is my burning question. I find myself continually torn between wanting to take pictures and being sick of taking pictures. Sometimes it seems very sad to me that when I am taking pictures of an event, like my kids’ school programs, I am so caught up in capturing the moment through my camera lens, that I am not really paying attention to the program. But if I don’t get the picture, I regret it every time. I love the pictures.
So, I’m going on a retreat this weekend with the women from church and I am NOT taking my camera. Will I regret it? I can tell you right now that I will. We’re going to a beautiful, wooded retreat center in east Texas and the weather is perfect right now. I’ll get there and I’ll think “It’s such a great feeling out here. I wish I could capture this feeling somehow.” But I won’t be able to because I won’t have my camera because I am deliberately NOT taking it with me so that I can force myself to just feel something and live with it without being able to capture the feeling.
That’s where I am today.
I went to Nashville this weekend with my mom. I had a lot to ponder on in Nashville. When I’m away from home, without my husband and kids, it’s like I’m in an alternate universe. Like I’m someplace that exists only for the time that I’m there and when I leave, it will continue just as I left it. I am able to feel like I am watching it all happen, without really being a part of it all. The weird thing about being with family that you hardly ever see is that it can make you feel a part of something bigger than yourself, enveloped in love, protected and comforted by tradition, while at the same time feeling like you are very different from everyone and not really fitting in anywhere. You feel very alone and yet very loved. Now that I’m home, I’m not really done processing, but I am going to attempt to tell you about my family and about Nashville.
In Nashville, my Aunt Donna turns 61. We celebrate at her house with ham and beans and taco soup and cornbread and homemade ice cream. She has a constant smile on her face as she graciously and lovingly enjoys her family that comes to celebrate with her. Her husband, my Uncle David makes me sausage and coffee every morning. In Nashville, my grandpa plays guitar. He can’t see the strings anymore, but it doesn’t matter. The sound of his guitar fills the house like beams of sunlight fill the space between the trees on a wooded path through the forest. It reminds me of love and of warmth. His brothers and sister and sister-in-law come too. They play guitar and piano and lend their rich voices to the joyful sound. My mom and her sister dance to the music. When Great Aunt Carolyn sits at the piano and sings about the trials she’s been through and how God has seen her through and how He’ll someday take her home to a place where she’ll see clearly, my mom cries. When I look at how beautiful her hands look on the keyboard, I cry. My grandma cares for my grandpa with the love that more than sixty years of marriage brings. My heart feels very full when I watch her and listen to stories of her life, knowing how blessed I am at the legacy she has given me through my mom, who makes life fun and musical. We play four games of Scrabble. Grandma wins three and my mom wins one.
It rains almost the whole time in Nashville. The sound of the rain beating on the windows in the ceiling of Aunt Donna’s house binds us together as we take shelter together as a family. My cousin Bethany, her husband Albert, and their family of four beautiful daughters spend the day with us. They bring life and joy and laughter and happy exhaustion as only children can. They make me miss my own girls. My Grandpa tells me that I’m just like my brother, Josh. (We don’t have too much to say, my brother and I…) My mom’s friend from high school, Karen, takes us out to coffee and I enjoy the easy, relaxing conversation of old friends that has become a part of my heritage.
I love Nashville, with its rolling green yards and weeping willow trees and big, brick houses with no fences. It’s a beautiful place and I am blessed. I have lived my life just a little bit more this weekend.
My hair is really poofy today. Every time I walk by the mirror I catch myself by surprise. What happened? Some people are cursed with flat hair. Not me. I have the poofy hair curse. No matter how much I press it down, it springs back, just like a sponge. When I was in the seventh grade, my nickname was actually sponge-head. When I was in high school, it was triangle-head. I remember once at a choir concert, the girl sitting behind me complained that although my body was only sitting in one seat, my hair took up two and she couldn’t see around my head. When I attempted to get myself into the Air Force Academy and was unable to pass the physical fitness test because I couldn’t do a pull-up, another friend suggested that maybe my hair was too heavy. The good news is that a few years after I graduated high school, I decided to graduate from getting perms as well. What was I thinking? So, even though my hair is really poofy today, it is not nearly as poofy as it was in years past. For that, I am thankful. I am also thankful for the cooler weather that Fall is bringing. I am also thankful that I finally thought of something else I could write about.
Here are a few pictures of past poofy hair. One of me and Chris, going to the Prom when we were seventeen (yes, that was the triangle-head year). The other is a few years later, at the height of poofiness with my mom, dad and brothers, right before I decided to stop the perm insanity.
Hey everybody – my dear friend, Carrie, is on the bandwagon! She’s got great family pics and all. Just click on her name to see her blog. I know many of you know her and will want to support her. If you don’t know how to support her, just make comments like “woo hoo” or “yay, carrie” or “rah rah.”
Last night, we went to our first PTA Program of the year at the girls’ school. It was the night for the first graders to perform. They had to dress up like what they want to be when they grow up. Grace was a doctor. She kept the stethoscope in her ears for the duration of the program. From the way the kids were dressed, you may think that about half the class wanted to be a doctor, just like Grace. But, no, they all want to be veterinarians (along with a movie star, a fashion designer, a paleontologist, a monster truck driver and a couple teachers).
Callie was also a part of the program, since she is in the sixth grade special choir. I think they perform at all the PTA programs. It was very surreal for me to see two of my kids up there. One, very little-girlish, dressed up like a doctor with a look of wonder in her eyes. Wasn’t it just yesterday that Callie was that girl? No, it could not have been yesterday, for there she was, right before my eyes with all the other biggest kids in the school. I remember when sixth graders seemed so scary. And now my daughter is one of them. She’s not scary. But she’s my DAUGHTER. Weird.
Speaking of veterinarians, Sadie told me the other day that she has narrowed it down to two choices for what she wants to be when she grows up: either a mommy or a veterinarian. Both excellent choices, I assured her. But if she does decide to become a veterinarian, she is definitely going to be the kind that eats meat, she says.
What does it mean to be a coffee addict? I have exactly one cup in the morning…usually. There are the occasional cups shared over conversation with a friend at other times during the day, but for the most part I have only one cup a day. And for that one cup, I drink alone. But, oh, what that one cup does. I find myself dreaming about it all day long. There are times when I can’t wait to go to bed just so I can wake up and have my cup of coffee. I’m not sure if this shows admirable self-control on my part or unashamed gluttony. And it’s not just the coffee I dream about. It’s the cream (half and half, NOT Coffee-Mate) and sugar (sugar in the raw, thank you very much, NOT white sugar) that appeal to me every bit as much as the steaming, black, liquid caffeine.
Not that I don’t have other good reasons to get up in the morning (which I have gone into in great detail in previous posts), but on the days when it’s hard to remember what they are, it’s good to have coffee to look forward to.
Once I got started, I couldn’t stop. Here are some more soul-searching, earth-shattering, self-revealing, emotion-stirring, sure-to-cause-controversy things that begin with asterisks:
*There are certain Spanish words that are very fun to yell at the top of your lungs at totally random times for no reason whatsoever. Like “recuerdo” for example. Try it: “RECUERDO!!!!” It’s very therapeutic.
*Sometimes, instead of saying “You’re welcome” when somebody thanks me, I like to say “Lawrence.” You know – you’re welcome…welcome…welks…Lawrence Welks…Lawrence.
*I think freckles are great.
*I take great comfort in having at least one really messy space. Like a junk drawer or a closet. Because I’m a grown-up now, it’s all mine and I can be messy if I want to.
*I used to hate exclamation points but they’ve been slowly growing on me. There’s a time and a place for everything, I guess.
*I crave silence almost as much as I crave chocolate.
*I wonder why some people say “I could care less” when what they mean is “I couldn’t care less.” “I could care less” means that they care. If they don’t understand the difference, they should just say “I don’t care.”