Monday, September 24, 2007

Is There Something We Should Know?

During last night's bedtime prayers, Whistle prayed for everyone in the family by name, just like usual, and then added, "and help C. and E. be safe, and not say bad words."

Good Game, Good Game!

Saturday was Whistle's first soccer game. Two practices - and suddenly it's game day. It was an adventure for sure. There are 3 boys and 2 girls on The Gray Team. One of the boys discovered his 'girlfriend' was on The Purple Team, so he said he'd steal from everyone except her! When she realized he was there, she ran to hug him, but he was all about the game, and wouldn't have anything to do with the hugging at that point. Playing 3 on 3 soccer - they were a mass of moving bodies and feet - staying in a tight clump up and down (and ON) the field. There were some reminders about which goal to kick toward, and forgetting that there is an out of bounds line. It was so much fun to watch! As for Whistle - he had a hard time staying on his feet, and practiced at home yesterday by playing basketball without rolling on the floor. He hasn't played team games before, so I think he was surprised about the game going on without him if he's on the grass! One of the boys had a good understanding of the game, and was intent on scoring. He also has a cast on his arm - his third broken bone. (Do you suppose he's a risk taker?) One of the girls tired easily, and wanted to take extra breaks. They all liked drink breaks, and loved the after-game juice drinks and snacks. Whistle was disappointed that HE didn't make a goal, and has yet to learn about helping the TEAM make goals. At this age, they don't keep score - so it's all for fun. He's anxious to play again this week, and wanted to know if they get to line up for "High Five / Good Game" again. He was excited about that part even before the first game. That must be what makes him a real athlete!

For a fun read about the female (magic glitter) side of kids' soccer, see what Amber Ferrell has to say HERE, HERE, HERE, and , and check out her great photos and photo blog while you're there.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Whistle says . . .

This afternoon:
Whistle: Do you know what I'm doing?
Teenager: What?
Whistle: I'm giving mom a Gentle Hug.
Teenager: That's nice.

Whistle (from his bed in the bedroom): Mom?
Other Mother: What?
Whistle: Come here.
Other Mother: Why?
Whistle: I need you.
I need something to sleep with.
Mom (in Whistle's bedroom): How about . . . . a dinosaur?
Whistle: How about . . . . Clifford?
Mom: Oh - Clifford. This week is "C"! C is for Clifford!
Whistle: (Smiles, and hugs Clifford)
Mom: Good night Whistle, Good Night Clifford. (leaves room)
(As mom walks down the hall)
Whistle: Mom?
Mom: What?
Whistle: Good-night.
Mom: Good-night.
(long pause)
Whistle: Mom?
Mom: What?
Whistle: I Love You!


Why I Like Fall

It's coming, it's coming, it's almost here. . . I can feel it in the air!

1. Sleeping in the fresh night air, with windows open after weeks of air conditioning.

2. Pumpkins, butternut squash, acorn squash, and gourds.

3. High school football.

4. Watching the tree near our old house, which changes colors from the tips of the branches to the center, making it look like fireworks in the sky, with balls of fire at the tips.

5. Planting mums in front of the church sign.

6. Needing a jacket on the way to school in the mornings, and shedding it before the morning is over.

7. Fall yard decorations: bales of straw; mums; pumpkins, winter squash, gourds; and scarecrows.

8. Walking in the yard, with leaves crunching under my feet.

9. Raking up a big pile of leaves, for the sole purpose of playing with Whistle and Teenager in them.

10. The first day you realize it's time to make soup or stew.

11. Pumpkin pie.

12. The Pumpkin Festival

Friday, September 7, 2007

Do We REALLY Want That Award?

Yesterday, Father and I drove to St. Louis for an appointment for Whistle. We were consulting with a new pediatric GI, in hopes that he and the feeding team that work with him could help Whistle tolerate his g tube feeds better, and move toward more oral feeding (a long process that deserves its own post another day). Father took the day off work to go along, and we left with extra time for excursions. We had a leisurely breakfast on the way, and shopped for slacks and jeans at an outlet mall. After our afternoon appointment, we drove home the scenic way, with plans to stop at our favorite meat store, Swiss Meat and Sausage Co. Swiss Meat Co. is in the area of Hermann, MO, a well-known settlement of folks with German ancestry, and famous wine producing area. It was getting late in the afternoon, and we began to realize we might not make it before their closing time. Without realizing it, as we left the town of Hermann, Father apparently was hurrying a little too much, and the local traffic law enforcer stopped us.

This officer was very nice, and very patient, as we hunted to locate our insurance verification in the glove compartment. When we finally located it, he asked us to wait for a moment, while he went back to his car. Whistle got all excited, and happily said, "Daddy!! You might get a CERTIFICATE for WAITING!!" He brought a lot of joy to what could have been a nerve wracking event -- after all, we were already running late, and now we were waiting for our certificate!! We would have laughed really hard (and later we DID), but we didn't want to do anything to distress our friendly policeman! In the end, he was compassionate enough to just ask Father to slow down, and watch the signs more closely, and we were on our way. We arrived at the meat company after their closing time, but there were still shoppers inside, and they welcomed us in.

Swiss Meats is not on the way to ANYWHERE, but well worth the trip if you're anywhere in the area. We recommend it!

Invisible Builders

The following writing was sent to me by a friend. I enjoyed it, appreciated it, and hope you do too!

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going . she's going . she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers (fathers), we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women(men).