Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Girls' Trip

While the guys stayed home and went to work and school last week, Sarah and I flew to Iowa and spent the week with Rebecca. We arrived on Saturday, which was Rebecca’s birthday. She said since it was her birthday week, she got to have her way all the time. I’m not sure that happened, but I know I had fun.

The first half of the week, we stayed with my mom in Missouri. Mom hadn’t seen the girls for a few years, so I know this was special for her. She’s going through a lot of her stuff, and she found some things to give to the girls—pictures, dishes, quilts, and a wooden sewing cabinet that was her grandmother’s. It’s over a hundred years old, and she said she wanted to give it to her first granddaughter, so it went home with Rebecca.

We got to spend some time with my two brothers who live close to Mom, Rodney and Jim. Jim shared his animals with the girls, including a friendly cat named Thomas, a miniature horse, and baby calves, one just an hour old.

Rodney was funny. He had dinner with us on Sunday, and at the end of the meal he told me how Rebecca ate the last of the lettuce and tomatoes. He said, “I noticed that when she shared with Sarah, she gave her the smallest tomato.” He smiled at Rebecca and said, “I’d have done the same thing.”

On Tuesday the girls went to town for some internet time, and I went with my mom to her quilting group. What a fun group of ladies. They talked about the community, neighbors, politics, happenings in the news, health issues and their kids and grandkids and great grandkids. They teased my mother and my aunt Geraldine about acting like “sisters.” When the girls came back to have lunch with us, the ladies teased them about how they should be giving me some grandchildren. What a wonderful group this is for my mom to be able to share with.

On Wednesday, we drove back to Iowa and spent the rest of the week with Rebecca. We got to go to a volleyball game, where Rebecca is the cheerleader. After a while Rebecca told me, “We lost.” Sarah told me that Rebecca was cheering for ten different teams, and Rebecca said, “We also won.”

The next day we drove to a town with one of the papers Rebecca works on and spent a lot of the day with her friend, the sheriff. Rebecca, the sheriff, and the people in the office joke and poke around at each other a lot. One man stuck his head in the office and said, with a sarcastic edge, that Rebecca is “a slice of Heaven.” They actually all get along well, though, and the sheriff said Rebecca is a good person and has been a help to him.

The sheriff drove us around the county some, to visit his parents, and to see his farm. He asked Rebecca if she wanted to ride his horse. She said, “She doesn’t have anything on,” and he said, “That’s called bareback.” Both girls did ride, and I told him this was a nice thing for my two city girls.

We had lunch with some people from Rebecca’s office; went to her garden where we got some great cherry tomatoes; visited the dog shelter where she volunteers, and got to play with some amazingly friendly dogs. Rebecca’s cat, Millie, was not sure at all she liked having us invade her apartment. She is a great kitty, full of energy, talks a lot, and by Friday, she didn’t bite me every time I touched her.

On Saturday, Rebecca said she needed to have one day where she didn’t go anywhere and do anything. We sat around the house, reading, me crocheting, Sarah looking through Rebecca’s movies, and Rebecca cooking yummy food for us.

We watched a couple movies, and the girls were great to me, stopping them often to let me know what was going on. They’d both seen the movies many times, and could tell me what was coming next and the dialogue even before it happened.

By Saturday night Sarah said, “I want to see the home people. Then go into my room. Well, and take the dog with me.”

Before we went home Sunday, we got to have breakfast with my friend Jessica, who now lives in Iowa too. What a great trip.

I learned a lot about how I can be a better mom to adult children. I need to try not to push the kids so hard about being my buddy, not to pressure them about how to handle their lives, be a person who earns their willingness to share their lives with me. It’s hard, but I hope God will help me grow as the mother I want and need to be to all five of my grown-up children.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Crying Out To Be Gawked At

“Somebody should really wash all this stuff.” That’s a note I remember from almost twenty-eight years ago, when Murray and I lived in our first apartment on Willow Way. I was pawing through the dirty clothes one day and found a braille note left in there for me. Another Day I found a note taped to a light switch saying: “This is art. It’s crying out to be gawked at.”

Over the years, I’ve found many others from Murray, in my lunch and in other more unexpected places. He often wrote out words to songs for me—such as one about how everything that’s happening is happening at the zoo—and other sweetie notes.

When I was working, the kids were smart and knew that the best place to leave a note for me was taped to the coffee pot. That was the first place I’d go in the morning, even before I took a shower. Rebecca often left me notes, usually telling me to wake her up either before or after my shower, depending on how late she had stayed up and how much studying she still needed to do.

A note from Sarah warned me not to go into the girls’ room that morning. They’d been up late the night before, putting their bunk bed together, and it was still sticking out in the middle of the room. That must have been before Murray asked me to stop waking everybody up to say good-bye before I left.

Many of these notes I now find in my Bible, especially Rebecca’s coffee pot notes, because I’d sit down and read my Bible while I drank my coffee. I’d slip the notes into the page I was reading from that day. Now they’re a nice surprise when I read those chapters again. Most of Rebecca’s notes ask me to wake her up, usually with “please!!!” included, sometimes a threat of what she’ll do to me if I don’t wake her up on time. A note from Caleb lets me know he was leaving early for work before any of the rest of us got up, because he was filling in for “a dude.”

I love finding these as I’m reading my Bible, but I know there are many other notes packed away in other places. I look forward to finding them someday, and I don’t think about it often, so it will be a surprise and a joy when I do. And it will always be art, crying out to be gawked at.