Friday, October 4, 2013

The Sneaky Reader and the Hot Job

I have a night owl and an early bird. My sweet girl is a night owl like her parents. She'd stay up all night and sleep late the next day if she could. Falling asleep has always been a bit of a challenge for her. Perhaps that's why she loves to read in bed at night. And she often sneaks in a bit of readingokay, a LOT of readingafter we've given the lights out. So much so, in fact, that I've on occasion discovered her still reading past midnight and had to take her glasses away till morning just so she'd actually get some sleep.

What's most fascinating about her is that if we don't catch her reading exploits, she most always feels the need to confess them. I will often see her padding down the hall toward me well after bedtime, hair mussed from lying on her pillow, a guilty look on her face. Or the next morning after finally dragging herself from slumber, she'll level a serious gaze at me. "Mommy, I read a little bit last night."

Currently, she's working on The Chronicles of Narnia. There are so many worse things she could do than sneak in a bit of C. S. Lewis after bedtime.

Being a night owl, she loves to sleep in next day. She got this honest. And as she's nine now and nearing puberty, I've discovered that she needs to sleep a bit extra. That's a luxury of homeschooling. The day's work waits for them, not the other way around.

Her little brother is a different story. On designated reading nights, I'll often step into their room to tell them it's time to put their books down and go to sleep, only to find him already passed out on his bed, his book shipwrecked at his side.

He's an early bird. In fact, he's the only honest early bird in the family. Some wouldn't consider him very early (approximately 8am), but being a night owl, I do. If they get in bed early enough, most nights we let them have a bit of reading time before lights out.

He's my happy, chatty, sweet and smiley alarm clock.

Two mornings ago he sneaked into my room and crawled into my bed immediately upon wakening, as is his custom, and announced, as is not his custom, "Mommy, I want to be your huggy pillow."

Awesome! I moved the pillow and hugged him close instead. Five seconds later...

"A huggy pillow's job sure is a hot job."

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's it, Mommy

I tutor/teach English at a local homeschool co-op on Mondays. Today my seven-year-old son was a little sick, so he sat in my classroom instead of going to the play room with the other younger siblings. He hunkered down in a chair near where I stood with his nose buried in my iPhone, probably playing Angry Birds Star Wars.

So, I taught the fifth- and sixth-grade girls about nouns and pronouns, then I gave them a sample sentence:

Molly rode the horse.
Then I had students plug in pronouns to replace the nouns. They figured out "she" for the subject, but trying to decide on a pronoun for the direct object "horse" stumped them. One called out "him." I explained that we don't know the gender of the horse, and the horse is not being personified (like in a story with talking animals). I asked again, but nobody answered. Then I glanced down and realized my son had scurried around the podium and was patting my leg.

"Mommy, it's 'it'!" he said in a loud whisper and flashed me a huge smile.

I love that little boy. Being a parent is the most difficult job I've ever had, but I wouldn't give up that boy or his sister for anything.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Shooting Star

I just stepped out of Starbucks, looked up at the twilight sky, and watched a meteor streak from the deep blue canopy of sky above toward the still-warm horizon and vanish. Larger and brighter than any other stars or planets in our night sky, it lasted barely long enough for me to hold my breath. Beautiful.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Royal Flush

A  friend recently posted on Facebook that his daughter's fish had died. She wanted to bury it at the beach, but since they don't live there, he was contemplating whether temporary storage in their freezer might be a solution.

This reminded me of college. My roommate/best friend and I had an aquarium where we kept black mollies and red swordtails. When fish died, she and I held flushing funeralsthe dorm equivalent to a burial at sea.

available under the Creative Commons 
At this time, we lived in an all girls dorm, but our floor had urinals in the bathrooms as well. We always took the newly deceased to a toilet stall, flushed, and gave a sad impression and a farewell to the fish as it swirled around the bowl and made it's final flourish of an exit to the watery abyss beyond the porcelain.

Then one day our male swordtail died, so we decided to be gender correct and use one of the urinals. We emptied our net of the remains, said our peace, and then pulled the silver handle. We expected a long goodbye like our previous experiences with the ladies' bowl, but that fish departed with a liquid equivalent of the Chernobyl blast. A sudden, giant WHOOSH erupted, not unlike the force of an industrial strength pressure washer, and that fish was gone. I mean vanished. We jumped back from the urinal both in shock and to avoid the after-spray of water and scales. We'd been robbed of our peaceful goodbye and startled out of our wits, and as a result we committed the ultimate funeral faux pas--we laughed.

Moral of this story? When in doubt, flush first.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Chips and Salt and Light

© Pontuse | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Have you ever noticed that the chips at the top of the bag are pretty and whole and just about perfect to look at, but the broken chips at the bottom are the saltiest? I think it's the same with people. 

Jesus tells us that we're supposed to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 15:13-16). We get so caught up in wanting to be whole, wanting to look and feel perfect--not flawed and broken and messed up--wanting to hang on to youth, beauty, health. But the truth is that the saltiest individuals are those who've taken that rough trip to bottom of the bag, been beaten up a bit by time and handling. Yes, those painful life experiences and heart wounds really hurt on the way down, but Jesus uses them to give the world a potent taste of His grace.

Just like those last broken bits that leave your fingers coated with salt crystals, those who are saltiest for God's kingdom are those who've been broken.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

When to Let Them Walk Away

© Marilyna | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
As I stood at the sink and washed dishes and listened through the window at the new neighborhood children playing in our front yard today, I heard a few catty comments, saw some stubborn jaws and crossed arms, and heard that fateful "I'm going home" when one girl didn't like the rules of wiffle ball, followed by a stormy exit through the picket fence gate. 

It occurred to me that children learn how to manipulate others at an early age. Seems that walking away is a powerful weapon to wield and a formidable foe to face.

As I reflect on this tonight, my heart for my children is to learn early on when someone is worth pursuing and when to shrug and let them go.