Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Gift

Occasionally one receives a gift from an unlikely source or in an unexpected form.  Yesterday mine came as a fast-moving front, bringing with it earlier-than-predicted rainfall, and ill children.

This autumn has been crazy.  #2 and #4 are both in soccer.  We've had more in the sport at a time in the past, but this year their practices do not overlap.  Someone has soccer every night.  And of course Larry is coaching #2 again, so he is also committed to three 90-minute practices and one 70-minute game per week.  The evenings they are home, I am sitting at practice with #4, who I consider still too young to be dropped off.  Two Tuesdays per month #3 has Activity Day with the 9 year-old girls in our congregation.  Every Wednesday she has guitar lessons.  Wednesday nights #s 1 & 2 have Mutual, our church youth group activities.  One night a week I am supposed to be going on visits as a Ward Missionary.

I'm not listing all of this to earn awe or respect or pity.  Many families I know have crazier schedules than that.  I am listing it to simply complain.  For me, at this point in my life and marriage, I do not like it.  We have fewer family dinners.  Our Family Home Evening gets bumped around and sometimes missed entirely.  Family scripture study is suffering.  Errands requiring more than just myself all get crammed in around Saturday games.  With other stresses we are currently experiencing, I feel only further unsettled and disconnected at a time when I see that consistency and intimacy are just what we all need so desperately.

Yesterday morning my husband informed me that it was supposed to rain  that night.  (He is my sole weather source.)  But the precipitation began around 2:00.  About that time, I came home to a phone message from #3's Activity Day leader.  Sick kids, no activity.  I knew my girl would be disappointed, but I suddenly had an extra hour.  Email from #4s coach:  no practice.  Suddenly we had an entire afternoon and evening!

I've been meaning to get to a local pumpkin stand with Larry's truck for weeks.  They sell pumpkins, hay bales, and cornstalks on the cheap.  Since I had arranged to pick up #s 3 and 4 from school, I decided to take them to get our hay and cornstalks.  With my Suburban.  In the rain.  I think they thought I was nuts.  I loaded two bales into the back, and a cornstalk along three rows of passenger seats, put my cash in the drop box, and made good use of my side mirrors on the way home.  I was soaked and dirty and stinky and downright giddy.  The kids were excitedly chattering about the holidays and the weather.  I wondered aloud if the car would fit down our front walk, shortening the distance I had to carry this wet hay.  I decided not.  I informed the kids that we'd get some cocoa on arrival home, or at least after I'd gotten the hay out of the car because heaven knows I wasn't going to let it sit in there longer than necessary.  #4 replied, "Kevin knows we've got hay in our car?"

We drank our cocoa, arranged our hay, made spaghetti sauce, and had dinner all together.  I vacuumed out the Suburban and coated the back floor with Febreeze.  (The car smells fine now, but the garage still smells like horse manure.  The bales were out of the car before I ever parked it in the garage.  Go figure.)  We listened to the Family Home Evening lesson that #4 had had ready for a week and a half.  We drove to the Boy Scout pumpkin stand and bought pumpkins for carving and some to last through Thanksgiving.  #1 and I even had time to help Larry with some work he's been behind on.  It was a great night.

Today my back is sore, and two of my kids are sick.  So back to the grind.  I guess if every day was such a gift, we wouldn't appreciate them.  And I am still smiling.  

10 fishy comments:

clan of the cave hair said...

lol "kevin knows we've got hay in the car?" That is hilarious...which makes me wonder, who is Kevin, and why is it a concern that Kevin knows about the hay?

Jenn said...

That sounds like a lot of fun. I wish there were random places to get hay bales here. Who knows, maybe there are, and I just don't know it. LOL!

But I'm always grateful for those nights. I got a little testy with the hubby last night when he told me that he has a meeting with some people from the stake tonight at 6. He doesn't even come in from work until 5:45 (BEST case scenario), and has to be at Mutual (with #1) at 7:00, so basically, he'll be gone all night.

I'm particularly annoyed, because it's already a crazy afternoon - #2 has school newspaper at 2:30, #2 & 3 have Activity Day from 3-4:15, and #2 has a piano lesson from 6-7 PM, in addition, so adding MORE to our evening was not on my agenda (pun intended).

The Gibbens said...

Thanks for a much needed dose of perspective... and I'm glad the day was good! ... great!..... and made of memories!

Heatherlyn said...

Your front porch looks fantastic!

It is very difficult as kids get older to have family time. And yet it is possibly the most important, impressionable kind of time in the child's short childhood. It's a real challenge to encourage children with their talents and also have time to encourage these precious family moments! I'm glad your evening turned out well and I hope you find a way to balance ... (then let the rest of us know how that works).

Lara said...

I love it! I had the same thing happen recently, where everything cancelled on the same day and it was wonderful. I am so glad that you were able to have a respite from the craziness and do something wonderful together. Your thoughts on it make me feel like it was a tender mercy and not coincidental.

M-Cat said...

Great post! I think we let ourselves get buys with all really good things, and somehow miss the BEST things.......

It sounds like a delightful afternoon and evening.

Loralee and the gang... said...

Sounds like a great, serrendipitous (sp?!) day!
And the garage smell? Manure on the tires?

Wendyburd1 said...

Your porch looks amazing!!!

SO said...

Love how the porch turned out! And I love how you looked at that time as a gift. I need to do that more often.

I have corn waiting in my garden to be chopped down and made into stalks.

2busy said...

I really grind in my heels when life gets that busy, but it never seems to help. I can totally empathize. God seems to know when we need a break, and sends reminders our way. The rain and even the sickness is a way of slowing us down. Glad you enjoyed your break.