Monday, July 23, 2007
A Marvelous Monday
A couple of months ago, the children and I drove to a nature museum nearby and walked through the woods there. We listened to the sounds of creation, watched turtles sunning on logs in a small pond, collected rocks, and watched a lonely bull wander around a small yard. The children approached the bull, and the bull approached the children. Quiet greetings all around. Tentative extension of human hands towards bovine horns. All went well. Then the bull decided that he wanted to take a closer sniff of Daniel's shirt. No harm done. Daniel backed off quickly. That's when I snapped the picture above. The next photo is of his sister's obvious deep concern about her brother's safety. Don't you love her expression???
It is the next photo that makes this a marvelous Monday. This one was taken outside The Inn at Manchester, in Manchester, Vermont, back at the beginning of June. We had just left our college reunion at Williams and drove north to spend one night in our favorite Vermont tourist town. We spent time shopping in the outlet stores, browsing through books, magazines, great bags (I am a bag addict!), and other goodies at The Northshire Bookstore, choosing a pair of earrings at Long Ago and Far Away, the silver shop that was my first stop on this twenty-year journey of collecting silver jewelry, and nibbling on red Australian licorice and chocolate from Mother Myrick's... We got a lot accomplished in 24 hours. Oh yeah, we were surrounded by the Green Mountains of Vermont, the lush rolling lawn next to the Inn, and hosted by a pair of native North Carolinians that have transported Southern Hospitality to VT and now own The Inn. This snapshot captures how we all felt that day in that beautiful place.
These two children of mine, these two marvels who fill my days with laughter, reading, gratitude journaling, card-making, tennis, swimming, baseball, dancing to our iPod music - those two people are what have made this a marvelous Monday. Those smiles, that arm wrapped tenderly around her brother's shoulder, the quiet conversations they have while floating around in the local swimming pool, the time they spend outside playing "wall ball" (whatever that is), riding their bikes, shooting hoops, and hanging out together here at home while Steve and I go out to dinner or to a movie, those are the memories that have made this a marvelous Monday.
Are they perfect children? Absolutely not. Do they sometimes complain about chores, the dinners I prepare, their bedtimes, the assignments they get at the homeschooling table, and having to walk the dog? Certainly.
But they have no idea how unusual it is for a brother and sister, or siblings of any combination, to not have physical fights with each other ever, to not yell or scream at each other, to miss each other whenever one has a sleepover and the other is left at home alone, and to seek each other's company at some point every single day of their lives. They have no idea how wonderful it is for us as parents to know that they will defend each other, that they look out for each other, and that they will encourage each other to follow the rules of our household even when we are not around.
On this marvelous Monday, I played an hour of tennis with my son, starting at 7:30 am. I took the two of them to my mother's house for lunch and watched them swim, play games, and encourage each other as they practiced their newly-learned flip turns at the end of my mother's condo pool. Upon our return home, they played tennis on the driveway, walked the dog, and ate dinner together. The dinner of salad that Kristiana prepared.
Tomorrow may turn out to be a terrible Tuesday, the day that they discover the thrill of sibling rivalry and household hatred. I certainly hope not. In any case, I will continue to celebrate the two little people - that are not so little anymore - that God saw fit to give to me and to Steve to love and teach and train in righteousness until they make their way into and through the great big world out there.