Saturday, June 12, 2010

They're Not My Ideas

I woke up to Mail Day. This is not an event wherein I receive any mail, but a Day that was pronounced to be so by my son before bed last night, who then pledged to write an individual letter to everyone who is out of the country right now, which then turned into nearly everyone he knows.

There is something particularly sweet about those first attempts at spelling and sentence structure. I wish I could save all the little notes and scraps of writing from these upstart days, but that would require filing cabinets and closet space or something... none of which I have.

Today was another good day, which keeps surprising and blessing me all at once. It wasn't without it's problems, but they were not the kind that wore my nerves raw or made me feel like quitting (which you can't do by the way). These three weeks without Daddy around I have small goals that are something like: avoid turning on the T.V. until 4pm, keep the house mildly clean so it doesn't drive you crazy, get the kids outside as much as possible, and give them something new or different each day to look forward to. So far, this plan seems to be working.

As a child, my brothers and sisters and I would join our cousins every summer for a week of Grandma Camp. My Grandma was full of fun and creative, but quite simple ideas that made our time so special and something we always looked forward to. One of her standby's was a special Lunch Under the Table. She had fun toothpicks that we ate healthy finger foods with and she always cut our sandwiches into fancy little triangles. Who would have thought such a small thing could make such an impact in the mind of a child. But I know it stuck with all of us, her grandkids. There were many other special things as well but the principle that sticks with me is to change something normal, even if it's in a small way- to make it something delightful.

I'll readily admit I did not do toothpicks or triangles today. Some things seem pointless at this stage when that Blue-Eyed Girl is always toppling things over or grabbing things she shouldn't. She does love to eat cherries though... pops them straight in her mouth and swallows, pits and all. Sometimes that makes her sit still. But I knew there would be lots of crawling over laps and grabbing at sandwiches, knocking over drinks, etc. so I didn't make the effort to cut things into fancy shapes or anything. It didn't matter. They still though it was great.

We ended the day with a couple chapters from Little House on the Prairie, which prompted some pretty interesting discussions about Manifest Destiny (they didn't call it that). All Curls cares about is whether or not the Indians would play with us like our friends if they were here, but the older one has more serious questions stewing in his brain.

Who was there first, the Indians or the White People (as they're called in the book)? And if the Indians were there first, are they good or bad... don't they kill people? Which then led to questions about the men we saw arguing quite violently outside the grocery store today. You see arguments of that nature much more frequently here than I ever did in the U.S. But there is an element of not losing face here that seems to be a heavy factor. You can imagine me trying to explain those cultural differences, while not discounting our moral responsibility, to my five year old. He's the oldest person I've had a conversation with in days, can you blame me?

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