Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Significant Turn on the Wheel of Life

Today my sweet little two-year-old daughter brought me a flower for the first time.

I was sitting outside at the picnic table, preparing green beans from the garden for our supper, when Moriah came up to me with something in her outstretched hand that she wanted me to take.  It was a tiny yellow flower that she had found in our yard and picked for me.
Now I'm no stranger to receiving hand-picked bouquets of wildflowers (otherwise known as weeds) ;-), but this was the first time my daughter had ever done that, and it touched my heart.
 The itsy-bitsy flower she found was dwarfed by the dandelions that Tobin and David gave me...
...but I don't think the love behind the action was any less.  ;-)


On the very same day I received my first flower from my little girl, my dad received a phone call from the Alzheimer's unit at the nursing home where my mom has been on the waiting list for about 6 or 7 months.  A room will be available soon for her.

To place such a dear loved one into the care of others is an excruciating step to take, but sometimes it seems to be the only thing to do.


As I rejoice in the passing of time in my daughter's life that leads to greater maturity for her and greater depth in our relationship, I lament the passing of time in my mother's life that leads her further away from me.  Wasn't it just a few years ago that I was a little girl, picking flowers from this yard to give to my beloved mother?

Oh, wheel of life, if only your turning could solely serve to heighten joy and never to bring grief!

What's Coming down the Pike

I've been working on a post about a very special event that happened recently, but every night when I sit down to blog, thinking that surely I'll be able to finish it that night, the minutes race by; and as my mind begins to slow as sleep beckons, I realize that yet again, I'll have to leave it unfinished.  Maybe tomorrow I'll complete it...   *yawn*

But here's a taste of what's to come!  :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Thoughts after a Sunday Evening Singing

At least a few members of the Fisher family have decided that we should become Old Order Mennonite.  You see, our next-door neighbors held a "singing" tonight for the young people of their Old Order Mennonite church (the young people's group has 60+ people in it); and the boys were so impressed by it (at least, by the glimpses of it that we saw across the lawn--not that we were peeking or anything)  that they thought we might do well to become them. 
It really was quite a sight to see--and hear. I felt like I had stepped back in time, maybe to the days of Almanzo Wilder and Laura Ingalls as they drove across the prairie in a buggy to singing school. These are some of the things that stood out to me about this evening...
~ seeing a row of buggies tied to the hitching rack by our neighbor's machine shop,
~ watching the young ladies cluster together in their pretty dresses,
~ watching the young men stride energetically down the hill toward the house,
~ hearing loud bursts of laughter occasionally ring out from across the lane,
~ sitting on our swing with all my children around me, with a pint of frozen blueberries to have as a snack as we listened to the singing begin,
~ watching Jeff and Jed run across the lawn together,
~ seeing the young people pour forth from the house after the first hour of singing was over (they sing for an hour, then have a break for half an hour, then sing for another hour),
~ going back outside after my kids were in bed so I could hear the music again,
~ feeling my heart soar as I heard songs like "Love Lifted Me" and "Send the Light" and "In the Sweet By and By" roll through the night air in rich harmony,
~ going inside to see if anyone was still awake and wanted to come outside with me--David was, and he was glad to get up and come with me,
~ sitting down on the front porch steps with one of my treasured sons,
~ talking to him in whispers so we could still hear the glorious music,
~ smiling to myself as I heard the Old Order accent come through loud and clear in their singing. 
~ seeing various groups of people coming and going through the back door of my neighbor, illuminated by an outdoor light above their picnic table,
~ watching an amazing display of lightning in the distance, some of which was blurred by clouds but some of which we could see clearly,
~ noticing that the sky to the north was covered with clouds, but directly overhead there was nothing obscuring the stars, and they shone beautifully,
~ looking around our neighborhood, seeing lights in the windows of the various houses, and thanking God for the joy of living right here in this spot,
~ giving David a big hug, then sending him back inside to go to bed,
~ hearing horses in the darkness,
~ watching the red lights of buggies begin to make their way toward their respective homes,
~ noticing the beauty of the weeds (yes, weeds) that grow profusely in our front flowerbed as the light from our floodlight shone on their wispy blossoms, especially when the wind picked up in intensity (we were under a tornado watch, after all) and the blossoms floated through the air,
~ seeing a bat swoop down, hopefully to consume a pesky bug (or two or a thousand) ,
~ looking across the yard to see a line of young men and a line of young women, and imagining the conversations and thoughts that might be taking place as they (some of them) pair up for the ride home (ah, young love!) ,
~ looking up to see that enough clouds had rolled in to obliterate all the stars I could see a short while before,
~ peeking out our window at 12:15 a.m. and seeing some people still standing around my neighbor's back door! 
I know it's a lot of work to host a singing like this, and we've watched our neighbors be extra busy during this past week of preparation and have enjoyed hearing about all the steps of getting ready. I wouldn't want Douglas and Wilma to feel any pressure to host another one anytime soon, but at the same time...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Perks of Having a Girl

(One of the perks, anyway...)

When you dress her up, you can put those frilly little socks and fancy black shoes on her...
 ...those socks and shoes that you've been eyeing for years but have never had a need for.  Until now.

Of course, there are so many more joys that come from being blessed with a daughter; and almost all of them are quite a bit more significant than the matter of footwear.  ;-)  But still, maybe those socks and shoes, simple as they are, are a symbol...
...of all the perks of having a girl.  :)

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Broken Bone and a Baseball Game

It was only a matter of time.  Having been parents for 12 years and having added 5 children to the family in that time, we knew that it was almost certain to happen sometime:  a broken bone.  Sure enough, it did.  :(

The injury actually occurred two days ago, and this is what happened...

One of the gifts we gave Josiah for his birthday in June was a set of roller blades.  He'd never learned to roller blade before, but he had done some roller skating at a rink here in town.  I figured that owning a pair of roller blades would be just what he needed to get really good at it, and then future skate parties would be lots of fun for him.  Plus, it's great exercise!

Well, he had used the roller blades a little bit since his birthday; but really, life had been so busy that he hadn't had much time to practice.  Our schedule was lighter this week, however, and should continue to be more open until the end of the summer, so on Tuesday I gave him a little pep talk about what all he could use his remaining weeks of summer to accomplish--one of which was to practice roller blading.

Wednesday morning, he donned the roller blades and began to skate around our living room and kitchen.  Of course, once he got fairly comfortable with that, it was time for a new challenge, so I suggested that he could use some of our outdoor space to practice (without getting carried away and zooming down the driveway towards the road!).  He started to go down the steps toward the garage to go out that way, but then didn't feel comfortable with those stairs, so he headed out the front door so he could get to the grass and then get to the top part of our driveway.  But before he reached the grass, he had to navigate two steps on the concrete sidewalk.

This is the part where, if I could, I would turn back the hands of time and do things differently to avoid what happened next.

He fell.

I was in the house when it happened; but apparently his feet slipped out from under him, he sat down hard, and most of his weight went into his left wrist which instinctively reached down to break his fall.  From the sound of his cries, I knew something major had happened; and as I rushed to him, I sent David down the hill to my parents' house to ask my dad to come and check on Josiah.  He did, of course; but from his examination, he concluded that he didn't think it was broken and that it would be sufficient to take steps here at home to care for the arm.  So we iced it, wrapped it, and kept it elevated, and we gave Josiah medicine for the pain.

Then we waited, and Dad very faithfully inquired as to how Josiah was doing.

The rest of Wednesday and all of Thursday, Josiah reported that the pain was significantly less than it had been at first; and we kept him on Tylenol or Ibuprofen, but it didn't seem like the arm was too injured.  However, this morning, Dad checked it again and noticed that when he applied pressure to certain places on Josiah's arm, it hurt him worse than it had on Wednesday right after the fall!  That was alarming enough to Dad that he recommended that we take him in for an x-ray...

...an x-ray that showed a break in both the radius and the ulna, the two bones in the forearm.  They were impact fractures, the doctor said as she showed me the x-rays; and the good news is that they weren't displaced but had stayed aligned very well.  However, the arm did need to have a splint and a sling put on it today and will need to be put in a hard cast the beginning of next week.

Guilt assailed me, as it has so many times since it happened.  I had to ask her: "Did we do wrong by waiting til now to have it x-rayed?"

"No," she kindly assured me. "Sometimes you just have to wait it out and see how it does.  There was no damage because of the delay."

Whew!  At least I can cross one thing off my Regret List!

However, other items remain.  For example...
~ Maybe I shouldn't have gotten him roller blades for his birthday.
~ Maybe I shouldn't have had that talk to encourage him to spend some time getting good at roller blading.
~ Maybe I shouldn't have suggested that he was ready to go outside to do it.
~ Maybe Certainly I should have thought about the difficulty of getting down the front steps and should have gone with him to help him!

The other part of my brain argues for my defense...
~ It could have happened anytime and anywhere.  Jeff fell, when he was a little boy, while running through his house; and he broke his arm just from that.  Josiah's cousin fell off the couch and broke his collarbone.  You don't have to be doing something risky to break a bone.
~ Breaking a bone is not the end of the world.  Lots of people do it (although I never have--maybe because of that, I'm feeling especially bad about Josiah's predicament), and they recover just fine.
~ The way bones can heal is just one of the amazing things about the way God created us!

But to tell you the truth, I still feel so very badly about it and wish it had never happened.

Despite my sorrow, I do realize that it could have happened at much worse times.  For example, wouldn't it have been terrible if it had occurred right before the children's choir tour in June?  Or what if it had happened before Josiah's pottery class?  He wouldn't have been able to make pottery with just one hand.  Or what about his fencing class?  He wouldn't have been able to run fast and participate freely in all their games and activities, if we had been worried about further injury to his arm.  This window of (mostly) unscheduled time here towards the end of our summer break is actually a decent time in which to recover from a broken wrist.

However, it does eliminate swimming, I'm not sure when he'll be able to resume violin lessons in the fall (almost certainly not by the time he was planning to), and those piano lessons I thought I would give him this summer?  Well, that's not going to happen!  :(

Josiah's been a trooper through it all--not complaining, gamely learning to do many things one-handed, and discussing with David which cast color would be the best one to choose.  I am so grateful for his easy-going, adaptable, forgiving spirit!

I haven't taken any pictures yet that specifically show his arm with its splint; but after he gets his cast, I'm likely to do just that.  For now, however, you can get a glimpse of it in these pictures from a much happier event that occurred tonight--a local baseball game!  :)

The boys won free tickets to it through their participation in the library's summer reading program; and, not having anything on the calendar for this evening, we seized this opportunity to go.  Besides, it was a perfect July evening--not too hot, not too humid, just right for a night at the ballpark.  :)

 A bonus was that we happened to see a few friends there, one of whom was Dale (whose face you might perhaps recognize, since he and his family have been a wonderful part of our Christmas celebration several times).

 An unexpected part of the evening was when our boys were chosen to participate in some of the extra activities that were held between innings.  David, for example...
 ...was picked to be in a costume running race.
 Whichever costume won the race--whether hotdog, french fries, or cheeseburger...
 ...would be given that item for free at the concession stand.

 They're off!

 It was such a close race between David in the hotdog costume and another boy in the fries one that it was officially declared a tie...
 ...and they both got to get a free item from the food booth.  :)
During the next inning, we pretty much completely ignored the baseball game and spent the whole time chatting with these young people who were in charge of these extra activities.
 Shav, in particular, had quite the conversation with this guy.
 And then it was Shav, Tobin, and Josiah's turn to compete...
 ...but instead of a foot race, they raced to see who could finish drinking a smoothie first!
 The winner would be given a $5 gift card to Smoothie King (that's the kind of prize I would like to win!).  :)

 The signal was given...
 ...they started drinking...
 ...and Tobin finished first!  :)
 He held onto that gift card all the rest of the evening and would not let me put it "somewhere safe" for him.  I think he was pretty proud of his accomplishment.  :)
 We ended up leaving before the game was over, since we had little ones to get home and put to bed.
 But as we walked out, I paused to snap a couple more pictures.
Ah, baseball!  The quintessential American summer sport!  :)