Good Friday and Easter Sunday are perhaps the most significant days of the church calendar, and yet, in a real sense, we live our lives on Saturday, the day in between. Philip Yancey

Saturday, January 14, 2012

December: Hide and Seek with Joy

As if November didn't look like plenty of play distractions, December held even more. It worked and it didn't but was a valiant attempt.

First up: Disney on Ice

This was magical, even though most of the pics ended up as blurry as Sophie below. Oops.

I made it through Thanksgiving just fine but this tore me up. Of all things it was the sea of light-up-spinning-toys surrounding us launched the emotional ambush.

There were very few things that caught and kept Lydia's attention. These toys were on the short list. See, even intriguing enough to make her hold that heavy head up in the torture device known as a stander.

And that's the end of the logic, no sappy thoughts, didn't want her there in the cold room, flooding her diaper and crying through the show. Although cuddling did sound appealing for the little time it would last but I probably would have been other-kid-wrangling instead. As I said, the thoughts didn't keep the emotions stirred, the pain just exploded and I couldn't "talk" myself out of it no matter how hard I tried.

Then Amelia lost her emotional balance for who knows what reason. If it was related to mine she didn't have the insight to express it.

I recovered and all-in-all it was enjoyed. The toys that came home with us are fine now, not triggers. Grief is so strange!

Next: Walk through Bethlehem at Rock Ranch (I get no kick back from them I promise.)
Amelia was still teetering on the behavioural edge of doom.

She even lost both hats she wore that night, many tears followed.

The blacksmith making real nails was the best part in my opinion.

The boys most enjoyed the bus shuttles to and from the parking lot. The girls rode the bus to school with Lydia but I hadn't realized the boys had never ridden one.

I even read to the kids on the way there while they ate their snack supper. Indeed some successful moments were had. Then Jason left with a headache that would last for days due to all the campfires/smoke at each station. Well, we tried it once.

Then: Room Remodel

For my birthday, Christmas, anniversary...we were given new flooring in the room most battle worn from kid wars. While I knew it was a great thing, the inertia to make it happen wasn't in me. When we remodeled the master bath last year it was torturous picking out tiles, fixtures, paint... I just didn't care yet knew I should and would. (My bachelor's was in Interior Design.) This project started out the same but ended very differently. It was as if my aesthetic taste buds had been burned off prior but they started growing back. It felt very good. Jason's mom walked into the final room and commented that she felt like she was back at our first home, attention to detail everywhere. It seems a little creepy to Jason that the framed pictures are mostly of Lydia. That's just because she was the firstborn, not for the purposes of a shrine. I haven't printed much of anything in years! It's on my to-do list.

After we cleared the room in preparation for the flooring guys the rippled, poorly applied wallpaper begged to come down. If I must admit it, working together to strip the walls was the best family interaction of the month.

Teamwork is invaluable.

In case you don't recognize him, this is Al the Trash man. He was so diligent at his most important job, carried out once again in his brother's tight pajamas.

They even insisted I take a picture of my work crew after our painting the next day?!?! They usually run and duck from my lens, kind of like Josiah here. Alright the earth was still on it's axis.

Next Stop: Sophie Ice Skating

Sophie has been asking to ice skate for literally years. It's a girlie movie thing. Considering that my ankle is still whimpering at the work-load of wearing heeled boots since my injury months ago I figured it would be smarter to ask our church friend/local skating expert to be the steady guide.

Sophie admitted that skating was much harder than it looked and was disappointed that the first lesson didn't involve twirling. She loved it though and didn't want much help. Look for the long denim legs with the orange jacket starting off on the far left side.

It wasn't long before Sophie started offering her "steady" expertise to other struggling skaters. I would say strangers but she is the poster child for "Doesn't know a stranger".

Christmas Play

We had a cow, donkey and angel. They were sweet, less fodder than last year when Sophie was a sheep. Think about it for a second. For once we were glad Amelia snuck gum up on stage as the mouth movement made it look like she might be singing a little.

New floors meant new room arrangements, which meant moving and tuning the piano. Moving it to a central room of the house has prompted much more playing. I love having piano back into our soundtrack of life. Having grown up the daughter of a piano teacher and church accompanist, it must seem obvious that an element of home instantly reappeared with the sound but it surprised me. I caught my breath as the tuner showcased his efforts with some beautiful playing.

Nana and Sophie took the next turn at the piano.
(in the newly finished room, complete with headless wise man awaiting surgical glue)

Then more magic happened as family arrived for an early Christmas celebration. It was the first big extended family gathering since the funeral and my heart was eager!

The day of their arrival really did feel more joyous and complete than any in a long time: tidied house sparkling with Christmas decor, hymns sing-a-long (a prelude to worshiping together in church the next day with the special Christmas music), comfort food at a table with all the leaves in place and seats occupied, cousins playing, and love abounding.

It was as if my emotions couldn't take that much delight without a crashing. I slipped into bed that night busting at the seams thrilled. Then spontaneous, mindless, painful weeping overtook me. Jason patted me on the back and rolled over to resume his sleep. Poor guy, do you think the past year and a half of my emotions excuse him from double-dose-drama when both girls hit puberty in a few years? Yeah I didn't think so either.

It was a touchy dance of joy and grief for the rest of the days together, so thankful it was happening but just not enough wholeness to respond consistently as I desperately wanted to. It happened though, a fullness of beauty and joy that I wasn't sure was still possible again this side of heaven, with such an acute awareness of this world's brokenness. I wasn't able to move in but I loved my visit, left a toothbrush there for next time and cherish the news that it is near.

Big joy was found!

I know, oh so know, the truth of the matter:
“There is a thirst for happiness in the soul of man, but there is a drought in all things but in God.”

— Edward Griffin

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