Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Beautiful Things

In honor of Mother's Day (which was now over a week ago), I'd like to tell you why my children are my greatest treasures....

Ethan, my 17-year-old:

  • Is passionate about learning - as long as it's something he's curious about. It doesn't matter how bad his mood may be, all I have to do to turn it around is ask a question about the time and/or space, like "How did they figure out the speed of light anyway?" Ethan's face lights up as he tells me all about what "we" have discovered about the universe so far. I love it when he teaches me things!

    In recent weeks, he's talked of becoming an astrophysicist, which I think is a perfect fit for him except for the 8 years of college. (He only tolerates school.)

    "Would they call me 'doctor'?" he asked. "Dr. Ethan?"

    "Well, probably they'd call you Dr. O," I said. "That would be pretty cool. I'd say, 'Have you met my son, Dr. O? Actually, he really is a rocket scientist. Did I mention he has a PhD?'"

    Ethan beamed, and so did I.

  • Is a talented musician. Did I ever tell you he's the center snare on his high school drum line? Yes, I think I might have mentioned it once or twice. Seriously, he's worked very hard to perfect his skills, and I am one proud mama.
After a drum line performance - Ethan volunteered for the picture!

  • Has a delightful sense of humor. He can always make me laugh, especially when I need it most.

  • Is content with a little. We have a tight budget, and he understands that. He doesn't ask for the expensive clothing brands, and he's thankful for everything I buy him. He says things like, "I don't really need three pairs of jeans. One would be plenty."

  • Looks out for me. Although he grumbles about helping with chores, he takes care of me in the ways that matter. More on that in a moment. 

Allyson, my almost-8-year-old:
  • Loves God with all her heart. It excites me to see a depth in her relationship with God that I didn't find until my thirties.

  • Prays with faith. She trusts the Lord. Period.

  • Loves to learn. She's a thinker, and I'm amazed at the things she knows.

  • Laughs a lot. I know just how to make her laugh, even when she's too tired to open her eyes in the morning. For example, when I tried to take her breakfast order the other morning, her only answer was a sonorous fart. "What was that your bum said?" I asked, tickling her ribs. "I didn't catch that. Was it peanut butter toast?"

    "Mama!" she groaned. But she couldn't help but giggle.

    She makes me feel funny, and that's a good thing because I tend to be way too serious.

  • Is one strong little girl. I've watched her deal with the heartache of divorce with grace, faith, and strength. She is content with her circumstances. She accepts what she can't change, and she finds joy everywhere. I want to be like her when I grow up. 
Mother's Day 2014

A Big Help
Both kids are a big help with chores, whether they like it or not. It was a real struggle teaching them to do dishes a few months back, so much so that I wondered if it was worth the effort. This is one area where they were ridiculously slow (or obstinate) learners. But now they do make my busy life a bit easier.

Allyson loves to cook, especially any recipe that requires getting her hands dirty. Ethan recently had a how-to presentation for speech class, and she saved both our butts. I was tutoring a friend's daughter in algebra that afternoon, so I got a late start on dinner. Ethan was busy making a multimedia presentation about how to make sausage balls, which I found ironic because he's never made a sausage ball in his life.

So Allyson single-handedly mixed up the ingredients and formed the cheesy sausage balls while I simultaneously took pictures of her progress and worked on a dinner that took so long that I had to admit defeat and take the kids to Subway (at 8 p.m. on a school night!). When we returned, Allyson cheerfully made the last batch of sausage balls while I finished what was now tomorrow's dinner and tried to clean up after the explosion in my kitchen. The wonder of it was that I didn't stress over the blobs of raw sausage and cheese that were ground into the floor and stuck to the "stainless" steel refrigerator door. No, I saw this time as the treasure that it was. I was so proud of my girl!

Ethan was a huge help in a very different way, recently. Some of you may recall that I was the last person on earth who didn't have a smart phone. I was determined to keep my old phone with its slide-out keyboard because I DESPISE touchscreens. (I once had a traumatic experience involving a touchscreen and an alarm system, but that's another story.) Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, my beloved slide-out keyboard gave out, and I was reduced to tap-tap-tapping the number pad to respond to the huge volume of texts that I get on a daily basis. After less than a day, I went out phone shopping.

I was pleased when Ethan agreed to go along, but I thought I was just taking him to keep me company. Turns out, he came along because he knew that without his help, I would "pick the wrong phone." He stuck with me through an entire Sunday afternoon, through trips to three phone stores (plus a second trip to one of them) and Walmart. At a glance, he could tell me all about each of the models in the discount cell phone store: "Droid. Droid. Droid. Windows phone; don't get that one."

He waited patiently while I agonized between the Samsung Galaxy and the LG Rhapsody. He persuasively explained why I really should get the Galaxy but then graciously accepted my decision to get the Rhapsody, which was $150 cheaper.

On the way home from Walmart, after I'd decided to return to Metro PCS for the Rhapsody, I stopped by the snow cone stand to treat him. After that quick break, I started to turn toward the house.

"Where are you going?" he asked.

"I thought I'd drop you off. Now that I know what phone I'm buying, I thought you might not want to drive across town again."

"Nah, I'll go along," he said.

I grinned from ear to ear.  "Really?" I didn't even bother to try for a nonchalant tone. My boy wanted to spend time with me!

And it was a good thing he did. When I was checking out, he leaned in and whispered. "Ask her to transfer over your contacts."

"I don't think my old phone can do that," I said.

"Yes it can. Ask her."

And he was right. Within ten minutes, all 244 contacts and all of my pictures were on the new phone. I didn't realize at the time how much I'd appreciate that over the next few weeks. My plan had been to learn to use the touchscreen by manually typing in all my contacts. Ha! I am baaaad with typing on this phone. I think I would have needed medication if I'd had to type all those names and numbers!

When we got home, Ethan reapplied the screen protector, which apparently had bubbles that were too small for my over-40 eyes to notice. And then he changed a bunch of settings to make it (somewhat) easier for me to understand. And then he and Allyson stood over me and showed me how to use my new toy.

Beautiful Things
My young friend Meggie said something in a text yesterday that I don't want to forget. She said that when you love yourself, your heart and soul open up to let in more beautiful things that you treasure. But your heart never fills up; it keeps opening up for more beautiful things to find a home in your heart.

When I read that, my eyes filled with happy tears. That is the perfect description of my life over the last few months. Just about every day, something beautiful happens to me, and I store it up in my heart. Sometimes it feels like my heart is positively overflowing with love and joy. I'm learning to let it splash out on the people around me, which begets more joy.

Life is beautiful. 


Glenn Jackson said...

Wonderful!! Can't wait for the next entry!

Sarah said...

Thank you, Glenn! I've finally posted another entry.


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