Friday, March 23, 2012

Our dancing bees

The front of our house is bordered by these bushes that attract an unseemly amount of bees each year when spring comes along. Coming in and out of the house is a mad dash to try to bypass the buzzing creatures. I cannot stand them. I know they do good work. I appreciate the hard work. I love honey. But I do not like bees one bit. This is where my 3 year old and I differ. He informed me today that he loves bees. He will stand at the storm door and watch them buzz about for long stretches of time. He will mosey past the bee laden bushes with a huge smile on his face, totally unafraid.

Today, I was busy doing some things around the house and I heard Charlie playing his keyboard. He had put it on the "demo" setting and had turned the volume all the way up. I wondered what in the world he was doing. I heard the storm door creak open and I walked to the front door. He was standing in the doorway, on the front stoop (where the bees like to congregate), just letting his keyboard play as loud as it could. I said, "Charlie, what are you doing?" He looked at me and said, "The bees are dancing. They like this song." It was like he knew a secret that I didn't. He was totally serious. Ah, I love that kid. I swear he says something so sweet it makes my soul smile every single day.

I am so blessed. And my bees are the happiest, danciest bees on the block.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ah, Spring...

Yesterday I looked outside my kitchen window and noticed that the two trees in my back yard were almost in full bloom. I'm not too sure what they are, some breed of cherry tree, but regardless of their name, they are beautiful! They are a welcomed reminder that spring is on its way.

The days are starting to stretch out longer... The kids are playing outside until dinnertime... The trees and flowers are blooming. Ah, spring. :-)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hard questions and lessons learned

I've been MIA lately, and I'm so sorry. It's been an odd winter here. Life has seemed scattered and unorganized, and so many questions have popped up for which I don't have answers. And, as a mom, aren't you always supposed to have answers?

I thought it hard enough that my fourth grader's math lessons had exceeded my knowledge, and I had reverted to the age-old saying, "Go ask your father." (Hey, I'm a word girl, not a number girl.) But this winter the questions became so much more profound than math. Too profound for this mom. So I just had to admit that no one, not even Daddy, had answers.

This past December, my oldest boys lost a school mate who died suddenly in an accident. The questions that followed were all too predictable, but I was unprepared. "Why?" There are no answers or explanations for that question. It's beyond me. So, my children were faced with the reality this winter that they were mortal. A little bit of their innocence was taken away when that poor child died. They barely knew her, but they were so strongly impacted by her passing. My oldest son still talks about her. He worries for her family. He knows now that we all have expiration dates ... some much much too short. It's a lesson I had hoped we could avoid. And so I struggle with the "Why?" just as much as he does. It's so unfair.

Two days ago I read about the passing of Britain's Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin. The journalist in me mourned the loss of a fearless reporter. She had just been interviewed on CNN a day earlier, and I was eager to see her last report. The report warned that it had disturbing images, but the journalist in me didn't care. War is disturbing. But I was unprepared for what I saw. Colvin reported on a toddler who had been injured in an attack. She was in the make-shift hospital when the child was brought in. The cameras captured the 2-year-old's last few breaths. And I wept as I watched. Oliver's question "Why?" still haunts me. Why in the world?

That same day a dear friend of mine mourned the loss of a family friend's young child who had died as the result of a brain tumor. Those parents grapple with the same questions.

I don't know why such horrible things happen. I know as a mother I mourn for these children because my heart breaks for their mothers who will never fill that void, no matter how many prayers or kind words are sent their way. My heart breaks for my children whom I can no longer shield from bad things. It makes me almost feel helpless.

But, as a mother, helpless is not an option. So I hug my children a little tighter every day, about a dozen times more than I used to. I don't let them walk out of that door without telling them I love them. I find the extraordinary in the ordinary moments.

Just yesterday, Charlie (who's 3) and I went outside to play. It was an unseasonably warm 75-degree February day. But the wind was so strong. As Pooh would say, it was a "blustery day." The minute we stepped foot outside, Charlie heard the rustling of our tall trees that have refused to relinquish their withered leaves. He smiled so big and said, "Mommy! The trees are talking to me. They're saying, 'Hello, Charlie!'" Normally I would have just smiled and forgotten such a small, sweet moment. But how can I now? Every time I hear the wind from now on, I will hear it saying hello to Charlie. I will treasure these small moments because the tragedies of this winter have showed me how important these moments are. They define the life of a mom. And I'm so thankful for them.