Blessings are not hard to come by, especially in times of turmoil, but it often takes me a while to discover them. And sometimes when I do, I feel conflicted. As though I ought to be angry or frustrated or hurt like some of the people around me. In solidarity. But instead I can’t stop smiling because I feel like I’ve unlocked some hidden door that lets out light and warmth shining toward me.
With book reviews, visits from family, and birthday celebrations.
We had a houseful over Thanksgiving and it was pure joy to watch my girls play with their cousins in the snow. The two-year-old twins got to experience their first glimpse of the white stuff along with their family’s puppy and my girls and CB were only too happy to introduce them to snow angels, snowballs, rolling in the snow and hot chocolate to warm up afterward. The house was full of noise and a clutter of dishes and coffee mugs, snow boots, jackets, board games and truly creative Lego creations and I was sad to see it end, but exhausted and ready for a break. At least until we do it all over again in four weeks.
My mom came up this weekend to help us celebrate Eve’s birthday, a tradition she started eleven years ago when the little monkey was born. Capitalizing on the tween girl attraction to everything shopping mall, I created a scavenger hunt for Eve and her friends that had them sleuthing through stores to find things like the ugliest pair of shoes, a sweater they all would wear, something with more than ten buttons, Hannukah decorations, etc. They were armed with digital cameras and had to snap photos of each of the items on their list and they only got kicked out of one store for taking a picture of “copyrighted information.” I’m pretty sure that they weren’t trying to re-create the stinky perfume they were photographing…
The final item on the list was to find a gift for a child in need to put underneath the giving tree at Lola’s school. Bubba and I gave each team some cash and it was so sweet to watch them pick up the toys that they used to covet not so long ago and all talk at once, lobbying for the gift they wanted to choose. They made excellent budgeting decisions and were sure to pick things that, as Eve put it, “kids really want, not NEED.” We finished off the evening gorging ourselves on Thai food and hot fudge sundaes and the girls played tag and hide and seek until they finally fell into sleeping bags around midnight. I’m certain that every year I think Eve is at my favorite age, but the rapid chameleon shifts from child to young woman that take place before my eyes are so miraculous. One moment they are rolling their eyes at the grown-ups tailing them in the mall, insisting that they’re old enough to be left alone, and the next minute, they’re oohing and aahing over a cute stuffed animal in the shop window. They chatter about how cute some celebrity boy is and then pretend-vomit as they catch sight of lacy underwear in the store, wondering who in the world would wear something like that!
Have I mentioned that Lola is unusually perceptive? Among her most unique senses is the extraordinary sense of smell she has, which is often a trial to her. She can smell things most human beings can’t and she has a wonderful way of describing them to me – the mere mortal who doesn’t possess this ability.