That pesky gravity is no match for her problem solving skills.

Wednesday morning I mopped the floors, and later that night I tried a new cookie recipe. The cookies are very yummy, and the entire family has been snacking on them over the past two days. Last night Super L runs into the house all sweaty and breathless from running around the backyard, and she asks if she can have a cookie. Her little hand has already grabbed a cookie from the bowl, and she’s raising it to her mouth as she finishes asking for that which she is about to devour.

“Yes,” I say, “BUT!…” and she stops with her cookie poised in midair waiting to hear the catch, “…take it outside. I just mopped and I don’t want cookie crumbs all over the floor.”

To which she responds, “Okay, Mommy. I’ll hold the cookie upside down so the crumbs won’t fall on the floor.” And she walks out carrying her cookie upside down. Problem solved.

I don’t know if she was referring to the fact that cookies usually feel crumbly on the bottom, or if she thought that if she held the cookie upside down, then gravity would work in reverse. Either way, that’s some impressive problem solving by a 3 year-old.

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Firstborn.

You are growing wiser yet seem to need me more

these days. You are growing shyer–which puzzles me.

Is there something I am missing?

Sometimes I just want to say enough:

Enough with the questions and repetitions of

the same questions, enough with the need for constant–

constant reassurances, enough with the questioning,

enough with the relentless talking, enough with the

need to know it all rightnowthisveryminute.

“Just go with the flow.”

You measure my every reaction–

right down to my facial expressions.

But it is my inactions that disgust you.

Sometimes I think you are nothing like me.

Sometimes I think that you are so much like me that I cringe.

Your perception and intuition are keen and strong–

you notice everything.

Your sensitivity is deep–you feel every single

edge that you hear in my voice, even when

you are not the reason my voice is sharp. My

edges are so pointy, and, Lord help me,

I don’t always know how to soften myself.

I don’t always notice when you are hurting.

I don’t always have the right words within me,

or the right thoughts in my head.

I don’t always know.

I think I owe you an apology because for so long

I have regarded you more as my child instead of

just your beautiful, brilliant self.

I am getting better at that, but it is hard

because you reflect me back to myself and

sometimes I can’t help but react to that

reflection instead of just responding to you.

You who are creative and independent in thought

but insecure in word and deed.

You who are in one moment somber

but in the next singing.

You who are both somehow fickle

yet easy to please.

You who are both a puzzle and mystery

yet so very familiar to me.

I am watching, I am learning, I am growing with you.

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Paralysis of thought.

When she wasn’t where she was supposed to be which was 10 feet to my left, when I had circled around twice, when I retraced my steps again, when the well-meaning employee who stood by the door assured me that she was still in the building, when I circled around for the fourth time, when I began to realize she was NOT in the building, when I stepped outside, when her older sister began to panic, when I could feel my chest tightening, when I had to send her sister back inside to stand with a nice stranger, when my mind began to think words I would never say in her presence, when I could not see her in front of the building, when I could not see her at the side, when I found her standing next to our car, standing next to our car by herself, outside, down the stairs, along the sidewalk, across the parking lot, ACROSS THE PARKING LOT–BY HERSELF, when I saw her and screamed her name, when I saw the look of fear on her face–first of being alone and then upon hearing the shrillness of my voice of being in trouble, when I swooped her up, when I held her sobbing body in my arms, when I got nose-to-nose with her, when I impressed my fear upon her, when she impressed her fear upon me, when I returned for her sister, when I explained the “lost rules” again, when my throat began to unclinch, when my chest stopped hurting, when I began to be aware of the fact that I was in the presence of a few dozen other moms but I was the mom who lost her 3 year-old child, when I calmly took both daughters’ hands in my own untrembling hands, when I crossed the parking lot again and buckled them in, when I pulled out of that parking lot, I did not think about it again.

I did not because I could not. My mind just. would. not. consider:  WHAT IF. That is the only reason I was able to keep breathing. I just hope it stays that way, because I could die a thousand emotional deaths if it starts to move again.

The best that we can do.

After a long summer Saturday, my family and I suddenly found ourselves hungry. It was already 8 p.m. and neither John nor I felt like even making so much as a pot of spaghetti. So we did what any good parents would do, we let McDonalds supply the meal for the girls while John and I upgraded to Quiznos. I had two quick errands , and then the plan was to get the food, eat at home, baths for the girls, and then put in a movie we could all fall asleep watching. Loading up the car with the kids and ourselves proved to be a little chaotic, as we were quickly throwing toys and landscaping paraphenalia into the garage because we knew we wouldn’t want to do it when we got home. Finally, the girls were strapped in, I got behind the wheel, and off we went to Walgreens, Beauty Brands, Quiznos and McDonalds. Round trip should have taken 20 minutes tops because I live in an awesome town.

It all went completely as planned until we got to Quiznos, andJohn discovered that he couldn’t find his wallet. Normally I would assume that he forgot it at home, except that he specifically remembered putting it on top of the car when he strapped Super L in, but did not remember picking it up when he got in the car. Great. So, we got our food and retraced our drive through town, eyes peeled for a wallet. I was certain that it was not on the car when I ran into Walgreens, so I was pretty sure we lost it somewhere before then. By the time we retraced the last leg of our trip, it was twilight–street lights were on. I was praying that he set the wallet down inside the garage but I had visions of the rest of my evening being spent talking to someone in some other country trying to get all our credit cards cancelled and waiting all week for replacements.

When we pulled up to the house, Little Miss G commented that Uncle Matt (my brother) was here. I looked up and indeed he was standing on the front porch. Except as he walked toward our car, I realized it was not my brother. A young man, about my brother’s age, but not him… he looked a little rough around the edges if you know what I mean. A little greasy. His clothes weren’t exactly dirty, but they were clearly very old. He had no teeth, but he was young. You guessed it. In his hands was John’s wallet.

He had found it on the road and walked it to our house. He was very friendly and explained how he found it and looked through it to see if he could find a driver’s licence to return it. Everything was in it’s proper place. Of course, John and I kept repeating our thank yous and saying how much we appreaciate it. I asked him to let me give him something for his kindness, which he accepted, but the little bit of cash that was in my wallet wasn’t much. Not nearly enough.

Not only am I thankful for his kindness, I am exceedingly grateful for the wonderful example that he set for my daughters. You just can’t teach that kind of stuff… well, okay, you can, but you can’t teach the genuine kindness that such an act requires and the genuine gratitude of receiving such kindness. All night, this young man was on my mind. I wished I could do more for him. Then I realized, I can do something for him. So for as long as he is on my mind and in my heart, I will pray for this young man. I don’t know one single thing about him except what he looked like and the integrity and kindness he showed us yesterday. But God knows who he is, where he is, and what he most needs. So I’ve been asking God to bless him in whatever way he needs to most be blessed. And you know, it’s a pleasure to pray in this way. We often pray for blessings for people we know and love. We so often pray for people who are in crisis, who are sick, who are hurting, and it’s a pleasure to do that, too. But how fun to ask my Heavenly Father to just bring goodness into the life of a perfect stranger.To bless him with a season of prosperity, or friendship, or good health, or a Snicker’s bar if that’s what makes him happy.

And I know we’ve all heard these kinds of stories, but it actually hits a lot closer when you are a recipient of the do-gooding. Blessings really do sometimes come from the least likely sources.

On a completely different note, I have a new digital camera!!! Thanks to some very good friends, I was able to puchase one that is waaaayyy more fancy than I expected to get, and it is going to give me the opportunity to learn and try something other than point and shoot. So I’ll sign off with my favorite shot that I’ve taken so far. Hope your Monday brings unexpected blessings.

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