As of this week, half our children are wearing glasses. Alex joined the club on Monday afternoon. It took a few hours for me to get used to the look, but now I really like what they do for his face. It took him a few days to get accustomed to keeping them on, too, but we seem to be over that hump now.
Julianna also got new glasses. She’s been wearing them since she was, I don’t know, three?–and we always had to have cables on them to keep her from taking them off.
When she was little, the ends of the cables wrapped her entire ear and stuck out the bottom. Not anymore. Lately she’s been conveniently losing them, and I thought maybe those cables were getting uncomfortable. She seems much happier with her cool big-girl glasses.
In the past week we have had two special guests for dinner. A week ago we hosted one of our diocesan seminarians (happy birthday, G.!), and then on Monday a priest from the Ivory Coast whom we’ve known for years, but only in the summertime. He comes almost every year to cover our pastor’s month-long vacation. It’s hard for the kids to appreciate what an opportunity it is to have someone with such a different background at the dinner table. We tried to involve them in the conversation by getting out the globe and showing them all the places Fr. E. talked about. We have a lot of international priests come through town because of an exchange program at the university, and I love that the kids have at least the potential to find out what life and the Church are like in other parts of the world. It will be interesting to see what they remember when they grow up. (Probably nothing; these conversations are way over their head. But hopefully they’ll at least come away with an appreciation for the diversity of the human experience, and how good we have it.)
One of the writing projects I’ve been working on since coming home from NPM is finishing up a set of flute duets for a friend who asked me to write them for her faculty recital. Last night I went to play through them and see how they worked with another flute friend, who was having her sizeable studio play at a local retirement community. It was fun to play together, but even more I was floored by how awesome this particular friend is. Most of us tend to think we can’t do service to the elderly or the underprivileged because hey, we’re just _____s, after all. I mean, how could a music teacher pull off service? Well, she’s managed to do tremendous things–fundraisers, volunteer performances–and I feel privileged to know someone with such a heart for service and a creative mind to figure out how to use the gifts she’s been given.
Julianna came with me last night to listen to the students perform as well as her mommy. When we emerged from the stairwell into the common area, the gathered residents lit up and started waving at her. Lately Julianna has been a little slow to warm up to people, especially the elderly, so all I could coax out of her was a big smile and a wave.
For some reason, on the way home I got to thinking about the epic summer vacations I used to take with my grandparents and my parents. They were RV vacations and they lasted two to three weeks. I took probably five–no, six of those vacations by the time I graduated high school–two headed east and the rest headed for the west coast. Grandpa used to have us up in the cab with him, taking turns “navigating” but in reality learning to read a map. It was a big privilege because let’s face it, that was the only part of the camper that was air conditioned.
That got me thinking about watching my parents plan their trips. They spread maps out on the kitchen table and drew marker lines once they figured it out. They planned everything so carefully. This is a lost art in the age of phone-based GPS, I’m afraid. There’s a lot to like about not having all that paper to fold and unfold, but there’s something about looking at the whole thing that gives you a sense of space and distance that is missing on tiny screens. I have to close my eyes and envision something bigger to feel like I really know the whole picture.
And now, just for fun: a farm story in two pictures: my childhood relationship with chickens.
Did I shock you? Sorry. I’m a farm girl.