The Adoration of the Christ Child

The Adoration of the Christ Child
See if you can spot why I like this image

Everything in its Right Place

A blog about disability, life, parenting, and learning what it means to live well in this world.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Marking the days

I haven't been so good at keeping up with the blog this week, and sadly cannot point to any amazing scientific discoveries, adventures in far-away lands, or even stellar cleaning binges to account for my silence. I think really, life as it's lived daily is just too occupying, and to sit down and write about it somehow makes me feel distant from living it. I prefer to watch the boys, go to the park, cook some food (occasionally), remark on the weather or do nothing at all rather than sit and ponder things on the computer. That, or I'm just too lazy to stay up past their bedtime and too brain-dead to remember what happened an hour ago!

At any rate, today I have been pondering Adam's birthday, which is coming up on Sunday. I have been asked a couple of times if he knows it's his birthday. I am pretty sure the answer to that question is no, though I don't doubt that when I set a cake in front of him and we all sing Happy Birthday to him, he might connect that activity to himself in some way. But as for understanding "Hey, I've passed another year on this Earth. I'm seven now. Cool," I don't think those thoughts will occur to him. I hate to sound like I'm writing him off, but for Adam, personal reflection does not seem to be part of his repertoire. I like that about him, that he doesn't spend time--or doesn't seem to--seeing who is watching him, wondering what they are thinking about him, or worrying about how much or how well we will celebrate him on his birthday. For him it's another day to play and be with us, and lo and behold--Cake!

The slight downside to all this, however, if I'm being honest, is that I have to reorganise in my own head what celebrating a birthday means. If Adam couldn't care less about presents, will eat cake if I feed it to him (with custard, please) and does not ask for any special favours to mark "his special day", then what exactly does it mean to have a birthday at all? In the usual sense, we ask kids what they want, figure out what will make them happy, and get that for them to open and enjoy for hopefully longer than a day. But what does Adam want? I asked Caleb this question, and he had some good ideas, but we both agreed that what Adam ever really wants is to go to the park, or swimming, or run naked along the beach into the water and back. Ok, seems easy enough to handle that.

But I still found myself feeling that Adam would be missing out--or I would be shortchanging him--if he had no presents at all. So Caleb and I traipsed to the store to find something for Adam, and we actually did pretty well. But my thinking behind it, and what I asked Caleb to do, was think of things Adam can understand and manage, and double check that with the second question: "would you play with this with him?" It seemed to work well, and I found myself more pleased than usual with the prospect of not only giving something to Adam in the traditional sense, but hopefully engendering an opportunity for them to interact together. I won't tell you what we got him though until after Sunday--it's his birthday, of course!

So, I reorganise my head thus: Adam's birthday is an opportunity for us to look back and remember the amazing night/morning he came into the world, to be ever grateful for all that he's come through in his tough little life, to review photos and movies from last August and see how far he's come in a year (about 3 inches far, to be exact!), and to be glad for today to be with him and enjoy all seven of his years at once. Gifts, fine. Cake, great. But what's special is that we have the chance to love and celebrate people at all in our own fumbling ways.

by the way, some photos attached from last year so you too can enjoy the progress.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Few Things that Prove I'm Human

also known as: Why I Won't Ever Be Really Important or Famous.

I realised today that I've sent Caleb to two days of school now with nails like claws. Not clean claws, either: really jagged, dark, dirty claws. He thinks he's a tiger. I think his teachers think his mom is a loser.

Not to mention the holes in his jeans that were there last year. I did buy iron-on patches, I just can't seem to get my hand to move itself to the iron.

Yesterday I walked to the Chinese market to buy cornmeal. I did this because my friend Marieke (thanks, Marieke!) told me they sell it, and I had a hankering for cornbread to go with the beans and rice I was making for dinner. Cornmeal found, purchased, brought home. Realised after dinner was over I never actually got it out of my bag and used it.

Today I managed to make the cornbread, to go with nothing in particular but still had the hankering. Realised after dinner was over it was still sitting warm in the pan on top of the stove, forgotten by its maker. Humph. We did end up eating it anyway, for "dessert", and I'm still about to pop hours later.

The list goes on, but I'm out of steam. You get the picture anyway! All joking aside, though, we are doing well and making progress. We have decided to do up the boys room (for the boys), and are making headway with removing all 5 layers of wallpaper that were previously on the wall. I am looking forward to when this job is done, not least because then we can actually walk around in our flat again! I'll have to post some pictures soon for posterity--and to remind ourselves of our sore arms and wrists!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another end, another beginning

This is it, the last day of summer holidays. What a full and fun summer we have had--it almost seems too quick that the boys are starting school and nursery again tomorrow, the end of the lazy days routine and beginning of discipline, school uniforms, packed lunches and book bags. And yet it is time, as Adam has been bouncing around like a wild man for the last two days, creating all sorts of trouble (but don't tell his teachers!!) He's starting Primary 3, and time will tell if it's a good fit or not, but I know without a doubt that he'll be so glad to see the taxi in the morning and his teachers' smiling faces in the classroom. Oh, how I wish he could tell me about it with his own words when he gets home! Maybe some any rate, it's a good job we're through with jet lag and back to normal, as Adam's taxi is coming at 8:15am!! I had a dream last night that the taxi came and his bag wasn't packed yet, so I made sure to do that this evening. We're ready--bring it on!

By the way...I seem to be comfortable with telling more people now--and word gets around quickly in these parts--so it seems safe to write it out here: We are expecting our third child in March! If you have seen me in the last few weeks it might not have been difficult to surmise--the green look on my face, sitting down every five seconds (me who usually runs around all day!), refusing to even smell food at most meals..."morning" sickness is a total joke: this has been 24/7 sickness for sure! This kid (a girl by everyone's reckoning, but we'll see in 6 months) has got me beat, but I am often and gently reminded that this is a blessing and we are indeed very excited. I have unfortunately lost enough weight in these last few weeks that having a huge bump seems a distant possibility, but I am ever hopeful and there are many weeks left (29 to be exact!)

We'll be sure to keep you posted!

Monday, August 9, 2010

A view from the top

Today was the perfect, a just-getting-over-jet-lag kind of day. Except that we're just starting to get over it, but never mind.

We slept 15 hours last night. For those of you who know us, let me say that again: We slept FIFTEEN HOURS last night. Whew, it was good. And even though I got up last (at 2pm!!), I earned it with a few false starts during the night and one round of "midnight" snacking at 3am. Adam sawed his way straight through, as did Dad, and Caleb needed some help now and again but overall did well too.

Then we used our energy to go and hike, all the way to the top, the largest mountain in Aberdeenshire called Mither Tap, or Bennachie. Adam did a stellar job, walking with one or two exceptions the whole of the 4 km route, and did the best up a long section of stone and rock steps toward the top. Caleb never needed an ounce of help, and stopped my heart a few times bounding from rock to rock at the peak. It was an amazing day, and we enjoyed the view and a small snack at the top where we also found, to my great surprise, that one of the other hikers is dad to a little girl in Adam's school. One of the others pointed to a great big black blob on the horizon that ended up to be a rainstorm. Luckily we were back down in the trees by the time it hit. We drove around for a while and then had dinner at a local pub where the boys wrestled on the floor for a while to amuse the tired parents.

I have to say I find it amazing and more than a little ironic that that rain turned into one of the biggest storms I've ever seen in Britain tonight, complete with lightning, thunder, torrential rain and hail. I waited three weeks in the states to see this and saw nothing--my faith in Aberdeen to shock and delight on occasion has now been restored!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

And then it was over

I thought I would write some when we were in Texas, but alas, we were too busy...having fun, talking, hanging on the porch enjoying the faintest breeze, watching kids race each other and splashing in the pool, eating, talking, posing for pictures, sharing snow cones on a hot afternoon, hoping for thunderstorms (that never came), talking, and so much more (talking!). No wonder sitting on the computer never even crossed my mind!!

I have to say that was a great vacation--10 days in Orlando, 3 days driving across four states to arrive in Texas for another 8 days. It was so good I can even say it emphatically after we have returned to our normal life once again. Thank you family and friends, for giving us a great gift of life, warmth (not just the heat!), fun, conversation and memories to get us through another year in Aberdeen. We love you all!

Speaking of our return, it was a wonderful trip and we are glad to be home. Caleb has already said twice today: "I can't believe we are home." I think maybe he's as delirious as the rest of us from lack of sleep, but he's right--seems like we've been away forever this time, though nothing really has changed. I asked the taxi driver if there had been any exciting events in the last three weeks. Nope. Oh well--one very exciting event restricted solely to the garden allotments on Powis Crescent is MY garden--it's huge!! I can't believe the size of the pumpkin plants, all 5 of them! We have enough lettuce to be vegetarians for life, beautiful flowering poppies, parsley that's taller than I am, carrots and strawberries out of control. Again, another gift, especially since gracious others did the watering for the last three weeks (and apparently God watered for us a few times too!)

The flight back was fine too, and again I have to say that the boys amaze me with their flexibility and tolerance of travelling. They were wonderful, and even slept for 2 solid hours on the plane. We had not even one minute of delay, no trouble with customs, and no lost baggage. Again, grateful.

And now, tired. See you all again when I can see straight!