Sunday, November 9, 2014

Day 524

Nov. 9, 2014

Day 524

We might get some snow this week the weathermen are saying.  Even if we don't get snow, it's going to be cold enough for it.  Paul always got so excited about the first snow of the season, right up until his last winter, which was years since he'd plowed snow.  I can see being happy if there's a potential to make money off it, but he just loved snow and cold (yes, he loved the cold, too - whenever anyone would complain about it, he'd say, "What are you going to do when it gets cold out?" meaning that it wasn't really cold right now.  Whatever.  I'd roll my eyes and grab another blanket, trying to keep from biting my tongue from shivering so hard).

I don't like it a whole lot. 


I don't remember being overly bothered by winter when Paul was alive, but I find myself just dreading the cold and grayness now.  I wonder if it's because I'm immediately transported to last winter, which was the most miserable winter of my life, following the most miserable summer and fall, of course.  Maybe I'm projecting emotional distress onto the season.  Hopefully, that will change with time.


Ben had to go to Iowa City Wed.  This time, when we checked in at the main desk, the receptionist handed me a laminated sheet of paper that asked if I had visited Africa lately and did I happen to know if I had ebola?  Um, no.  She seemed embarrassed that she had to ask me.  And then the receptionist upstairs in the dentistry dept had to do the same thing.  What's to keep me from lying about being in Africa?  How is asking me this going to ensure the health of all the staff and other patients?  Lucky for them, I'm honest.  And I'm pretty sure I don't have ebola.


Lizzie has taken to calling a neighboring street in our town, "Popcorn Street."  It's Hawthorne Street and I have pointed that out to her several  times.  But she still asks, "Mom, can I ride my bike to the end of Popcorn Street?"  It's cute.  It can be "Popcorn Street" from now as far as I'm concerned.  Then yesterday I was driving up in Clive and Ellie was in the backseat and asked what street we were turning on.  I told her it was "Hickman Road" and she echoed, "Picnic Road?" 


I took Ben to get his pictures done yesterday for  his upcoming birthday.  I was glad to get out of there.  Flashing lights have bothered me for several years now and almost always give me an instant migraine.  It never used to be that way.  I figured it was just age, but then in my FB stroke group someone asked just recently if anyone else had a problem with flashing lights since their stroke.  And a lot of people replied that they did.  The timing is about right, so I bet that's when I started having problems with it.  Huh...

I was glad to leave, but it felt kind of bittersweet, too.  After doing this for 18 Novembers in a row, I'll never take Ben in for birthday pictures again.  He'll get his senior pictures done next summer sometime, but we're done with studio shots.

It went by so fast.  Ok, ok...I know I said the same thing a few years ago when it was Will.  And I'm going to whine about it for the next 4 kids to follow Ben.  But it's true.   It's heart-rendering.  And it makes me sad.  I'm thrilled that I managed to keep humans alive relatively unscathed until adulthood.  That is no small feat, especially with the children I have.  I'm grateful for the opportunity I've had to watch them grow.  It's kind of cool to see them tip-toeing into adulthood.  But it's sad because you invest nearly everything you have into these little people and then - poof - it's over.


And then there are some periods where you'd give just about anything to have it over NOW.

Ellie is still on her little "You're not the boss and I'm going to do whatever I like" streak.  One night this week she jumped on the toilet lid repeatedly until a sibling tattled.  She couldn't do that anymore, so she decided it was a great time to hang on the towel rod instead!

Just now - I mean, literally, just now, as I was typing, I had to go take care of a situation where she scratched Lizzie's eye in anger (I am seriously hoping she did not get her cornea because I'll have to take her in - those are incredibly painful, from what I remember when both David and Paul had them) and spit at Sam.  What am I doing wrong that I am raising such a horrible child?

And nobody believes me!  Everyone tells me how cute and adorable Ellie is and when I try to correct their assumptions they say things like, "Oh, no - that's not Ellie!"  Um, yes it is.  And you haven't even heard all of it.

However, I did have an encouraging thought earlier this week.  I had the parent-teacher conference Tues. night where I heard all kinds of delightful things about Ben.  And I was remembering Ben's early years which were difficult, to say the least.  He was very naughty, stubborn, and seemed to delight in figuring out ways to injure himself.  I still remember the old cattle fencing we had around our first house.  Both Paul and I wanted that stuff down but we decided to wait until the boys were a little older since we lived right off a highway.  We ended up moving before we ever took it down, anyway.

It's a good thing we didn't because when Ben was around 4 or 5 he figured out how to open the gate.  So Paul rigged up a complicated locking system.  I'll never forget the day I looked out the door just in time to see Ben almost to the top of the fence.  If he couldn't unlock the gate, then he was just going to go over it!

I sent him to preschool a few mornings a week that last year before kindergarten started.  I'll never forget the day his driver drove into my driveway, and ashen-faced, told me that Ben had unbuckled his car seat and attempted to unlock the van door as the van hurtled down the highway.

That was just the early years.  And then we went through puberty with him which was so awful that we were beginning to think Ben was going to end up in residential care at some point.

But look at him now!  And just like Ben's future wasn't solidified at the time he was climbing fences or violently arguing with me as a young teenager, Ellie's story isn't written all the way yet either.  If we both survive this time (a fact that is in question at the moment) I may very well be singing a different tune when she is Ben's age.  That thought cheers me.

But right now...I'm frustrated and weary.  In fact, as I was typing the above paragraphs, a horrified Lizzie came to me holding a tin of cookies and sharp pair of scissors she found hidden in her bed.  Ellie had obviously stashed them there.  I am not going to survive this child.  I really am not.


Will's been deer hunting the last couple of days and will be out again this week.  Paul would be so tickled to know this.  Will is bow hunting which is a first for him.  Paul did that the first year we were married but never had the time after that.  Will bought himself a bow this summer and is out trying to bloody those shiny tips.

I texted him yesterday and asked how it was going.  He said he had seen a few deer, but was holding out for something bigger.  Knowing the empty state of my freezer, I replied that was probably a good idea - wait for something that would yield more meat.  He replied that  he was more interested in the size of the antlers!  Well, I suppose there is that, too...


I had my Sunday School class ladies over Friday night.  It was really enjoyable and totally worth cleaning my house for.  We watched "Moms' Night Out" which was in the theaters this summer.  I had heard it was good, but knew nothing about it.  I didn't realize that several of the actors from the Sherwood productions were in this (Fireproof, Courageous, etc) along with Seth Rogan (Rudy) and Patricia Heaton.  Oh my goodness - it was laugh-out-loud hilarious.  I absolutely loved it.  I am not one to watch movies repeatedly, but I'm going to buy this one.  And it was perfectly clean - not a single swear word or suggestive comment. nearly everything else in life, there were moments in the film that made me sad.  Three of the four moms portrayed in the film were married to great, supportive guys who were so, so happy to see them after their crazy night out.  It brought back to mind a few times that I went out, stayed late, and when I got home, Paul had flowers or something in the kitchen waiting for me.  Or he'd wake up and talk, just to see how my night went.  I miss having that.

I miss him.


A little while ago I heard one of the widows in one of my FB groups make the comment that her husband had "spent the rest of his life" with her.  I've been mulling that over ever since.  Factually, that's true of everyone widowed.  But I do like the sound of it, as if our husbands made the choice to spend the rest of their lives with us and then happily died after doing so.  Actually, since we started dating at 19,  I can say that Paul spent his entire adult life with me.  But I won't be able to say the same about myself in regards to him.  He got me for 20 years.  But I still have a lot of life that will be spent either alone or with a future spouse.

I've had another chill-giving experience.  A week ago today I was in church and during the third song of the morning service I took the girls down to children's church, as is customary.  The song was still going on as I walked back up the steps to the foyer after dropping them off.  As I walked up the steps I could just swear I heard Paul's voice singing with the congregation.  Paul loved to sing and he joyfully entered into all the congregational singing, as well as being part of the choir and singing occasional solos.  However, even while alive I really doubt I could have heard his voice from the sanctuary clear down to the steps.  Obviously it was just my wistful imagination, wishing it was him I was hearing.  But boy, it sounded so real.

Thursday, I got a text from my friend, Jenny.  She told me that Sunday she had been convinced that she heard Paul singing in the congregation.  Will was with us that morning so she was wondering if Will sounded like Paul when he sings.

He doesn't.  Will is a quiet singer.  While Paul sang loudly and sometimes put his own fanciful twist on the ends of songs (a fact that always embarrassed me) Will is very content to sing exactly what's in the hymnbook and for God's ears only.  So I know Jenny wasn't hearing Will sing.

I told her all that, pushed send on the phone, and looked at my arm.

Goose bumps.

Or, as I like to think of it - a hug from God.







1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry Ellie continues to be a terror. Our toddler son is totally wearing me out too. I so look forward to when he is ready for bed. Often he seems to march through the house, wide eyed, in search of something to mess up. He loves dumping water, turning computers off and on, and climbing. I know we'll survive this season. Well, let me put it this way, I PRAY we'll survive this season. I do pray for his safety as he has NO SENSE.

    That is awesome about hearing Paul singing. Yes, a God hug!!!!!! In heaven, you can listen to Paul sing day and night to the Lamb of God. It is going to be wonderful. I know you can't wait to get there but these kids need you so much, all of them. Ellie most of all. I do believe our sweeties are wondering if the limits will stay or whether we'll cave.

    God bless you.