Friday, May 5, 2017

Birthday, Play & Springtime

The play, the play, the play!  That's how my conversations have generally been going for the last three months or so.  Helping out with Egg White and the Seven Muffins, an original play written by students in our co-op was a roller-coaster experience.  In between the practices, the prepping, and the painting, other life details were still going.

You know, things like birthday parties.  Birthday parties bring me joy, because family is something I value.  All the food and the little fun fanfare are really just excuses to chat, laugh and fellowship together.

I cherished being able to hug my niece when she dropped her cake and made a mess.  Being able to assure her that cake-dropping is no big deal at "Aunt Domi's" house.

Plopping down on the couch and bugging my brother while he solved the Rubick's Cube made for good times.

Talking deep stuff and fun stuff with family and friends cements the bonds of love.

Blossom4 turned four and basked in the limelight.  At times, I did think we were living out The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Birthday. 

It's part of parenting though; teaching children how to handle lots of attention, in addition to handling the normal attention.

Teaching Blossom4 to be sweet and not foolish is just part of child-rearing.

I'm learning not to be surprised when a sweet girlie goes through a different phase that I find alarming.  These phases are normal because we are all sons of Adam and daughters of Eve, if I can borrow from C.S. Lewis a little.  Sinful people sin.  This is our chance to teach the Gospel in action.

There were cousins and children everywhere.  It was childhood glory, filling my heart with parental satisfaction.  For most of my childhood, we didn't live close to cousins.  We had plenty of good times with the kids in our neighborhood though.  Watching the girlies romping around, playing in the dirt, or arranging backyard games of hide-n-seek or capture the flag relives the stuff of wholesome childhood goodness that I remember.

We've had some backyard visitors lately.  Rose-breasted grosbeaks have been dropping in.  We managed to catch the female at our feeder.

Also, a pair of bald eagles have been swooping over lately.  This is the closest the girls and I have ever seen eagles before and it was an awe-inspiring sight.  What's better than a front row seat to gigantic birds of prey?!

The green of spring has certainly been enjoyable.  This lilac hedge grows more beautiful with each passing year.  This has been a fantastic season of blossoms, in comparison with previous years.

The day of the play finally arrived last Friday.  I felt nothing but relief and excitement... and some butterflies too.  To see over a year's worth of work come to fruition is overwhelming, to say the least.  What a team effort!  What did I learn from it?

Let the children do it.  
We let the children get down and get dirty in this play.  Because of that, it reflected them.  Well do I know that "stand back and let mama get this done" sentiment.  I will honestly say that I am tempted in that way far too often.

That's not a philosophy that yields good fruit though.  I fight it in our daily parenting and I fight it in our education.  Just like Jesus trained the disciples, children really do learn by doing.  

Blossom1: Narrator
Blossom2: French Press
Blossom3: Coffee Cake Muffin
Blossom4: Adorable Audience Member

Children live up or down to your expectations.
I saw this often in youth ministry and in coaching gymnastics.  It proved true again in this play.  We practiced hard, even to the point of redundancy, but we kept encouraging, encouraging and encouraging.

They knocked it out of the park with a stellar performance, better than any practice we'd ever had.  I shouldn't have been amazed, but I was.  Apparently I needed a refresher course in that particular principle.

Lead by example.
I feel like my girls especially had a front row seat to Mama doing a hard thing.  This play wasn't easy.  It was months of work.  Many times the kids would ask me how we were going to do something.  I told them honestly, "I don't know, but we'll figure it out."  I felt like they saw problem-solving, creativity, and perseverance.  They experienced it right along with me.  I may be a grown-up, but I'm not too grown up to do something I've never done before, to try hard, to put my whole self out there, to give it my best shot.  It's funny, that's something I remember from my childhood.  My mom figuring stuff out, being creative, taking on anything.  I think it's called courage.  

I want to keep being courageous every day in this journey of life.