January 8, 2011

Happy Birthday, Elijah!

For Eli's eighth birthday he requested a surprise party. We usually have a duo party with his cousin, born one year and four days after him. We keep waiting for the two boys to request their 'own' parties, but year after year they cheer for a party together. So, this year, like previous ones, we planned a double party. How to pull off a surprise party when the party kid knows about the party?

Obviously, have all of the kids hide behind furniture with Nerf guns and pummel him when he arrives at his cousin's house for the party. He knew when, he knew where, but he was surprised by the what. We were unorthodox in planning this party, because as a general life rule of motherhood, you shouldn't serve cake and ice cream to children at 9:30 am. We did. Then we loaded up four vehicles and drove through a blizzard to play laser tag. Load up the kids with sugar and laser guns then set them loose on each other in the dark. Seems like the ultimate party--Surprise, Eli!!

They loved it. Minus the long drive.

The adults? Well, the ones who played laser tag loved it. I managed to bring us safely to the venue through the snow in the slippery van with 8 young boys from 6 different families. The odds against us making it there were slim. The
juvenile delinquentparty goer sitting behind me kept kicking my seat griping about my snail's pace and, "I could run faster than you drive!" I shouldn't begrudge him his right to practice road rage, but from inside the vehicle? One boy was ready to have an accident in the van. With all of the pressures, I stayed strong and kept the speedometer safely at 25 mph. A little slow for the interstate, but the weather...the treacherous weather. And all of those families' boys! Sheesh, I could have had an emotional breakdown. The responsibility was crushing. I would make a terrible bus driver.

Overall, the birthday was a wild success. We surprised Eli. We arrived alive. We didn't lose any children. A birthday party sensation.

Happy Surprise Birthday, Elijah!

January 5, 2011

For Sally in 2020

Dearest Sally,
You will not remember this conversation. I've recorded it to remind you of a time when you adored your Daddy and didn't have the worries of a teenage heart. I could tell you were carrying a heavy burden that day as you began our talk. Once again, I found myself having a conversation that I wasn't prepared for!

"Mommy, what if the husband I have doesn't want to go to church with me?" you said with eyebrows knit in worry. From the onset, it seemed that this had been brewing for a while.

"Well, it isn't like one day you find yourself married to a man you don't know. Before you get to know him, you can ask him if he knows about Jesus."

"So, I say, 'If you want to marry me, then I need to know if you are Christian?'"

"Yes, and you can see how he treats his sisters and mom to guess how he will treat you if you get married. I knew that Daddy was nice to his friends and Rara so I could guess that he would be good to me."

Bursting into tears, "I want to marry someone like Daddy! I love Daddy so much! I don't want to get married and move away from you guys!"

I was taken aback by the outburst, but delighted at the same time. Two years ago you couldn't stand to be near your Daddy. "Sal, you have such a long time before you can get married. You are only six, I think 14 years at least! Maybe you'll just decide you don't want to marry anyone and you can live in our basement and take care of us."

The sobbing ended, eyes wiped and bright at this thought, "Really? Really? I could live with you forever?"

Just a kind reminder for the day that you don't want to live with us and meet a dreamboat who has no interest in the things of God. There was a day that you adored your Daddy and wanted to live under our roof forever. And, I might add, that included a brief discussion involving you caring for us in our old age.

Bunches of Hugs,