Friday, May 20, 2011

An "InTents" Month!

May is proving to be an intense month... as well as an In Tents month, filled with some joyous celebrations and some unforgettable adventures. Here are a few:

Mother's Day - Hm. It was certainly a memorable day.... So as a teacher, a great rule of thumb to follow when giving feedback is a "sandwich" where you offer something positive, then give some critical suggestion, then finish with something positive. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that this Mother's Day was a rather inverted sandwich. It began with much wailing, gnashing of teeth, and lamenting. There were lovely gifts, to be sure (my favorite by far was the homemade book of photos, drawings and lists of "reasons why I love mom" compiled by authors and illustrators Aidan, Leo, and Pax.) But there were some wicked displays of behavior, as well. All I could do is laugh, really, because does Mom actually ever get the day off?

The middle of the day, though, was splendid and lovely and perfect. We picnicked at a local vineyard with my parents and the kids, and a truly wonderful time was had by all. I love being able to celebrate Mother's Day with my mom and as a mom. The food that everyone prepared was delicious, and we enjoyed two different Virginia wines, a rose and a chardonnay-viognier blend. We tossed the frisbee, kicked the soccer ball, visited the polo horses in the barn, and spent the afternoon lazed across blankets. A boat ride topped off the late afternoon. And then - the evening. All I can say is that the day ended as it had begun, but I'll always enjoy the memory of our picnic.

Church Camping Trip - The forecast was ominous - showers and thunderstorms likely Friday, Saturday, and Sunday - and yet the organizer of the trip was clear: we'd camp, rain or shine. I'd spent the week going back and forth - should we stay or should we go? But the positive peer pressure from the group was enough motivation to overlook the gloomy forecast. And so on Friday afternoon, after packing the car to the brim, (we had to load the kids in their seats before stuffing the rest of our gear in the aisles) we hit the road, meeting up at the campground with 6 other families from our church.

I have wonderful and vivid memories from my childhood of "Family Camp" and weeks of the summer spent at a Lutheran camp, worshipping and singing around the campfire, joined together in a unique kind of fellowship. I remember the love and acceptance offered, the laughter, and the deep-down warmth gained from those experiences. In the way that food eaten outdoors becomes more delicious, music shared around a fire becomes more beautiful. Laughter is richer. Friendships deepen and expand more quickly. In our circle of 25 campers, we sang the praise songs of my childhood. My children sat in the laps of other parents, giggled as the teenagers used them as puppets for the hand motions of the songs, and snuggled up next to their friends against the crisp chill of the evening. The discovery of watching your children enjoy something you loved so dearly yourself as a child never gets old, and my heart swelled while tears ran over my cheeks as I drank in the love and nourishment of our faith family.

We returned from the trip, tired yet renewed all at once. The spiritual buoy that the weekend provided has kept me floating high this whole week. Ever the one for a tidy house, I've been reluctant to put away the last few items of our trip - they've served as reminders the whole week through of the Feast of Love - nourishing and sustaining us still. In our culminating worship service in a small amphitheater in the woods, I was overcome again by gratitude and thanksgiving for our church family, for our village. Like other experiences in my life, so much goodness can come from so much pain. Finding this church, our home - so much goodness borne from so much pain.

And finally....Preschool Celebration! Leo is officially done with his first year of preschool, and boy, did he soar! I'm so proud of Leo, so happy that he makes friends with anyone he meets, so proud of what a good and kind friend he is. I'm proud of all the progress he's made this year, learning letters and sounds, counting, sorting, building, creating. I love hearing him talk about being a "School Boy" and insisting that I create homework for him to do in the afternoons when Aidan is doing his. I admire Leo, the ease with which he navigates through the never-ending pattern of being Younger and Older, too young for a sleepover, like Aidan; too old for a nap, like Pax, yet desperately wanting both. I'm so proud of Leo, so capable and confident, so cheerful and independent, so spritely and spirited.
Leo with his teachers - Miss Rachel; Miss Heather; Miss Sarah

More celebrating is on the horizon - most notably, the end of the school year, and the Birthday of Aidan - so stay tuned!

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