I have never seen our children stand so still. As I looked out the bay window to check on them, they were frozen in the driveway, eyes looking up, hands cupped. What in the world were they doing?
Something was up. Literally. Fluttering above their heads were six butterflies. The butterflies would dive down, touch the girls, and dart back up to the sky. Lily and Emmy just stood there, entranced.
They stayed outside, standing in the driveway, until dusk. Several times the butterflies landed on each of them, only to flitter away to join its companions. The girls were caught in the butterflies’ spell.
It was past their bedtime, but I let them stay outside just a few minutes longer. I didn’t want to break the Butterfly Spell.
Today, Simple Moment Bigger Picture is linking up at Melissa’s!
Vintage is definitely in. There are ways of making items for your home appear older than they really are. After painting a piece of furniture, all you need to do is use a little sandpaper to give it a nice, worn look. Sand lightly to take a little paint off the corners; scratch the surface a little to make it look less new. Instant vintage!
Some days, I certainly feel vintage. Life’s sandpaper has roughened and scratched me up. Some sandpaper has been heavy duty; coarse and rough. My breast cancer diagnosis…scritch, scratch. That horrible phone call when I was expecting my brother, telling me he had been in a serious accident…scritch, scratch. My mother’s death…scratch, gouge. This sandpaper has worn me down and aged me. It has left me tired, sad, and feeling old.
Some of life’s sandpaper has been less coarse. The sand on this paper is fine, almost soft. I had my first child when I was 35 years old, and had already entered the category of “high-risk pregnancy.” Many of my friends from college already have children in high school or even college. Next to young moms, I really feel my age. I feel vintage. Considering my taste in music and my old flip phone that doesn’t use apps (no Instagram here), “retro” would be a more definitive word. But perhaps this sanding makes my rough edges smooth, like a rock that’s been turned over and over again by the waves on a beach. I am able to smile when I hear an old woman say for the millionth time at the grocery store, “Enjoy them while they’re little” because I know they are remembering their own children. I’ve already had my time to go out to the bars, to stay up late dancing and partying. I’ve already started my career and been successful; I already know what I want out of life.
Throughout it all, through the light sandings, the rough patches and the gouges I’ve received, there is a piece of wood that sandpaper cannot touch. And on that piece of wood; on that old rugged cross, is a Savior who endured even more than the mere scratches and gouging of sandpaper. He suffered much more than that for this scratched up and scarred “vintage” woman. Not only that, He conquered death.
There will certainly be more sandpaper in my life. I’m sure to become more vintage; more retro. Some days, I’m going to fight that whole aging process; other days, I’ll try to age gracefully. As I age, I’m coming to rely more and more upon that old rugged cross and my Savior. He will smooth away the scratches and the gouges, and when I am old enough, He will come for me.
The traffic is getting slightly heavier. The houses are getting closer together. The whining is getting louder.
Lily keeps asking, “How long ’til we get there?” It is only a half-an-hour drive.
I know why she is asking, though. We are going to meet Daddy for lunch, and she is so excited to see him at work.
We weave our way through the narrow streets in an industrial area. I have these streets etched in my memory, yet I couldn’t tell you their names. After negotiating the maze, we arrive at my husband’s company.
Before we go to lunch, Ed takes us on a tour. Ed borrows some safety glasses for Lily and Emmy as we head into the shop. He shows us the wire EDM machines, water spraying against the glass to cool the parts being worked on. We walk through the grinding room and smell the oil. Ed is obviously delighted to show his girls the place where he spends most of his day. Even after being married for almost ten years, I don’t think I’ve had the full tour until today.
Ed took us into the quality room. “Now here’s a guy you need to meet,” he said. “This is Vladimir.” A large man with white hair turned around to shake my hand. He speaks with a Russian accent.
“I tell your husband when we meet, that if he does not come to shake my hand every day, he will give me a dollar,” Vladimir says, smiling as he shakes my hand.
“It’s true,” Ed adds. “I make sure to shake his hand at least twice a day!” The lunch bell rings and Ed clocks out. We get in the car to go to Ed’s favorite lunch place. The sign is faded; the red hot dog now looks pink and the yellow background is almost white. But the parking lot is newly paved, the yellow lines are sharp and crisp, and the restaurant is busy. We go up to the counter to order, and Ed orders his all-time favorite lunch from Papa Chris’–a patty melt. It is a rare treat for him; a thin burger smothered with cheese and grilled onions, sandwiched between buttery grilled bread. So different from the usual turkey-on-wheat he makes himself.
We linger over fries; Lily is generous with the ketchup. Emmy, her hot dog gone, asks if she can sample some of the meat from my gyro. Lunchtime is over too soon and it’s time for Daddy to go back to work. We drop him off and are on our way to return a pair of wrong size shoes I bought for Lily last week.
Having lunch with Daddy. Just writing about it makes me smile.
As we walk to school, Lily holds my hand and talks to me in a serious way. Emmy holds my other hand, skips and jumps along until she breaks away to run ahead of us. Almost three years apart in age, so different and yet so alike.
From the moment Emmy was born, she was different from her sister. Lily would have nursed 24 hours a day if I let her; Emmy would push away from me as soon as she was full. Lily loved playing with her stuffed animals; Emmy loved playing with baby dolls.
Lily would insist on being called a different name, depending on which character she liked at the time. For while, her name was “Michael.” Then she was “Dora.”
Emmy, on the other hand, would never let anyone bestow a nickname to her rather long name. The only place she is known as “Emmy” is here on this blog.
Lily loves scary movies (such as Finding Nemo and Toy Story 3). Emmy does not.
Lily loves roller coasters. Emmy does not.
Emmy has a huge sweet tooth; much bigger than Lily’s. Emmy loves to sing; even more than her sister.
Emmy and Lily love to be silly; they love to dance around the house; they love to read books with Mommy and Daddy.
And even though at times they may deny it, they love each other.
I was a brand new mom trying to figure out what being a mother was all about. I was navigating motherhood without a map, charting waters I was unfamiliar with. Spending time with a baby all day long was unlike anything I had ever done before. Changing diapers, nursing Lily, and laundry filled my day. Tummy time only lasted so long with Lily. One day, when Lily was about three months old, I wracked my brain as to what I could do with her to pass the time. Out of desperation or boredom, I’m not sure which, I sat her on my lap, grabbed Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton, and started reading aloud. I got through about three pages before Lily stopped paying attention and demanded the book to chew on. Every day, I read a little bit more and a little bit more, until I was able to read the whole book. All ten pages. Reading! Reading was something else I could do with my baby during those long hours at home!
I read with Emmy when she was even younger. We were barely home from the hospital when Lily demanded I read to her, and therefore, to Emmy.
After one of Emmy’s well baby check-ups, Lily embarrassed the heck outta me by throwing a temper tantrum when I couldn’t finish a waiting room book I had started reading to her while waiting for the doctor. One of my wishes is to pass on my love of reading to my girls, but she was carrying it a little overboard.
Emmy memorized the nursery rhymes in this set of board books and I caught her reciting this one to her doll. These chunky books were perfect for her plump little toddler hands to hold. Yes, that is a Hello Kitty Band Aid on her cheek. No, she does NOT have a need for that bandage to be on her cheek. This picture was taken during her Band Aid phase.
When reading, it is necessary to find a comfortable spot. An empty laundry basket will do just fine.
Emmy is famous for her temper tantrums. That tantrum Lily held in the doctor’s office? NOTHING compared to the tantrums we have had to endure from Emmy. Just a few weeks ago, Emmy had another temper tantrum. But this…was different. A box came with books for Lily, and none for Emmy. Lily had been dying to get her hands on the newest Magic Tree House book, Abe Lincoln at Last, so I ordered it for her along with the non-fiction companion as soon as it was available. Lily was thrilled when it came, and Emmy…threw a tantrum. Not so much a tantrum, but more of a whine fest. Because she wanted a book, too.
To me, lover of books, this seemed understandable. Emmy and I hopped online and looked for a book. She is now in a kitty phase, so she picked Bad Kitty Gets a Bath and Bad Kitty Meets the Baby, both by Nick Bruel. As soon as we received the books and opened the box, I thought we were in for another tantrum. The first Bad Kitty is a picture book; these Bad Kitty books were chapter books. Emmy is not into chapter books. Lily, however, knows what makes her sister tick, and soon convinced Emmy that these books had too many pictures to really be chapter books. Even though that’s exactly what they are.
And I realized that my wish, one of my fondest wishes, has come true. Lily and Emmy love to read.