Sunday, September 23, 2012


The rain was supposed to go north of us, so Greg and Sam loaded up the car to do a quick camping trip. I love how laid back Greg is-- but sometimes it reveals just how uptight I really am. The girls and I headed out to Pagliai's for dinner. As I sat in the booth, I glanced out the window and saw lightening zipping through the dark clouds. Oh dear.

Sam is a "glass-half-empty" kind of kid and I braced myself for the stream of bummer talk I would hear when he returned from this trip.

We continued our girls night for another hour, painting nails and watching a Lalaloopsie movie with no plot or point. Towards the end, Sam walked into the house with a huge grin, followed by Greg.
"We're camping in my room tonight!" he shouted. Wow. Could this be? Could my pessimist have flexibility and be okay with the change of plans?

He was more than okay with it, he was excited for the evening in his room. I fell in love just a little bit more with my husband as I watched him cram the tent into Sam's tiny room, using every spare inch of floor space available. Then flashlights and marshmallows broke out as they prepared to watch Star Wars.

I learned long ago that as a parent you have to sell change. Pump up the kids, make it sound like a honey of a deal and then cross your fingers and hope for the best. I can't help but think of all of the times that I haven't been able to adjust to change, and therefore missed out on truly being in the moment and finding enjoyment in it. Change is hard for me and Sam comes by his bent naturally, but I was so glad he was able to flex a bit and enjoy camping in.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Labor Day and Fish

We are spending the weekend with my family, doing the same thing that they kids and I do every Labor Day weekend. This means we will eat fried fish on Sunday evening and will watch Grandpa Tom march with the Legion members in the parade on Monday morning. Immediately following the parade will mean lunch with mom's side of the family, but it feels odd to drive back into the country to mom and dad's and not walk the street behind the bank to Grandma's house.

I associate Labor Day with traditions. If Bradford ever ceased to have the car show, parade, frog jumping contest and fried fish at the Legion house, I think my world would list a few degrees in another direction. Some people despise small towns, but I love mine. Perhaps it is the cliche "absence makes the heart grow fonder" that is at play with this, but there is a steadfast continuity to the whole weekend that gives me security.

Greg is in Colorado, finishing up his mancation, and his absence changes my visit. Sleeping alone in your childhood room can take you back, way back. Watching Dad crush the pop cans with the heel of his shoe after dinner, or scraping the remnants of dinner onto a dish to be tossed into the cornfield instead of running a disposal, helping Emily drag out the lite brite, still in the box with a few unused sheets of black construction paper shows me how little some things have changed.

If I stayed here past Monday, I would notice the changes. I would see how Lisa Chasteen's old house has been razed to the ground and a garage built in its place. The crazy sign outside of the dilapidated Baptist Church would catch my eye, advertising "Refuge Community Church: where all are welcome". I would see the newly worked ground in the cemetery for a young person who should not be there.

And for those reasons and others, I will leave on Monday afternoon and remind myself of all of the ways that it is still the same and how good it is to be back at home.