Thursday, November 29, 2007

No Lines Drawn

This morning while I was getting ready for work, I was listening to my favorite morning show on the radio. A lady had written in, telling about her 5-year-old son who wanted an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. Her husband had scoffed at the idea, saying "Over my dead body!"

On the way to school, I asked my son what he would do if he was a dad and his young son asked for this gift. I didn't preface the question with this father's response as I wanted to get another male's unbiased perspective.

"How old should kids be for something like that?" my son asked me.

"Oh, it depends on the child," I responded. "Maybe as young as 4 or 5, and on up to 9 or so."

"Then I'd say OK." He paused. "Why? I suppose there was a dad who didn't want him to have one because it's a 'girl' toy."

I told him about the conversation on the radio and how the father was adamant that his son not have such a gift. "Well, I wouldn't have a problem with it," my son said.

Thank goodness.

When my son, now almost 16, was 2-years-old, my mom gave him a boy doll donned in basketball attire. "Buddy" accompanied us to the grocery store, the sandbox, down slipper slides and on walks. He never seemed out of place, simply because he belonged to a little boy. The day came soon enough where he was put away; traded in for a real basketball and a new set of interests.

Do we panic when a little girl wants a toy car or a baseball instead of a ruffly dress and Barbies? Why is it when it comes to boys, that society is so frightened to step out of certain lines of the gender box? Perhaps this little boy, who wants an oven of his own, has helped his mother in the kitchen and wants to learn on his own level. Maybe his father is so busy keeping things within those lines that he doesn't have time to get to know his own son. If he did, chances are he would find a loving and interesting little fellow who at five, isn't afraid to follow his own path.

Being a parent isn't about pushing our children down the same road as we have traveled. It's finding delight in who they are and accompanying them down their own, then gradually letting go with encouragement and love.

I hope that that little boy finds an Easy-Bake Oven beneath his tree this Christmas...and that his father finds the soft spot that lives in every man in time to really appreciate his son and all that he has to teach him.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Unscripted Blessings

When my husband and I married nearly seven years ago, we entered into a relationship with a complex and interesting new family. Gone were our ideals, and in their place stood a complicated tangle of emotions and reservations.

In addition to my own son and daughter, I inherited three lovely young women; two who were already grown and beginning their college endeavors and another, who at 15, was beginning her sophomore year with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Those first few years felt like a confusing maze with blurred lines and no real direction. And though we took a few wrong turns along the way, we never lost sight of one another; holding fast as we bumped into walls and not letting go until we came out on the other side, together and back into the light.

It wasn't easy for any of us, but I'm so glad that we persevered and that we have come to that place of understanding where we can truly appreciate and love each other.

Since the road that leads to the girls winds through Oklahoma, we don't see them as often as we'd like, and with the addition of a darling little grandson, that makes it all the more difficult. Still, the moments shared are precious and we are thankful for the loveliness of those times.

I have written very little here about
my step-daughters. I think I've felt it was a bit of an invasion since they don't know that I write and share in this way, and I wouldn't want them to feel compromised or uncomfortable. But this evening, as I look back on these pictures from our Thanksgiving together, I'm so very grateful to have these young women in my life and all that they bring. And I am thankful that through the twists and turns of a "blended family", we have endured this crazy ride, now standing together at this place....and being counted as one.

Sometimes blessings come disguised; unexpected and unscripted in this journey through life. It's amazing when we open our hearts, just what - and who - is waiting to fill them.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Plays Away

I'm not sure I've been missed in the world of Blog, but I have definitely missed writing here and making the rounds to read my favorites.

Life has held me captive these past few weeks, especially the school play which was moved from a spring time show up to mid-November. There is always a lot to do for a production, even on a small scale, and coming on the heels of a state football game and in the midst of working longer hours at school, there has simply been no time for much of anything else.

There were many hours of learning lines, compiling costumes and frustration when people dropped out.
And with the final curtain call came bittersweet feelings: being proud of their accomplishments, relieved that it is over, yet sad that this is my daughter's last high school performance. She's feeling somewhat at a loss as it has occupied her time since the school's beginning in August. Yet she can hold her head up high, knowing that she was part of a very small group that overcame many obstacles during this play, coming out on the other side with a success that surprised everyone.

After the 'serious' group shot at the end of the performance, I asked everyone to have some fun. Little coaxing was needed and with nerves settled, it was easy to set aside their characters and enjoy themselves. Though I have a tape with serious young actors frozen in time, it is the laughter and free spirits I will cherish from this moment as the curtain falls one last time....and a new chapter begins.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Past

Before my parents moved from the large two-story house we knew as "home", it was our Thanksgiving tradition to walk to the edge of our little town to a natural spring to take pictures. For a few years we took family photos there to include in Christmas greetings, and time was spent drinking from a dipper and gliding over the spring on the lap of a board swing hung from a large elm tree.

As I look through these pictures from my past, it isn't the posed smiles that give me pause, but rather the unrehearsed, sweet moments of little hands discovering the wonders of God's creations. It is the bright eyes and easy smiles that tug at my heart and remind me how blessed I have been and continue to be.

May this Thanksgiving remind you of those who are dear to your heart and how fortunate we are to live in a country where we can celebrate our gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Days of My Life...

Flowers at work to brighten my day....

A college visit with two of my favorite girls...

Halloween Fun...

Working on the set for the upcoming play...

And taking a break every now and then...

Senior Pictures...

And time spent with friends...

And always...a Kansas sunset.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sunny Days

Though I haven't been posting much as of late, it isn't for lack of photographs or words. There simply isn't enough time in my days to share all that I'd like. Just know that right now the sun is shining brightly in Kansas...and that my days have been filled with great joy.

'Til we meet again...and I promise it will be soon!