Monday, October 26, 2009

More Than a Blanket

My mother became really interested in quilting just before my first son was born. I tried to share her interest, but became immediately intimidated by the time and accuracy required to create a beautiful quilt. Rather than disappoint myself, and my mother, I turned my ambition to another hobby ~ SCRAPBOOKING!
I love to scrapbook. Since the birth of my firstborn, this has become more than a hobby for me. It has become an addiction. I could spend all day, every day, gazing at those pictures of my handsome little boys and figuring out ways to embellish the pages in just the right way that will complement their countenance. I thoroughly enjoy the instant gratification of completing a page layout. Success comes much quicker with scrapbooking than it does with a quilt.
Over the past seven years, my mom's quilting has become more than a hobby for her as well. She has made beautiful creations out of the smallest squares of fabric. And she loves to show them to me. She gets so excited as we pull the four corners apart revealing her intricate handiwork. She is truly talented.
She has continued to invite me to quilt with her, but I have continued to turn her down, offering excuse after excuse as two why it is "not my thing". I don't have the patience. I don't have the time. I'd much rather scrapbook.
A few weeks ago, my mother took me into her quilting room to show me her most recent endeavor. I must reiterate, she is very gifted. As I stood their envying her talent, she offered me a novel. (She knows in addition to scrapbooking, I LOVE to read.) This was the first in a series of novels about a young woman who is learning to quilt. It didn't sound like the kind of novel I would normally read, but I couldn't bear to disappoint my mother. So I reluctantly agreed to take it with me.
The novel started off rather slow, and I debated giving it back to her, but I just couldn't let her down. She was sure I would like it. So I carried on. Before I knew it, I became quite enthralled with the storyline. I looked forward to spending some quiet time engrossed in the tale of this young woman's apprenticeship as a quiltmaker. The author did an excellent job of not only incorporating the basics of quilting into the story, but also revealing that learning to quilt is more than just making a blanket.
Thanks to this novel, my eyes have been opened to what my mother's true desire has been since she started beckoning me to quilt with her ~ to spend time with me.
Quilting is a time consuming task. I realized that is why my mother wants me to join her in it. It's not just about creating a meaningful bundle of warmth; it's also about sharing tender moments, creating memories and passing on one's passion. I am ashamed that I did not see this sooner.
My mother is picking me up in just a few moments so that we can have breakfast together. I'm going to tell her that I would like for her to teach me to quilt. AND I am very much looking forward to it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

My child is a genius!!!!

It was April 2008. I remember sitting in the lobby of the gymnasium waiting for the assessment lady to return with my son and tell me that he is in fact ready for kindergarten. I felt certain that he was, but I was eager to hear how well he did on his assessment. They came through the door, both beaming. I figured that was a good sign. Her smile was actually bigger than his, and she rushed over to me exclaiming that he scored 100%! He got every single question correct! In fact, she went on to describe him as “an overachiever” who, when asked how high he could count, was forced to stop after reaching 100. I remember thinking, “Oh my goodness! My child is a genius!”
I wish that I could take full credit for this “genius” child of mine. However, I cannot. I must give credit where credit is due. I am so thankful to the Smart Start School Readiness Specialist Program and Denton Wesleyan Child Development Center’s Preschool Program for making sure my son was ready for Kindergarten.
Let me explain further…
From 1998-2000, I worked as an evaluation consultant to the Davidson County Partnership for Children, a nonprofit organization responsible for the disbursement of Smart Start funds in our county. The program I was most impressed with was the School Readiness Program. In fact, I was so impressed with the services available to parents with children ages 0-5 in this area, that when my husband and I decided to relocate, I insisted on moving to Davidson County. I knew our family could benefit from these services. I contacted the School Readiness Specialist (SRS) Coordinator within weeks of moving into our new home. She put me in touch with our SRS, who began visits immediately.
When my son’s pediatrician later suggested that I enroll him in a preschool program to increase his social development, I knew without a doubt which local child development center I would trust. I had evaluated a number of children attending the Denton Wesleyan Child Development Center, all of whom were very impressive. I contacted the Center’s director that same day, and my son began preschool there the next week.
I can honestly say that had it not been for these two programs, my son would NOT have been ready for kindergarten. Not that I would not have worked with him at home to learn his numbers, colors, alphabet and shapes. However, I never would have been aware of what is expected of them when they now enter kindergarten. I had no idea that they should know how to write their name. They should be able to identify the author’s name on a book cover. They should be able to draw a stick person with at least three body parts. His SRS and preschool teacher know what he needs to know. Even better, they know how to teach it to him. Thankfully, the SRS program is set up to pass that knowledge onto me. Therefore, my son appeared to be a “genius” at his kindergarten assessment.
My second son will enter kindergarten next year. I have no doubt that he will be ready.
Thank you School Readiness Specialist Program and Denton Wesleyan Child Development Center.

His Wife, My Hero

My brother, Jason, is currently serving in the Army National Guard. His unit was called to duty last December. Shortly after reporting for duty, his wife discovered that she was with child. This, of course, was very exciting for all of us, as this would be Jason's firstborn. Sadly, he would miss the entire pregnancy. He was deployed to Iraq in February. So he did not have the pleasure of witnessing the morning sickness, the ever-expanding baby bump, the never-ending exhaustion and the ultimate cravings that coincide with a woman's pregnancy. However, he was blessed to be able to come home on leave long enough to participate in the birthing process and welcome his new baby girl, Zoey Faith, into the world on August 17th. A few days later, he had to resume his service in Iraq.
Zoey is now 2 months old. Jason has missed her gorgeous smile, her adorable cooing, her late-night feedings and her stinky diapers. She will be five months old the next time he holds her. I'm heartbroken for him.
Even sadder, he's not the only one missing out. Little Zoey doesn't have the joy of knowing her father as of yet. And Zoey's brother, Lucas, who is three years old, misses the man who has stepped up to be his father. Lucas calls Jason "Daddy". He was just getting used to having a man consistently present in his life when Jason had to leave. It has been a very confusing time for little Lucas.
Perhaps what saddens me the most is imagining what Celeste what must be feeling. When I put myself in her shoes, I imagine I would feel quite overwhelmed. She is carrying this family on her own for 12 months! In Jason's absence, she is solely responsible for meeting her children's every need. She feeds them. She bathes them. She dresses them. She buys for them. She cleans for them. She plays with them. She tucks them in at night. And then she goes to bed alone.
You would think she might buckle under the pressure, feel sorry herself and become angry at the world for the roller coaster her life is now on. But no. Every time I see her, she does seem exhausted, yet she has a smile on her face. She's not sitting at home, crying into a pillow. She's living her life, and she is not afraid to do it alone. She has taken her children to visit family, to the zoo, to Wal-Mart, to the inflatable playground, to Chick-fil-a, to the mall, etc. She has retiled the kitchen floor, refurnished the bedroom, painted most every wall in the house, handcrafted the curtains, shopped for a new vehicle... the list goes on. While she patiently awaits my brother's return, she has taken her life by the horns and is enjoying the ride.
I am honored that my brother is a member of the Army National Guard sacrificing time with his family to protect our country. I am proud to be his sister.
I am also proud to be a sister-in-law to his wife. I am amazed by her boldness, and I envy her fearlessness. SHE is my hero.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not So Inspiring First Words

Last week I had lunch with a dear friend of mine, a fellow blogger, who is also fairly new to the blogging scene. I've been so impressed with her writings. I hoped to gain valuable insight into her "process". How does she decide what to write about? I was shocked by her response - "I write about what inspires me." Of course! It's so simple. I expected to rush home and begin writing right away. I mean, my life is filled with inspiration. I have a loving husband, two handsome little boys, a beautiful home, healthy parents, four siblings with wonderful spouses and adorable children, lots of friends... Most importantly, I have JESUS.
As soon as I got home, I sat at my computer prepared for the words to just pour out of me. But nothing came. I was so disappointed. I am so blessed. Surely I can come up with SOMETHING to write about. But no. Nothing came to me. And still nothing has come to me, even after I've racked my brain all weekend.
Bound and determined to post my first blog, I just sat down and started typing. So this is it ~ my first blog. It is not very inspiring, I know. I'm hoping that writing this uninspiring post is the first step in overcoming my initial case of "blogger's block".
We shall see....