Friday, September 26, 2014

Taking a Moment to Slow Things Down

Ah…why is it that a newly recovered street looks so pretty?  I can’t stop opening my door or stop looking at that shining black surface that is staring back at me.  When the light is right, first thing in the morning, it looks like it is wet from a fresh rain.  However, Suzy says that it smells like horse pee…so not so sure that I like that aspect.

This week I woke up, the morning when that great road fiascos started.  We had received notice the day before of which roads in our small housing complex would be affected that day.  Not my street, according to my map, so my cars could stay parked right where they were.  In the process of getting kids ready for school I heard the large equipment roll in, sounding ever too close to our street to be where the map showed, but oh well, big gear probably echoes making it sound closer than it was, right?  Not right.  As I was walking the last child out the door the street cleaner came by to ready our street.  Jenny hurried and moved the suburban up on the driveway for me and then drove off in her little truck.

“What the heck?  Did I read the map wrong?”  No, roads to be worked on were mapped out in red and the street numbers written beside the map.  Quick call to the project manager and sure enough, a couple of the wrong maps for the next day’s project had gotten mixed in with the right ones and I had been lucky enough to be given one of those.  Great.  Now I was stuck with a suburban stuck in the driveway and not parked in the graveyard for easy access later.  What to do, what to do.

Well right about that time, Jason came home from an early doctor’s appointment he had that morning, to say goodbye before he headed to work.  He had parked his car a block away at the cemetery and walked home.  What did he do?  Braved the street cleaning truck and the guys getting ready to pour blacktop and took the suburban down to the cemetery for me.  Problem solved, with little effort and here I had stressed over nothing.

Moral to the story…not a whole lot, really, just another day.  It’s what came later that was so amazing.  So small, yet so amazing.

I have been watching a show on Netflix called Jericho.  It’s about the United States after coordinated terrorist attacks across the country destroys major cities and knocks out power and contact to the rest of the world.  Not my favorite show but interesting enough as I watch a small town have to come together even for the simplest necessities of life.  How does this have anything to do with the road work that was going on in my neck of the woods you ask.  All of us on those few blocks had to walk a block away to our cars where all of the neighborhood was parked.  I left my home several times that day only to run into one neighbor or another along my way, and what did we do?  We stopped and chatted for a minute.  As I would drive away in my suburban I would see others on their sidewalks or in the cemetery chatting too.  People were everywhere, not just in their houses or in their cars but talking. 

The next day we had our roads back but the roads below us were in the same situation.  The road for the bus stop was closed so the kids were dropped several blocks away and had to walk up.  So many parents, me included because I had to get said kids off to piano lessons, were waiting for their kids to walk up the street.  So many people chatting and waiting as a mass of kids walked up the streets. 

In all of this it kind of reminded me of the show Jericho, where the small community, much like my own, had to be all connected, farmer and businessman, school teacher and nurse, men, women, and children.  Kind of sent it all back to a simpler time when life was a little slower and neighbors mattered.

As I walked the kids home after one of our trips that first day, we walked slow and noticed things and talked.  I know it was only a block but it was a lazy block and Sam and Steph talked about the school day, and all the work and the chores and homework waiting for us back at the house took the back burner for a moment, and I loved it.  Those neighbors that I wave to but rarely have time to talk to I got to say hello and hear a little about what was happening in their lives and for a minute the world just slowed down a little bit. 

Jenny always says how she wished that she had been born in the 1950’s and, well, for those two days it felt a little like that.  The question is…how exactly do we keep that slow pace life and connecting with our neighbors going?  I doubt the city would be too happy if we kept parking our cars down at the graveyard, but hey maybe we just need to convince them to resurface our roads a little more often.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Just Being You is Exactly What Heavenly Father Needs You to do

Some would say that I am a crazy person, but a few, mostly moms out there will completely understand what little secret I am about to reveal.  Sometimes,(okay every time) that I clean my shower and or my toilet I have to pull back the curtain or lift up the lid and smile about a million times a day.  Now this is not to think that I never clean my tub or toilet and so the shiny clean porcelain shining back at me is a rare phenomenon, oh no, I do it faithfully every Thursday and the toilet on Mondays too.  So why, you ask, am I so crazy?  Because there is something so rewarding about seeing the labors of a job well done, and the toilet and the tub usually stay that way for a whole day, well at least my bedroom bathroom does because I am the only one home using it during the day.

I was watching a video that someone of my Facebook buddies put online that was the takeoff of “All About That Bass,” (and you really do need to clink and watch both the links below before you can completely understand what I am saying) and it couldn’t have hit me on a better day as Thursday is our hard core cleaning day around this house.  Now if you know the Gibson household you know that we hold music high on our priorities list, all kinds of it.  After all that is how we actually pay for the house that we live in, so I know this song inside and out and quite frankly this version of it hit home in a funny way and I couldn’t help but smile.
Then just a few posts down was another Facebook buddy’s share and it was a Mormon video and…okay this is another secret that I am even more embarrassed to share, but I was on the potty (the very recently sparkling cleaned potty) watching this one on my smart phone being interrupted every two seconds by Sam knocking on the door to tell me about his 100 percent test scores that he got at school.  Pause…then unpause…then knock knock knock, Stephanie asking if she could make some hot chocolate (cause heaven forbid it is 83 degrees outside she must be cold,)…pause…then unpause…then knock knock knock, Sam asking if he can have hot chocolate too….then pause…then unpause…then knock knock knock and me hollering out “no” before Sam could even ask if he could put mini marshmallows in it.  So after seeing the video I smiled even more because, well, I knew.


I love that shiny tub and sparkling toilet because it’s one of the few things that I have that I can physically show for the day.  I clean the house and scrub it and wash clothes and so on and so forth but as soon as the kids come home and plop their shoes on the floor and their jackets on the coach and homework on the table all of that is gone.  And then shortly thereafter the bar is usually filled with flour from making rolls and ketchup from making barbeque sauce and the stove top is plastered with pulled pork as I spill it trying to mix the noodles cooking in the other pan and although the kids are cleaning up downstairs the upstairs is hot and sticky and messy from me cleaning, and well…the bathroom is still clean and shining for Jason to see when he comes home.

I’m one of the lucky ones though, because Jason doesn’t care if the house is a bomb or if the toilet is sparkling.  He doesn’t care if I ran a million places and a million errands or if I curled up with a good book and left popsicle wrappers on the table beside me, he only cares that he comes home to me, even the no makeup, sweatpants wearing me that I am today.  I’m the first one that he calls when he leaves the campus at night to come home, and I’m the one that he calls a million times on the way home to complain about the traffic and to talk to to take his mind off of the craziness.  And I am the one that he wraps his arms around and kisses at night first thing when he walks through the door not caring if he had to stumble over a million pairs of shoes to get to me.  And of course I am the one he cuddles up to at night in bed, not caring whether or not I changed the sheets that day or even anytime in the last million days.  Because, well that’s really what matters, is that I’m there, and I’m me.  You never really know what you do, whether your day is busy or lazy, sometimes just you being you is exactly what Heavenly Father needs you to do, even if you yell “no” at your little guy through the door that he can’t have marshmallows before he even asks it, cause hey, that’s part of me being me, knowing before he can say anything that he’s going to steal the mini marshmallow that I am saving for a sweet prize for another day.  Sometimes the things we do we just don’t know how much they matter, but they do, and God knows.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Dinner Table

“That’s it…if I have to hear one more word about who gets the last green bean I may scream,” I bet that isn’t heard around most of your tables, but it is always, and I mean always heard around mine, whether it’s the last corn on the cob, the last green bean, last cooked carrot, or last head of broccoli my three oldest girls fight nonstop about who gets it.  Poor little Sam and Steph would argue too but they are too afraid to jump into the middle of them, even Jason only rarely dares speak up and says, “Hey, I’m the dad, I get it.”

How I got children who love their vegetables so very much, I am not completely sure.  Nan goes weak in the knees if someone even speaks the word corn, and Suzy about cries when she brings in the very first tomato from the garden(and yes I know they are technically fruit, but we all know they should be classified as veggies) and Jenny makes the best darn green beans that you have ever tasted.

I love our family meal times.  There is a lot of us around the table, even with Luke all grown up and married to sweet Danielle, there is still 7 of us around the table and 5 of them are kids.  That makes for very loud dinner conversations, I assure you and may I add some very strange ones.  My girls are like me, their brains jump from one thought to another so quickly that Jason just sits back and watches dumb founded.  But he smiles, and we laugh and it is quite simply the best time of my day, well except for days when I have a migraine, then it’s just loud.

I can’t help but think about how sad it is in the millions of homes where kids come and go as they please, dinner jumps around between Arby’s or Wendy’s or the spot on the couch right in front of the T.V.  No one cares as long as they are fed sometime before they climb into bed.  We have a fairly strict mealtime at our house.  It fluctuates only slightly if Jason is running late from work.  The kids are done with friend time an hour before so they can come home or send their friends home so as a family we can do a quick clean up around the house while I cook dinner.  Usually some of them are downstairs picking up from friends and some are up helping me with dinner and then shortly after Jason comes home dinner is on the table and all of us let out a sigh of relief.  Heads are then bowed and quiet is heard while one or another of them offers thanks to Heavenly Father for our crazy family and wonderful food, and then chaos starts again as the jabbers start and the day’s stories are told.

Sometimes I like to sit back and watch when one of the kids’ friends stays for dinner.  If it’s their first time their eyes are usually enormous and their mouths are usually slightly ajar as they watch the very loud joy…that’s what I like to call it…joy…burst out around our table.  You know though, those kids usually keep coming back and before long they are joining in in the crazy excitement that is dinner around our house.

I know our kids will leave the house one day and that will be one of their favorite memories of growing up with Mom and Dad and I am all too happy to accommodate them.  After all, those memories will be some of the sweetest ones that they will ever have.  I wonder how many of the rest of the families around the world are taking time to make those memories in the rush and bustle and convenience foods of our modern day.  If they are not, then they are missing out on perhaps one of the greatest gifts that God has given us…the dinner table.