Girl two in her favourite towel.
One bee hive is doing beautifully, the other is a concern. Some of the apple trees look good. On other trees, the buds have shrivelled tiny, never turning into apples. Our sick lamb did not get better. For five days, she got worse. Friday I called the animal health lab and booked a post mortem. Except she wasn’t dead yet. I walked out to the barn thinking things would be clear. Instead, she literally talked her way out of the post mortem. The whole way to the car the lamb had her head up talking. Forget this, I said. I put her in the shade on the front lawn, got some water, and told the lab I wasn’t coming.
All day she seemed alert. Not walking, but head up, nibbling grass, happy for drinks of water. I spent too much time pouring over websites, reviewing symptoms to see what we were missing. We had already treated for two things that were not the issue. I found a third possibility. I researched a fourth to rule it out. (The solution for the third would aggravate the fourth.) I was becoming attached to our friendly talking lawn ornament.
We treated for the third possibility. Our sick girl took her next water with her head sideways on the ground. The treatment was not a good idea. Sick lambs are gentle, helpless and sad to watch. Trying so hard to help and then making it worse is a very powerless feeling.
Summer is not going as planned. My little charts about how things would work lasted less time than it took to write them. Meanwhile, in and out of background and foreground, the kids disemboweled a few stuffed animals and morphed some barbies into a new kind of creature. The chatter of their play keeps me going. Champions of the imaginary, they ground me in everything that is real.
On a long day, but their voices bounce through the window and the teetering world gingerly begins to right again. I know it’s July, but I wonder what it might mean that God came as a baby. From the perspective I usually consider, God takes the humble form of a baby we can welcome without fear.
But there’s another side. If God came as a baby, then every baby becomes a symbol of salvation. Raised up to her natural dignity, a child dances weightless through the fields of wonder, an intended promise of our own possibilities. If we reach to touch the hem of these small ones, we know with certainty; Christ still walks among us.
We who once were children might dare observing them, to see in ourselves the child. Sacred. Delightful. Chosen. Blessed. Rather like the proverbial writing on the wall, children cross our paths on good days and bad singing . . . me and you, and all of us. Beloved.
After a 4.5 hour drive home from my grandparents, the girls and I arrived home stiff, a little hungry, weary, and grumpy, to find that the apple trees I ordered had finally arrived. If I wanted help, it was time to pick up our order. After lunch and another hour in the car, we had nine trees.
Once upon a time, apple trees lived happily on bedrock in the middle of our pasture, but according to the internet, nowhere on our property met the many qualifications required for ideal planting of apple trees. Nervous, I’ve been waiting for the trees to arrive for weeks now. The weather was pleasant. I tried to be joyful, but voices were in my ears.
“Not enough drainage here.”
“Soil’s not good enough here.”
“Here’s too close to that tree.”
Were these sounds just my fear or were they the last ditch attempts of the robed wizards of appledom to save us from doom?
“We chose the best of what we had. We just want to try,” I squeaked back.
“That’s a lot of money gone when they all die,” came the reply. I pictured somber head shaking.
Planting was a team effort (minus Boy one who was away). I was tense, but my hands were full of life whispering maybe. The voices couldn’t ruin it all, it was fun. Still, they kept the joy of the trees from trumping the weariness of the morning. I headed into the house irritated that there was no way to have dinner made on time. The war of apple hope vs. no apple fear raged on.
The kids had taken off a little earlier. “She’s here! She’s here,” rang out, as I approached. I was escorted up to the girls’ room. A bedspread refashioned as tablecloth, covered the table (made of two stools with a large book bridging the middle gap) the tea kettle sat in the middle. Miniature teacups were all around, except my favorite mug sat at my place. Everyone sat on the floor except me, who was given a bean bag. A plate of crackers and raisins was on the table. “Surprise!” they said.
Girl one put a tiara designed for me on my head, Girl two handed me a bracelet made from all of the new beads they just received from their great grandmother. Boy two handed me a card, “Happy Early Mother’s Day,” it said (in beautiful cursive writing).
I could remember lots of clipped directions and signs that mother’s fuse was growing shorter through the day. I couldn’t remember very many reasons for a surprise, early Mother’s Day celebration.
My tea was served bag in. I smiled. They jumped up and down to give one last surprise. What delighted me most about it was how much I would have hated it, had I not known that they expected me to like it. With love, messy, incorrect, unstable and misdirected, they won me over.
In case you only see ripped up boxes, tape and mess, this is actually a kitten play maze, designed to be left in the middle of floors everywhere, with love from the younger three. :)