Saturday, August 25, 2012

46th Birthday

Resting in a very crowded hotel room in Denver after a long day, I am surrounded by smelly socks, sprawled out bodies, and steamy wet  bath towels.  Aren't I lucky?  I do not ask that facetiously, I realize how lucky I really am to be with these 6 other people I walk through life with.

Yesterday was my 46th birthday, and I spent it on the road.  We came here to visit the annual Gift Show to find souvenirs and trinkets to offer in our little gift section at the airport.  We walked up and down aisles and aisles of booths, using our five "employees" (and legally they are!) as our "test market".  Much of what we sell is directed towards kids...magnets, TShirts, bracelets, etc.  It proved quite valuable to have them all along, as they pulled us away from some items and approved of others.  We did not actually place any orders yet, as we will do that back home when we are not under any sort of sales pressure.  It was another lesson for the kids to learn, how to push back gently when a sales person is trying to get you to commit on site.  We decided that once we return, as a school assignment we are going to give them a budget in real dollars, not "pretend", and have them do the math, figure out order minimums and shipping costs, and eliminate items from our possible list to come up with our final orders.  Dominick and I are always looking for ways for the kids to see how they will use their skills in real life once they are out of school.  What better way than to have them spend our money? HAHA!!

My birthday was sweet.  On Wednesday night I was taken out to a very nice restaurant by our "adopted grandpa", and had an evening of adult conversation and Scrabble afterward.  What a treat!  A real restaurant with cloth napkins! HAHA!  Because we were leaving, the kids wanted to celebrate the night before, so Thursday evening I was surrounded by giggling, teasing, laughing kiddos, all excited to have me open the little gifts they had selected for me.  We all laughed as the tape couldn't be found so wrapping paper was folded around boxes, and then Kenny lost the envelope to the card from the boys, so they all laughed even harder over that one.  What an eclectic collection of gifts I received!  A computer game from the boys and Matthew even loaded it for me.  Josh got me a singing card that talked about me not being older than rocks :-)  I got a hamburger press from Olesya which was so cute because I was looking for one with her recently at Walmart and couldn't find it, but she saw it and didn't tell me so she could get it for me for a birthday gift!  Sneak girl.  Then each of the girls also got me necklaces, one with a "C" from Olesya, and a beautiful heart locket in gold that said "Mom" on it from Angela.

Dominick surprised me and took my wedding ring to get repaired.  It is a small diamond with 2 chips, one on either side, and one disappeared a couple weeks ago and was discovered only when the prong snagged on something.  We laughed over it, because really my ring is not an expensive one and the little missing chip is so small you almost literally need a magnifying glass to see it.  However, I didn't want to snag or cut anything with the sharp prong sticking up, so I hadn't been wearing it until we could afford to get it fixed.  That was a super nice surprise.

Maybe though, my real present came under the guise of "nothing special".  As we wandered from show room to show room, my heal started acting up again.  Plantar fasciitis is proving to be pretty debilitating for me and healing is not appearing to be around the corner very soon.  Matthew was so kind and solicitous, taking my hand and arm several times, offering to let me lean on him.  As I was limping along, Angela offered to stop right there in the middle of the Merchandise Mart and rub my aching foot.  Olesya went downstairs at our hotel tonight and bought one large cinnamon roll and shared it with everyone in the family.

Nothing special...none of it...and yet how truly special it is.  Who needs a fancy birthday celebration when every single day is special in seemingly little ways?  My gifts are delivered constantly, my heart overflows.  I am one lucky woman, and I never forget it.

As we left one of the vendors this afternoon from whom we will order several different kinds of Colorado Christmas ornaments, he called all the kids over and offered them each some candy from his handy basket.  He and his wife looked at me and said "You have such a happy family, you don't see that much today.".  This was after we were all in there trying to vote for our favorite ornaments in order to make our decisions.  I am so pleased that someone can look at us and see "love" written all over us.  We stand out all the time for things that would male some folks uncomfortable for being different...different races, ages all the same, disabilities.  Standing out as being loving is one thing I'd never shy away from standing out about.

Sometimes, we all need reminding that being family is the single most important thing we are called to do together.  We have rough times just like every family does.  We work hard daily with the kids to talk with them when we see an attitude emerging that causes us concern.  There are things we probably talk to them about that others would not find to be any big deal at all, and sometimes maybe we are too attentive to the whole relational part of "family".  But we are trying to be intentional about who they turn out to be.  We had a talk with Matthew just this evening when we saw an action out of him that was out of character.  As I told him this evening, we will have failed as parents, even if he grows up to be successful in work or academics, if he does not turn out to be the kind, caring young man we know he is.  We have had a rough week with Kenny who is stepping way back in the "pushing his way" around behavior, telling people what to do, not keeping his hands to himself but having to touch everything in reach.  Angela overstepped today, telling one of the kids what to do and I had to remind her in a humorous yet "you know I really mean it" way that my job is to parent, not hers, and it kicks things out of balance if she doesn't respect it.  All in all though, it is minor stuff that we try and nip in the bud immediately.  They aren't perfect anymore than we are.  I apologized to them just the other day for jumping on them too quickly over something, and having thought about it afterward realized I was taking out a bad mood on them and was a little inappropriate.

The molding never ends.  It never ends for us as adults, parents and spouses either.  Our kids have molded me in countless ways, all for the better.  There are times when I think "Man, will they EVER get it?  Will this EVER sink in?" and then I am humbled when I am certain God has asked the same about me, "Will she EVER get it?  Will it EVER sink in?".  As I begin my 46th year, I am sure God has much more in store for me to learn.  I am glad I am learning it with the people I find myself in this life with, both those under my roof and those whose hearts are tied to ours through love.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad your birthday was a good one, Cindy! Glad also that you can take every day as it comes and give thanks for the beauty and blessing in it.
Love, peace, blessing!