Monday, February 11, 2013

Special Moments and American Pie

Life with the LaJoy's tends to be a bit pedestrian.  If you are looking for major excitement, you'd need to look elsewhere.  Our days tend to be filled with what some might consider to be the, work, church...sort of a Middle American existence.  While we do make every effort to get the kids out in the world with travel, so that they do not have a small town mentality, there are moments that we realize you can take the kid out of the small town, but you might not ever be able to take the small town out of the kid.

I like that.

I like that our days are generally simple and predictable.  I like that there is a sense of continuity in our weeks.  I like that our joy comes from the things that are real and permanent, rather than transitory in nature.  I crave as little drama as possible, which to me indicates healthy relationships and peace of mind.  I love the sense of humor the kids have that comes directly from their dad, so it surrounds me all day long.

What I like most, though, is just being together, laughing together,and loving together. The past few days with the kids has reminded me that it is the little moments that add up to make a big life, or at least a life with big meaning.  Sometimes we just have to stop and see it, rather than expect a big life to look like something with a big red "S" for special.  The special moments are woven throughout our days, if we just look for them.

I have a few of them tucked away from this week right now.

Olesya making a cake at GrandmaToni's house. It didn't turn out so well, in fact, it slipped and the top half ended up on a second plate and we called it the Mountain of Goo.

Kenny began working towards his Bronze Certificate for the Congressional Medal with Grandma Alice, who taught him how to solder.  Sharing her lifetime worth of experience working on assembly lines, she was able to help him quickly learn a new skill.

A finished project! 

We explored the Santa Barbara Mission one afternoon.

"What's in here?"

Matthew being...well...a thirteen year old boy. :-)

We giggled a lot as we came upon signs for "Alien Jerky" when we traveled back from California and headed toward Las Vegas.  We simply couldn't pass off a daily dose of kitsch, so we had to stop and check it out.

There were animatronic aliens in an alien car!

And considering we were in the vicinity of Area 51, it was appropriate to find aliens and their spacecraft.

What really got us laughing was our official Road Kill Jerky, which we devoured.  Living in Colorado, where deer hits on the highway will often lead to someone quickly getting a tag to pick it up and get it processed, the idea of eating Road Kill takes on a whole new meaning.  Eeewwww...

Perhaps the best moments of the past week have no photos to accompany them.  Sometimes you just have to put down the camera and be part of the world.  Small town kids hit Vegas as they all excitedly asked if we could go up in the glass elevator just one more time.  Seeing them with an inexpensive pleasure of playing pinball machines as we blew a little time at the Pinball Museum where Matthew happily declared it was like a casino for kids.  Watching from afar as they pointed to the dolphins that happened to be swimming right up at the shoreline when they were out wading in the Pacific.

The one I will not soon forget is standing at night in the middle of the bright neon lit Fremont Street in Las Vegas after having spent the afternoon walking the Strip with its Gucci and Rolex stores.  I loved it as we explored Fremont Street, with all its cheesy gift shops, street performers, and live bands and having the kids all declare that THIS was more like it, and THIS was what Las Vegas should be, that it felt more real and human.  Better yet, seeing their undisguised surprise and delight as the neon went dark, and suddenly overhead the entire three block long TV screen started showing a creative video put together with images to accompany Don McLean's "American Pie".  Thousands of people stopped dead in their tracks and starting singing, "Bye, Bye Miss American Pie, Drove my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry..."  Watching their upturned faces take it all in, swaying as we all sang together, looking around me as people of all races were joined with our family in a common experience was a real treat.  

Elevators and 1970's singer songwriters, grandmas and sloppy slipped cakes, hours long car drives and stepping over wet towels and ever-bigger bodies in tiny hotel rooms.  These are the special moments.  I treasure them, one and all.

No comments: