Monday, July 25, 2011

The Sabbath Experience -- week 42

As I typed 'week 42' in the title, I found myself amazed that this experiment has continued on for this long, morphing into an experience that I intend to follow through with for the rest of my life. Of course, I don't always expound on the Sabbath itself when I write these beginning-of-the-week posts. Often, I just give you a glimpse into my life.

Last night, I returned home from a lovely 3-day weekend break. I must admit, I'm struggling through those Monday morning, don't-want-to-be-at-work, blahs. The break just wasn't long enough. Do you ever feel that way? The temptation to check my emails and see what I would be facing workwise as I started the week was strong last night. But my commitment to stay true to my Sabbath Experiment prevented me from doing so. Instead, I relaxed with my husband and watched an episode of Season One of Beauty and the Beast.

Bill and I left on Friday morning with our lovely little granddaughter and headed east on the PA Turnpike to Manheim, Pennsylvania where we gathered at my mother's house with my two sisters (from Glendale, CA and Binghamton, NY) and my niece and her family (from NYC). Since I spend most of my days alone with my computer, I must admit at first I had trouble adjusting to the crowd, especially on Saturday morning. Time spent alone on my porch with my coffee and Bible, was replaced with time in a small, hot, crowded kitchen with lots of noise. I eventually adjusted, and by the time there were 13 of us in the house on Saturday night, I was enjoying the company.

Life's like that sometimes, isn't it? We ease into a routine that is comfortable and then, WHAM, something disrupts it and we're thrown a bit off balance. Often, it's by choice, and the disruption is temporary. Other times, we're thrown a situational curve ball that completely knocks us off base and we have to struggle to find a new balance. If you are going through that right now (because of a loss), my heart goes out to you. Please know that will come a time when your equilibrium is back in tune. Granted, it will be a different tune, but lovely, just the same.

When I became a grandmother, I earned bragging rights. I have an absolutely adorable grandson, Lincoln, who will be turning one next month. Unfortunately, he wasn't with us in Manheim over the weekend. But our 33-month-old little Laura was. And she was such a delight. We've traveled with her since she was quite young and enjoyed every trip. She has never complained, whined, or asked "Are we there yet?" on our trips. There is no DVD player to entertain her. Rather, there are songs and games from the start of the drive until the end, with a nap thrown in there along the way.

Some of my favorite memories with my girls when they were young emerged from time spent in the car. Those of you whose kids are caught up in videos or video games instead of conversation and fun as a family, are missing so much, in my opinion. What can you play with a 2-year-old? Well, we look for things that start with certain letters. Or we look for shapes.

"Look grandma! It's a rectangle!" Laura will shout as a large truck rolls by.

"A triangle," she exclaims as we pull off the road and she spots a yield sign. The stop sign is acknowledged with "A octagon!" (She doesn't know the difference between 'a' and 'an' yet.)

Since we were driving in Pennsylvania (the Keystone State), all our state highway signs have keystones on them. Laura now can identify a keystone.

Is that normal for a 2-year-old? Probably not. Is it because she's exceptionally bright? Probably not. Perhaps it is just she's been taught. Not by an educational television show, but by parents, an aunt and uncle, and grandparents who have instructed her from the time she was born. It's not hard to do.

While putting on her tiny little socks when she was a baby, we'd say, "This is your left foot," or "Give me your right foot." I can't tell you how long she's known her right and left now. While grocery shopping, I'd say, "I need 3 apples," and she'd help me count them as we put them in the cart. Browsing through the shoe racks at Goodwill, I picked up various sizes of shoes and Laura would tell me if they were too big or too small for her. And she got it right every time, even though she was only 27-months-old.

Children are so teachable. We just have to use the time we spend with them to work teaching into our regular routine. My daughter is teaching her The Lord's Prayer, and I was amazed, over the weekend, how much of it she knows already. And it's not just about words. It's about explaining the whys and the meanings behind the words. It's about encouraging reasoning. It's about doing it in love. When there is love behind the teaching, children will absorb the lessons like the little sponges they are. They want to learn.

Don't miss the opportunities, folks. Don't let cartoon characters or puppets replace the teachers you were meant to be. And, for goodness sake, lead by example.

Bill and I left Laura in Manheim with my mom and sisters yesterday and traveled back to Pittsburgh. While we can always find enough to talk about in the car, we still missed that little voice in the backseat saying, "Let's sing 'Tinkle, Tinkle Little Tar' again, Gamaw," or "Look, PapPap, a circle!"

While I know she's having a ball with her Great-Grandma Gene and Great-Aunts Carolyn and Tina, I have to admit I'm a little jealous. After all, they get to spend the next few days with my favorite little girl in the world, and I ... I get to get back into my routine.

Sharing my thoughts,


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