The Trees are Dancing

August 23, 2008

School starting brought about a new morning routine at my house.  I am out the door by a specific time every morning with my fourteen-year-old daughter and my five-year-old granddaughter.  I head for two different schools to drop them off.  Like everyone else, I play beat the clock.  Not just so we won’t be late, but so I miss the majority of the carpool mom traffic.  Every morning the routine is the same.  Make sure everyone has eaten, check to see that the five-year-old has shoes on, brush hair, check for bookbags, hustle everyone out the door and then drive the same route.  The thing about routines is that they are, well, routine.  I get in the car and just try to get it all done in a timely manner.  Little thought is required.  I’m in the zone. 

So, this morning, after we backed out of the garage and headed out the driveway, Kenzie, the five-year-old, began chattering.  All part of the routine.  One comment stuck in my head, but I didn’t process it until a few moments later. 

“The trees are dancing!” 

I really wasn’t listening much because my thoughts were on accomplishing the routine.  And, Kenzie is a chatterer.  She enjoys her own conversation.  Sometimes a reply isn’t necessary.  Often, she is off on an imaginative tale.  But, this morning, she gleefully said, “The trees are dancing.”  And, before I got out of the subdivision, I finally noticed how windy it was. 

Oh!  The trees were dancing.  I was so busy with my “getting things done mentality” that I wasn’t really paying attention to the world around me.  She was.

OOPS!  Definately not a “Stop and smell the roses” kind of morning for me.  But, the little one behind me in the car was noticing and enjoying what was happening in the world.  She didn’t care about the routine.  She was just experiencing life. 

I guess the lesson here is obvious.  Don’t just get through the day.  Enjoy the day.  I started paying attention to the movement of the leaves and the beauty of the trees dancing.  It really was fun to watch. 

It is so easy to lose the sense of wonder for God’s creation that we had as a child.  It’s also easy to lose the sense of wonder that we had for God himself.  That sense of wonder that we had when salvation was new and we were experiencing the all the wonders of a new relationship with God.   The older our relationship with God is, the more likely we lose some of the wonder, the awe, the newness.  Just like we need to stop and watch the trees dancing or the beauty of a sunset, we need to stop and enjoy the wonder of our relationship with God. 

So, take some time to enjoy what God has created.  The wind, a sunset, a glorious cloud formation.  But, don’t forget to renew the sense of wonder in your relationship with God.  Like a child.  Then it won’t be only the trees dancing!

Matthew 18:3

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.


I had really hoped that we’d all get through the first week of school without any major incidents.  We weren’t so lucky. 

My beautiful granddaughter, age five, is a bright child who reads Harry Potter, plays the violin, knows number places that include the ones, tens, and hundreds, and can tell you about the Mars Rover in detail.  She was born with a physical disability known as a cloacal anomaly, a problem that occurs in 1 in every 20,000 or more live births.  Of all the variations of this, hers is one of the worst.  It is considered one of the most difficult pediatric surgical challenges to correct.  Her surgical history is too much to explain here in a short post.  But, as a result of these procedures, she does not yet have urinary or bowel continence.  As a temporary measure, her parents use large Pull-Ups to deal with this situation.  As you can imagine, they worried about how well she would be accepted in public schools. 

On the one hand, they didn’t have to worry.  Her teacher, principal, school nurse, and the staff are wonderful.  They love her already and she is thrilled to be there.  I can’t say enough about how supportive her teacher has been so far. 

On the other hand, the after-school program, a separately run program that is on-site at her school didn’t do so well.  I picked her up after her first day.  I am amazed that her clothes weren’t soaked since that was one of the wettest Pull-Ups I have ever held.  They didn’t change her.  They admitted that they didn’t check.  They admitted that they were told how to do it by her teacher when she brought her to after-school.  I changed her in front of them to reassure them that, while her anatomy may not look normal, there is hardly any difference in the process of changing her.  They assured me that there would be no problem and responded in detail as to how they would and could handle this need.  They seemed positive and enthusiastic. 

Day two.  Her mother received a call while on her way to pick her up.  She was told that her child could no longer attend after-school since she had a medical problem.  They were okay with Pull-Ups, just not with the “medical problem.”  When she arrived, she discovered that her child was waddling from the pain of being kept in a feces-laden diaper for the two hours she had been there.   She had told her caretakers that she needed to be changed.  When her mother arrived, the two caretakers were sitting at a table talking with only her daughter and one other child present.  She was immediately informed that her child would need to be changed….

She was livid.  My granddaughter had dried feces on her bottom and a severely swollen and bleeding rectum from being unchanged.  It will take a few days for her to return to normal.  We can expect her to cry with every bowel movement until it does. 

So far, we only get lame excuses.  They weren’t comfortable!  THEY had my personal number and the assurance that if there was any problem I would come.  THEY chose to let her sit in feces instead.  Their superiors aren’t any more helpful. 

So, what do you think.  Is this neglect or abuse?  We could turn the other cheek, but, in my granddaughter’s case, both “cheeks” are already involved.

School is in Session

August 5, 2008

Well, so far, everyone around here is surviving and/or thriving in their new schools.  My youngest seems to be fitting into the flow of high school and comes home happy, a runner’s high from a two-hour practice.  My granddaughter declared her first day “Magnificent,” and is happily reciting all her new friends’ names.  My grandson doesn’t really want to tell me about his school day, but his mom says that he’s okay but would like his old teacher back.  Nothing bad about the new teacher, he would just like things to be the same.  Change is not always the friend of a sensitive soul.  I’m sure that before long his new teacher will have hung the moon and, next year, he’ll want her back too. 

School is in session for me too.  No, I’m not attending, but I am subject to everyone’s schedule.  You know: the drop offs, the pickups, the practices, and soon the meets and programs.  Back to school effects most everyone with children in the family.  So, while I’m asking them the mundane questions like “What did you learn in school today?,”  I have to ask myself something similar. 

Another year looms ahead.  What am I going to learn this year?  What progress in spiritual growth will I see?  I seem to be taking one called “Walking Through Difficult Moments, Advanced Placement.”  There is no standardized test for that at the end of the year.  And, for me, the tests came early.  God has allowed a challenging curriculum in my spiritual walk and beliefs lately.  I think I’m passing, but, if not, fortunately God uses a grading process known as “Grace and Mercy.”  Therefore I don’t have to fear.  Just to learn.  And, just as fortunate for me is the fact that I have a great instructor, the one who took the highest honors in dealing with difficult moments.  My learning opportunities are endless. 

So, what classes are you taking this year? 

Hebrews 4:16

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

The First Day of School

August 4, 2008

Firsts are always nerve wracking.  Whether you’re the parent, the child, or an adult experiencing one, they don’t get any easier.  In the morning, my youngest child will experience her first day of high school.  She’s understandably excited and nervous.  The two grandchildren start kindergarten.  They feel the same way. 

I feel that way for all of them.

My grandson is an active little man who is fearless about doing things, yet shy around new people.   A first day of school for him involves a lot of new people.  My granddaughter is shy about doing things, but hardly ever meets a stranger.  But, she has medical issues that can get her teased.  My younger daughter is beautiful and doesn’t know it.  She has all the normal teen angst going for her.  She’s also Chinese in a primarily Caucasian and African-American school.  We, her parents, are also Caucasian. 

Each of these three kids have a lot going for them.  They all have their own unique personalities.  Personalities that we hope will find their way socially.  Because of that, both myself and their parents will have a slightly nervous day tomorrow while we wait to get the answer to that universal question, “How was school?”

I’m on my fourth teenager so I have pretty much figured out that all control over their lives ends when they leave the womb, Band-aids don’t fix all boo-boo’s, and someone out there will hurt my child at some point.  Probably at many points.  And now, with the grandkids, it starts all over again. 

We can’t always be there for our kids.  We can love them, give them appropriate support, and pray for them.  But, they are the ones that have to experience and deal with their own lives. 

So, tomorrow I will get up early and drive my daughter to school for the first day.  And then, I’ll pray.  Pray that others are kind, pray that she finds all her classes, pray that her teachers and friends see her heart, and pray that all the older boys are myopic.  At the end of the day, I’ll ask the question.  And fortunately for me, she will probably answer in great detail.  May it always be so!  My children will ask their children the same question.  And we’ll all hold our breath for the answer. 

Ephesians 4:32

And be ye kind one to another….