Today marks the first official day of summer break, since both my kids are out of school. Of course, it’s Monday so they are at daycare, which makes it strange, but nice. We decided to only send them to daycare on Mondays, which still gives them play time with their friends, and gives me a much needed, uninterrupted start to the week. A planning day, if you will. My to-do list is pretty much the same as usual; water flowers, sweep floors, clean kitchen, clean bathrooms. I added ‘purge emails’ to the list because I have over 1000 emails stored and I think it’s the reason my phone keeps telling me my memory is full. And when that happens, no texts come in or go out, and it’s frustrating. So I am widdling away at it.
I have emails as far back as 2007, so it will take some time. I don’t know why they are all still there, I think a good portion of them are emails I sent that are now in gmail folders I had set up for automated categorizing (seemed like a good idea at the time). But I don’t lead an FPU class anymore, and I’m not preparing tax returns, so all of that can go. Most of it is junk. Amazon purchase confirmations from free apps I downloaded for the kids on my Kindle, stuff like that. Some of it I’ve found so far has been interesting to read, however. Notes of encouragement I sent to friends, sending thank you messages to people who helped me in one way or another. Notes to friends just to say hi because it had been too long. It’s interesting to read these words I wrote so long ago, because my recollection is that I was a terrible, neglectful friend, who was too busy with my own life to reach out to others. But these emails scattered over the years tell me that those recollections are not all true.
It’s funny how our memories fail us, don’t you think? I think it’s good to look back sometimes. I have forgotten so much, but stuff like those emails serve to remind me of the good that I forgot. I have a great husband and great friends who do the same for me. They’ll remind me of something that happened, or a prayer that had been answered, and it feels so refreshing when the memory comes flooding back. I thank God for those moments, for those people.
Do you have a good memory that you’ve recently been reminded of?
I had a wonderful afternoon with my son today. It was his last day of school, and it was a half day, so he spent the rest of it with me. Natalie went to daycare as it was still “officially” a school week, and that’s where she always went on Fridays during the school year. So Luke and I had some quality time. We ate hot dogs for lunch, snacked on carrot sticks and hummus, and had a good talk about what it’s going to be like being home with Momma this summer. I told him that I expect him and Natalie to have fun and make messes, but to clean up the messes before moving onto the next. I’ll be monitoring them and scoring them using the reward chart app on my Kindle. They will be able to earn stars by cleaning up after themselves, putting away laundry, helping Momma, etc.
Luke is totally on board with this idea and he already had an idea for a reward to work towards. I was thinking smaller rewards, to keep it going on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, but he had something bigger in mind. He wants to go on vacation to Great Wolf Lodge. I want to know who told him about this place, and thank them (<sarcasm font>?), but he tells me he saw a commercial. When? He hardly ever watches tv? Ah, he must have been at Grandpa’s house. We’ll talk later.
Anyway, hopefully a vacation is big enough and exciting enough to dangle above their heads and keep them in line through the summer. We’ll see. I suspect Natalie will lose interest with the reward chart and end up just following Luke’s lead. They are very close, even though they are 2.5 years apart. Also, she loves a clean room, so sometimes that’s all the motivation she needs (she did inherit *some* of my traits).
Oh! I can’t leave you without mentioning the new friends we met! There is an older couple who live around the corner from us, and they remember when Mike was a little boy (he grew up in the house we live in). We ran into them last night at the park at the end of our street. Their grandchildren are visiting for the week, so they were letting them play. Today Luke asked to go over to their house to play, so I accompanied him so that I could exchange phone numbers and make sure it was okay. Turns out, the woman knows my old boss and his wife, and their children. Small world there. And, she knows ASL! Because she used to teach deaf children! Get out of town! So she was using all kinds of ASL with me, and was able to share in my excitement about my upcoming ci activation. And then we scheduled an official playdate next week with the kids at the local waterpark. So exciting.
Oh, and ice cream. Natalie and I whipped up some brownies after dinner and threw them in the oven. I sat down to wait, but 30 seconds later Luke comes to me, excited that Daddy is taking him to Quality Dairy to get an ice cream cone. Mike asks if I want to come too. I am a sucker for ice cream in a cone. So yes, I’m in. We got our ice cream and drove back home and I am trying to sit down to finish the melting messy thing, and Mike and Natalie are trying to get my attention. “What? I’m having a moment here!” They are pointing to the kitchen. Because the oven timer is going off. And of course I can’t hear it. Yup. The brownies are Done. Thankfully they were only in for a few minutes longer than they needed to be, and since I always plan to undercook my baked desserts, they turned out just fine.
I am absolutely loving my new life. Why? Because I’m IN it. No longer working my tail off for some unrealistic expectation or human ideal. Just enjoying my family and friends and all that that entails.
Have you ever read a book that you just can’t put down? I was an avid reader as a child, but that went away as I entered the “real world” and responsibilities moved in and crowded out any time or mental capacity to read for fun. Lately, however, I am rekindling that love of reading. It started with a book my mom let me borrow (via Amazon Kindle, which is cool). It was a book I couldn’t put down, and when I finished it I had to find more books by the same author to devour. See, I’m so used to my time being limited that I am not so willing to waste my time (or money, I suppose) on a book I won’t absolutely love. So finding an author I know I like helps.
The book that rekindled my love of reading was “Don’t Let Me Go” by Catherine Ryan Hyde. The next book I found of hers was “When I Found You”, and then “Walk Me Home”. Each of those were just as gripping as the first. But free books are not always readily found, so I took a short break. When I returned, I found a special on a book by Annalisa Grant, called The Lake. It’s a trilogy, which requires much more commitment than I was ready to hand over, but the first book was free, so I downloaded it (I only read books on my Kindle because with my poor vision, the contrast of black ink on white paper is too tiring). I forgot about the book for several weeks, but then just last week I saw it and decided to give it a shot. The rest is history. I’m half way through the second book ($3 on Amazon) and I am loving it. I have shed more tears from these books (happy cries as well as sad cries) than I ever have with any other book. The last time I remember crying his hard from a fictional story was years ago when I watched “P.S. I Love You” (I was crying so hard I had to pause the movie for several minutes, and then I think I may have called my mom for consolation).
So there we have it. Now that I’m not wasting my time with television, I’ve replaced that vice with books. It’s very hard to break away, but kids are persistent and not afraid to tell you what they want or need, so I’ve managed to balance my renewed addiction with making peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and painting nails. Natalie and I even had a lovely time this afternoon, snacking on carrot sticks and hummus and sugar snap peas.
My daughter just came to me, crying, and said that she didn’t want to die. I asked her why she thought she was gong to die, and she said, “from getting old over and over and over”.
Well, I suppose that is the most common way to die. However, usually it’s the older folk who are more worried about that. She must be an old soul.
I did reassure her that there is good news. The first being that she is rather young, and she has a long ways to go, and getting old over and over and over takes a very long time. That didn’t seem to help much, so I gave her the other good news, that people living with Jesus in their hearts get to live forever and ever, even after their bodies give out. And, since she knows she has Jesus living in her heart, she was very happy to hear about that. I don’t think she wants to go there quite yet, but she did agree heaven sounded pretty nice. And I reassured her Jesus is with her even right now, and she thought that was pretty cool too.
For the past month or so, I am realizing that I cannot remember hearing. I keep recalling memories from further back than ten months (when I lost my hearing), and they are different. I remember them as a deaf person, and then I am confused as I realize they happened before I went deaf. I can’t remember the voices of the people I was with, and I can’t remember listening to what they were saying. It’s like the memory has been altered, and now I remember sitting in silence. Yet, somehow I knew what was being discussed in each memory, but have no recollection of how I knew. That, I suppose, is the weirdest part. It’s sort of like a dream.
I’m just hoping that the memory of my family’s and friend’s voices is still lodged somewhere in the recesses of my brain, so that once my cochlear implant is turned on, I will able to hear them and recognize them again, just as it was before. It’s scary, because it’s getting harder and harder to remember as time goes on. I pray for God to give me dreams while I sleep, dreams in which I can hear them again. It hasn’t really happened yet, but I will be thankful when it does. I do have dreams where I can hear, but the people are usually acquaintances or people I knew from long ago.
The last dream I remember having was strange. I was home alone, and I opened a door to a room and in it were three cats. Two were cats we once had, Pele and Buster Brown, and the third was a white cat I had never seen before. I panicked a little because they had seemingly appeared out of nowhere. So I managed to remove the white cat from the house, and locked Pele and Buster back in the room. As I scurried to figure out what to do, I picked up the phone to call my friend, Sarah, but before she could answer I woke up from the dream. Only I was still sleeping. So it was a dream within a dream. And no human voices. I don’t even think I heard the cats’ meow. Very strange.
The last good memory I have from just before I went deaf is when we all went up to Marquette for the Independence Day holiday. That was such a great time with the kids. I remember all the places we went, and all the fun times we had up there, but I can’t for the life of me remember it with their voices and laughter. When I first lost my hearing, I had a lot of nightmares, and many of them involved our time up in Marquette. That was disheartening, because it was one of my most treasured memories at the time. I think that was one of the ways the devil was attacking me, and I would wake up each time with such fear and panic.
Thankfully, God took hold of those dreams and is protecting me now. God is so good. All the time.
Natalie’s last day of preschool is today, and they held a “graduation” celebration at a local park. We had a blast! The weather was perfect; nice and sunny, and not too warm. Natalie had so much fun playing on the playground that when they were told to come over and sing songs and be presented with their graduation certificates and caps, she immediately got her shorts in a bind. And left them that way for the entire thing. When the kids all stood in a line and sang songs, she stood with her back to all of us (see previous post). Arms crossed, there was no way she was participating. It was funny to see the kids on either side of her doing the motions to the songs, with her standing there so still and resolute. But I have to hand it to her, she is persistently committed.
Here she is pictured with her Chinese teacher, Susan Lao Shi (Ms. Susan). She was an excellent teacher for both Natalie and Luke, and I’ll definitely miss her. I didn’t get a picture of Natalie’s English teacher, but I’m equally appreciative of Miss Christy. Thank you both for all you do. You are wonderful!