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Look carefully...at the seemingly small moments...in the constant shaping of souls.- Neal A.Maxwell

Cleaning out my inbox I found an e-mail I sent myself, while in Utah, of something I wanted to write in my journal at home.

"B is 13.  While in Utah he built an elaborate Lego house.  He wanted to save it til next year.  My dad and I are saving it.  I don't know if he will care about it when he is 14.  It tears me up thinking about it.  Dad said that he doesn't remember the last time he played with something but that it was okay because the interest is no longer there.  He said, with tears in his eyes, that the thinking of the future is harder than the actual future.  He said when you are there it is normal."

B is 14, we will be going to Utah this summer.  I will be interested to see his reaction to the Lego house.

     Today, Mother's Day, 14-year B old handed me an envelope and said, "The card is from me and J."  "J?"  I asked.  "Yeah, since he's in Idaho he asked me to get one for you."
     I opened the envelope and took out the card.  It read: "We both put a great effort into getting you this card.  I went to the store, picked out the card, paid for it, brought it home, and I moved the card while he held out his pen to make his signature!  Happy Mother's Day from 'Both of Us' "  The card had no signatures.
     The card made me laugh.  As did the letter from B that was also inside the envelope.  It started, "...I've decided to write in my specialty of Haiku's and write one for each year you've cared for me.  I'm very glad I am not 50."  This was followed by 14 Haiku's - 5 in neat, tidy right-handed writing, 9 in labored difficult to read left-handed writing.  The letter was started Friday in school.  It was finished late this weekend.
     B's favorite game is soccer, his favorite position is defender.  He runs fast and plays hard.  A little too hard Saturday.  Shortly before half-time B and an opponent collided and both ended on the ground.  The opponent popped right back up, B stayed down.  When he did get up he was holding his arm.  He briefly spoke to the ref and then, still holding his arm, walked off the field.  B said he thought his arm was okay but a team-mate's dad, and local Dr., looked at B's arm and recommended we go in for x-rays. 
     On the way to immediate care the initial physical shock from the injury wore off and B's arm began to really hurt.  Once inside, sitting on an exam table waiting for x-rays, B could not find a comfortable position.  He asked if he could rest his feet on my legs because the table was too high for his feet to touch the floor.  I scooted my chair closer and he set his feet on my knees.  I don't know if you have you ever smelled soccer cleats of a teenage boy, I don't recommend it.  One whiff and I made an exaggerated expression while fanning my hand in front of my nose.  B started to laugh and said, "They can't be that bad."  I nodded my head and further exaggerated my expression.  B laughed harder and said, "Don't make me laugh it makes my arm hurt."  I kept the expression and said, "You think you're in pain."  He laughed harder.
     One of the nine left-handed Haiku's:
          "You laugh at my pain
          "but are still considerate
          "It is so funny." 
(at least I think it says "funny", it might say "fumey", hard to tell.)
     X-rays taken.  Wrist broken.  Waiting for the splint to harden so we can go home.  I learn that B was yellow carded because of the collision.  I asked why.  He said he was frustrated with how the game was going and he let the frustration out on the field.  I nodded and said, "In the next week or two, you are going to get a lecture."  Being the youngest of three brothers and being observant has resulted in the need for very few lectures for B, he is pretty good at learning through observation of others.  B sighed and said, "Just give it to me now."  "Okay," I said, "Even if you're frustrated you can't..."  "I know," Bryce interrupted quietly, "I already realized that."  "What if the other boy was the one with the broken arm?" I gently asked.  "I was thinking the same thing," B responded, "I don't think I would be up to playing soccer again, at least not for awhile, I would feel too bad."  The lecture was over.  I knew B's kind heart had already starting teaching him what I hoped he would learn from the experience.
     After applying the splint the nurse said she would be back in 5-10 minutes to check on it, until then B was supposed to hold his arm upright and not rest it on anything.  We waited, and waited.  B commented that 10 minutes seemed like 20.  He asked if he could take his cleats off.  I told him that would be cruel and unusual punishment for anyone that came in the room after us.  We both found the thought of that funny and started laughing again.
          "You make others laugh
          "When you don't feel like laughing
          "Thanks for that."
     I'm glad B thanked me for laughter.  Years ago, 4 or 5 year old B had a bad case of stomach flu.  I was reading to him while holding him on my lap.  Occasionally he would jump up and run to the bathroom to throw-up.  On one of his bathroom runs he did not make it to the commode.  I heard the splat of fluid on the linoleum and then a crash as the still running B slid on the now wet floor and hit the wall.  I ran to see a puke covered but otherwise unhurt boy lying on the floor.  I started laughing as I picked him up and helped him into the tub.  13 or 14 year old J said, "Mom! you shouldn't be laughing."  B looked up from the tub and said with a smile, "It's okay, I'm used to it."
     J should have been used to it.  I had severe morning sickness for months when I was expecting C.  During that time  3 year old J caught a tummy bug.  I was sitting on the couch with him on my lap when I heard him make a pre-gagging noise.  I grabbed his blanket and put it in front of him.  He pushed the blanket aside and leaned toward the couch.  Not wanting to soil the couch I turned his head toward me and headed toward the bathroom.  Before we made it he started throwing up all over me.  I stood him in front of the commode where he continued puking, both of us dripping wet and me quite naseous.  The phone started to ring, it was more than I could take.  I leaned against wall and started laughing at the whole situation.  J looked up with sad eyes and said, "This is the worst day of my life and you just stand there laughing." 
     Maybe it was because he was experienced with the situation that J wanted to spare B.
     "Would you be willing to use just water on your hair for a week or two?" asked my doctor.  "Probably not,"  I replied.  She laughed and said, "I didn't think so."  Once home I thought, "I'm allergic to something, I went to the doctor for help, I should be willing to do what she asked to try and figure this out."  Thus began a month of being shampoo/conditioner free (except for occasional dilute apple cider vinegar and olive oil - yep, a walking salad).   
     Yesterday I spent a number of hours at a windy track meet.  Last night combing out wind blown tangles I decided to try using just a little shampoo.  I was surprised at how delightful using shampoo was and I realized that I have gone my whole life taking such a luxury for granted.  I wondered what other luxuries I haven't  recognized and started making a mental list.  Still working on the list I ran the garbage out to the curb (having a truck pick garbage up once a week, definitely on the list).  Two friends pulled into the driveway just as I was headed out the door.  I left the door open and told them to go on in and I would join them in a moment.
     When I stepped back into the house the first thing one of my friends, who currently lives in an RV parked on gravel, said was, "Do you realize what a luxury you have to be able to go out and walk barefoot on cement?  She used the word luxury at the very time I was thinking of luxuries.  I had not thought sidewalks - I added them to the ever growing list.


but - what if...
     My husband and 14-year old walked the mile and a half home from church today so I could drive the truck home after choir practice.  Sweet gesture but I had no keys.  A friend gave me a ride home.  My husband and 18-year old both offered to drive to church to get the truck.  It was a beautiful day so I said that I would enjoy the walk back to get it.
     Not far from home I met a woman I frequently see out walking but have never had the chance to talk with.  "My name is S, do you like the sun?" She said.  "My name is C, I do like the sun - it's a beautiful day."  I replied.  We began walking together.  "Do you watch television?"  She asked.  "I don't have TV."  I answered.  "What do you do then?  Do you read?  What kind of books do you like?"  I talked about my books for a moment and then asked, "Do you like to read?"  "I like television." was her response.  "What do you like to watch?" I inquired.  "I like 'The Brady Brunch'," she replied.  We spent the next 5 or so minutes discussing which boy and which girl was our favorite, whether or not the parents were too strict, the kindness of Alice, whether we liked when the kids were little or when they were older... We came to an intersection, I was going straight, S was turning left.  As she was walking away I heard her address someone sitting in their yard, "Do you like the sun?"
     I have been praying that a loved one who lives away from me would find a friend close-by.  My prayers have caused me to wonder if others are praying for friends for their loved ones, and maybe I could be part of their answer.  Too often "what-ifs" get in my way - "What if they are too busy?" "What if I have nothing of interest to offer?" "What if...."  I thoroughly enjoyed my walk with S and I appreciated her example of ignoring the "What if's" and asking, "Do you like the sun?"

it works - for now
     "Mom, watch I can clear the vacuum!" were the words I came home to one day.  Middle-school aged J then proceeded to show me that he could hurdle over our new vacuum.  "Impressive," I said.  "However, I don't think you will be too impressed if you need to pay for a replacement vacuum if you break this one.  J thought for a moment, put the vacuum away and stacked couch and chair cushions in its place.  Thus began a tradition of cushion leaping in our home that continued until about 4 years ago.  The boys would start with one cushion and keep adding them, one at at time, until they could no longer clear the stack.  Not surprisingly J joined track in long jump and high jump.  C joined in long jump, high hurdles, and this year added pole vault.  Today was B's first meet in his first year of track.  He is eclectic in his interests: sprinting, shot put, long jump (when the pit dries and the sand is no longer cement hard) and high jump.  Eclectic is also a good description of his high jump form, influenced some by the Western Roll, some by the Fosbury Flop and some by inexperience.  And yet - he kept clearing the bar.  It got down to two jumpers, 8th grade, 5'9" B and an almost 5' 7th grader with an impeccable Fosbury Flop. They both easily cleared 4'4" and again 4'6".  They both missed their first try on 4'8".  After his miss C went up to B and talked to him for a minute.  B shrugged, "Okay," in response.  On his next run he ran straight at the bar, rather than approaching it from the side, and jumped feet first - just like he was cushion jumping.  He cleared 4'8", the 7th grader did not.  B approached and cleared 4'10" in the same couch cushion manner.  At 5' B would run at the bar and then stop short just before jumping.  After approaching this way a few times C called out, "You already won - there's no pressure, just jump."  That helped clear B's mind.  He was not able to clear 5' but he was able to complete his three attempts.
     Walking home I asked B what C had said to him, thinking that it had something to do with the cushions.  I was wrong, C had said, "You're bigger than that kid, there's no reason you can't jump higher than him, just go for it."  B paused for a minute and then added, "That boy was really good at the Fosberry Flop.  I don't think I can progress unless I learn to do that properly."
     I am in total agreement.  However, it was fun to have a temporary flashback in time.

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