Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Not With a Bang but a Whimper

Today was the end of the world.  

Just ask Faye.  

I told her it was time to clean her room.  I don't know what that girl is thinking, but it seems every time she gets dressed, she has to take all of her clothes out of her drawers and off her hangers and strategically carpet her floor with them.  It gets old.  Fast.  Then, when it is time to clean up her room because I can no longer walk in there or stand the mess, she throws an Academy Award worthy fit and cries like an actress.

Today I told her I wouldn't clean for her.  I sat on the floor and pointed out what needed to be done, because she still has a hard time knowing what to do next. Especially when the mess is overwhelming.  And so there I sat, pointing, and acting like a scratched cd saying the same thing over and over and over. She threw a fit every time I pointed to an object and told her where it goes.  She stuck out her tongue at me and blew so many raspberries, I began to worry the vibrations would damage her tongue.  She point blank ignored me whilst throwing herself to the floor in agony complaining that her legs were soooo tired and couldn't move anymore. After an hour or so of putting up with that abuse, she threw an etch a sketch at me and put a large dent in the wall.  I told her I couldn't help her anymore if she was going to treat me like that, and that I would love for her to join us for lunch as soon as her room was cleaned up.

That is when the world ended.  

At 12:43 this afternoon.

Eventually she came and apologized and we finished up with her room.  To celebrate, we decided to go outside.  I wanted to get things ready for the lovely snowstorm we are promised on Thursday, and she and Beth were just happy to frolic in the leaves.

My dad came by with his wood chipper.  Earlier in the fall he helped me cut down some bushes.  Not cut them down as in pull them out, just manage them so they didn't suck unsuspecting children into their deep dark bowels.  And so, my yard has been littered with bush branches for the past month or so. While I was helping my dad, the kids and a neighbor got together and built a fort out of the branches.  I told them they could keep the fort up until the Spring when we would order a dumpster from the city to have them hauled away, and each and every one of those kids did a happy dance right there.  I fulfilled their Christmas wish and I didn't even know it!

When it finally got dark outside, they all came in for some cocoa and soup. They chattered on about the plans for their fortress and how wonderful it is going to be.  Then while I baked bread, all three of my kidlets climbed into the bathtub and splashed around happily.  It was music to my ears.

After her bath, Beth went to sleep immediately, and Keith, Faye and I sat on the couch listening to Keith read to us Harry Potter. That insane aroma of baking bread washed over us as Keith tried so carefully to get his voice inflections right, painting a picture of danger and excitement for us. When both kids began telling me they were tired, I sent Keith down to get Jeffrey for family prayer and continued to sit with Faye.  She laid her head on my arm while I took care of some things for primary.  At one point her little elbow was digging persistently into my leg, so I shifted and saw that she was sound asleep.  It was too precious!  I picked her up and her fresh clean bath scent with her sleepy arms around my neck nearly overpowered me. I love that girl so much, and I really miss spending alone time with her. That is something I plan to fix very soon.  Jeffrey and I are trying to simplify Christmas, so rather than give stuff, we are planning on giving our time.  I am planning to make Faye an apron and give her cooking lessons.  Every Sunday after church she will don her apron and join me for a baking session.  I am sure we will bake all kinds of yummy treats, and I am completely okay with that.  For Keith, Jeffrey and I are discussing them having a game time.  While Faye and I bake, the boys can be playing board games. Keith is obsessed with Jeffrey's Axis and Allies or Risk games.  Also, he loves chess.  It will be a wonderful bonding experience for both of them, and I am actually quite excited for this simplified Christmas.  Who knows, maybe it will stick. If not, at least we will create some wonderful traditions and memories from it.  Long tangent later, I finished breathing in my little girl, tucked her into her bed and tenderly kissed her forehead while she snuggled down into the pillow. It was a picture of the sweetest contentment and I didn't want to leave.

Today was a rare and much prized Golden afternoon.  

Autumn seems to have the loveliest Golden Afternoons. No other time of year can quite compare, simply because all the other afternoons just aren't golden. There are nice afternoons in the winter, spring and summer months, but in my mind, they cannot be classified as golden because that haze of delirium simply does not exist except in the autumn. Add to that the crunching leaves, the spicy smell of hearth fires wafting through the trees, the musty leaves slowly decomposing in forgotten and hidden corners, and the invigorating fresh air coupled with children's laughter and squeals of leaf jumping and you have a recipe for an absolutely perfect afternoon.

All in the golden afternoon
Full leisurely we glide;
...While little hands make vain pretense
Our wanderings to guide
~C.S. Lewis

I tell my kids if a leaf falls on them from a tree it is good luck.  Double dog good luck. 
And so when we go for walks or spend any time outside, they insist on walking beneath the trees in hopes a leaf will fall on them.

Sometimes they will keep the leaves until they are dry and brittle and crumble at the slightest touch, and then I wonder how on earth so many leaf bits got all over their room until I remember.  It was a lucky leaf that touched them, so of course they had to save it. Because they are kids and lucky leaves are magic, as is everything when you are a child.

Days like this make me happy.  And yet, somehow, they make me think of T.S. Eliot's The Hollow Men

....This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

I am sorry to contradict you, Mr. Eliot, but the world did indeed end with a bang today.  A great and glorious golden bang.

Just ask Faye.

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