So we went to the pet store to buy "replacement" fish for those that have "passed on" recently. It used to be that whenever we would have a fish croak it was a tragedy for the girls.
The first fish that ever died, "Sunshine" got it's own hand painted box to be buried in, and a small solemn service in the backyard.
Today, we got home from the pet store and one of the new fishes was already dead. (I wonder if fish come with a warranty?) And so the biggest issue was the fussing between Mabel and Kenzo as to who got to use the net to get it out of the tank and then who got to flush it.
What happened to the compassion and concern? The only concern now is "IT IS MY TURN TO FLUSH THE FISH...YOU FLUSHED LAST TIME...I WANT TO SEE IT SWIRL..."
Made it through Day Two of the Beautiful Bride's excursion to Chicago. Only one fast food type meal...and that was only because (mostly) we were late getting from the pet store where we were buying some replacement fish back home to meet some friends at the pool.
Everyone got 98% clean in the bath and/or shower tonight so hopefully the only trauma tomorrow before church will be the "Daddy's doing the girls hair" fiasco...
I can just hear them now, "Daddy, that is not how Mommy does it...Daddy, why is that part sticking up...Daddy, Mommy never uses the scissors to brush my hair..."
But then, at the same time as these waves of fear and sadness whip over me, I also remember that these are kids that the God of the universe made. Maybe it is that we, as a society, tend to not value these challenged kids the same way that God does.
In Psalm 139 (by my rough paraphrase...) it says, "He made them in their mothers womb; He knew them before they were born; and He knew every minute of every day in their lives. " The truth of the matter is that He loves them just as He loves the kid who plays the piano concerto, or writes the brilliant short story, or hits a home run in baseball. He doesn't see them as different.
Today was the last day of Camp Will for Suzie, and as always they had their program for parents.
For whatever reason, this thing always tears me up big time. Just wallops me right upside the head.
And I am not terribly sure exactly why...
I guess it could be several things.
When I am there, I see a bunch of kids and families whom, quite frankly most of the time, have it harder than the average bear. I can see it in the weariness that comes from pushing a wheelchair, everywhere, all the time, forever...or the sense of knowing that today, even though you struggle to pick up that 95 pound child to put them in the bath, you hear a voice in the back of your head that says "you can't do this forever." Or perhaps it is in the bags under the eyes that are the sure sign of the exhaustion that comes from another night without sleep, because your child has another infection and has spiked a fever. Or maybe in the utter helplessness from knowing that you can't get your arms around why the seizures have started again.
Or maybe it is just the volume. The powerful images that come in seeing the assembling of a couple dozen kids, all with some (or many) really significant life changing, life challenging, and in some cases, life shortening problems.
Or perhaps, painfully possibly, it is that I see that kids, who are not part of the mainstream, who will always be seen as different...or less than...or not good enough...or an inconvenience...or worse...or just whatever...And I know that these kids...these beautiful, wonderful, loving, awkward, different, "looked down on," overlooked kids...are her "peer group."
So whatever the reason, sometimes, even as her Dad, it is just hard to see.
Well now I officially the Dad of two girls who have broken boards with their very own bodies. A few months ago as part of her karate classes, Kenzo broke one with her hand. Today at Camp Will, Suzie broke one with her foot.
Camp Will is a summer day camp for kids with special needs. As part of the activities today they had a tae kwon do demonstration, after which one of the instructors held up a board and Suzie snapped it like a twig. She brought it home and we are going to frame it...
...like my sweet angel Suzie said, "just like Kenzo's."
It was a great night in the old backyard last night...because we played kickball. It was the girls, and a cousin, and a couple of kids from up the street.
It had poured down rain all afternoon, so the grass was a little bit wet and slippery. More than once someone would round second base and end up tumbling towards third.
The leaves on the big trees were still dripping so anytime someone kicked the ball up into the tree and let it pinball down, there was a rain shower reprise for everyone underneath. We use badminton rackets for the bases and an over sized speckled ball to kick.
No one kept score, we ran faster than the mosquitoes, and played until it was too dark to see the ball rolled towards home.
It is so fun to see my kids and their friends play the same games I played...and I am glad that I can do it without needing hospitalization.