There are those times in life in which storms blow and we struggle not to get lost in the noise and confusion, but the storm always passes and as the rain drops are still clinging to the leaves, the sun breaks through the clouds. We crawl out from our shelter and feel the refreshed air on our faces as we soak up the warmth. For a while we will have a respite.
That is how I have felt this week. After being overwhelmed by the devastation I saw last week, maybe I needed some time for nothing to happen. I needed the contrast of the quietness of solitude up against the noise of chainsaws and piles of debris. In truth, this is a week just like most others. I really hasn't been particularly quiet or slow, but I think the shocking reality of Joplin maybe has caused us all to better appreciate and enjoy what we have.
It is summer. School is out and days are long. T-ball and baseball rule our evenings. While I work, the family treks to the pool. The two oldest are swimming semi-competitively. They brought home their first ribbons. Actually Karlye brought them by the office so they could display them with pride. Caleb had a blue and two reds, Will a white. They love the water. They get that from their mother. I go to the pool only under coercion. Maybe if I still had the body I had at 24, I'd enjoy it more. I think though that I still would be no fan of the pool. I have too many memories of bad experiences at the pool as a child. Swim lessons where I was more worried of drowning than I was interested in learning not to. The night I lay crying at my aunts house with blisters on my sunburnt shoulders after too long in the sun at the pool with my cousins. Some inner fear still possess me at the though of public swimming. Just another strange quirk I developed over the years.
My boys are growing up. Now they are baseball superstars. It is fun to watch their enthusiasm. For them, this is the big leagues. I realize that I have never taken them to a professional ball game. I think it is time to rectify that. Hopefully they will have gotten some athletic gene from their mother, because they certainly haven't got much of a chance that I passed one on to them.
Caleb is the most competitive of all our children. He cannot stand to lose. There is a drive in that kid. I often wonder what he can accomplish in life if he can stay focused.
Will seems to enjoy himself but tends to show signs of absent mindedness that his mother blames on me for some reason. He more than the others wants to please us. He cares the most what we think of him. I've said before that I see a lot of myself in him. Maybe it's a firstborn thing. He basks in our praise. I am afraid sometimes I am to slow to give it. That is something I have to remind myself of. It is to easy to come down hardest on him.
Josiah is his own special character with little quirks and idiosyncrasies. He wants to prove that he is just as big as his brothers and is often frustrated at feeling just a little too young to fit in to their big kid world. At the same time he marches to the beat of his own drum. I am glad because I want him to stand on his own merit.
I think it is wonderful to be in this time of life with boys enjoying the spring of youth, unsullied by the world in full possession of their innocence. Sometimes I think that they are at the perfect age, when life is simple and summer is a time to relax and be free to be a kid. Soon they will want more. They will yearn for adulthood not knowing that forever they will try to get back the magical freedom of childhood.
I'll take each day as it comes and pray that these times will be ones that they will remember as better than the reality. I'll let them bask in their glory as the great athletes they imagine themselves. I won't be one of those parents who yells at coaches or get on their case if they let a ball roll past them. I want to encourage them to give their best effort. I also want them to realize that some times, it really is just a game and if you can't enjoy it, then you'd be better off not wasting your time.