Monday, September 19, 2016

Lightening Your Load By Extending a Hand

   In the midst of my endless canning time, school time steps in without any subtleties and inserts its new sneaker firmly into our well-established routine. I'm still picking and canning tomatoes. This year I did a lot of pizza sauce since the tomatoes are free. I figure I make at least 50 pizzas a year. What if I had sauce for every one of them? Anyway, I'll be ready for fall when most of you are wrapping Christmas gifts.

   School, however, can't be ignored. Things shut down after Labor Day. The weekend before school started, Little Mister liked my spontaneous suggestion of a backyard picnic on a blanket by the swings. I could not have concocted a better idea had I spent all night planning one. The basket! The turkey sandwiches! The special drink that he has no idea is Kool Aid! Honestly, a strategic team of fun experts that couldn't have produced this grand a time. Secretly, my heart was a little dim with the knowledge that in a few short days I would put him on the bus for another year of preschool and speech therapy. While I'm grateful for all of the speech therapy he has gotten from the local school, there is still a part of me that feels no child should be experiencing their THIRD first day of school at the tender age of four. A child that age should be home baking cookies with mom, getting into things in the backyard and begging me for ice pops on joint trips to the store.

   Little Mister would like it just fine if we turned it down. He doesn't care if someone doesn't understand him when he talks. That's their problem, he figures. 

I like having fun at home, he tells me. 

"You have to understand," I say to his Dad, "I am extremely fun." 
He howls. 
What? Who wouldn't want to spend all day with some lady telling you to clean up your mess and to stop messing with the dog, he does not want to pull your sleigh. I sometimes yell. I have to yell because my house is loud.

Sandwiches, blue corn chips, guacamole. 
I have Morning Glories everywhere right now.
   Yet, the school has done so much good. He has made so much progress. You absolutely wouldn't send him if it wasn't the very best for thing him. I had to keep reminding myself. We send money to missions in other countries so that children with little opportunity can go to a school. Oh, the irony.

   In the midst of the first-day blues, I longed to take the focus off of my feelings of being deprived of what could have been Little Mister's last year home with mom. I needed to stop thinking about me and readjust my thinking to what is right for him, at least for right now. 

   On Sunday morning I heard the sound of a vehicle stalling at the nearby intersection. One of our ministries, if you can call it that, is helping the numerous people who break down on our busy road. I have lent out tools for changing flats to confused teens at an hour before midnight. It's a mission that chose us when we unknowingly purchased a home along a rural mini-intrastate. Out the kitchen window, I saw it was an older man with a nearly new truck that was overheating. I walk over and set him up with a bucket of water while he waited for his son to arrive and offered what help I could. 

   Later, when he returned the bucket, he tried to give me a cash tip. I wouldn't take it. 

"No, you take it, you don't find friends like this anymore," he told me. He threw it in my bucket and walked away. 

   "We're all just here to help each other," I hollered back. The simplicity of that truth rung in the air.
The first day...again.

   I sprinted up the steps into the house, feeling a little more "free" from "me". If I could effortlessly drop my routine to help strangers with car trouble, my own longings could surely take a backseat to doing what's best for my own child. It's true what they say. A pity party can be disbanded quickly when you reach out to help others What a blessing that I don't have to leave home to do it, and neither do you. 

   For my birthday, a good friend and fellow food lover gave me this wonderful book on making fun looking, healthy food for children: (Amazon affiliate link) What I love about this book is that all of the ingredients are things you likely have on hand, so you don't need to make special purchases. Also, the ideas are all healthy and animal-themed, so it's nice that your child recognizes what that pancake with eyes is supposed to be. Also, if you're not gifted enough to make any of them, it gives you some ideas, like this peach parrot I put together: 

  It's not perfect, but I kind of pride myself on posting recipes that I actually feed my family and that fit into a busy mom lifestyle. With two peaches, a knife, and a pair of scissors, this is fairly easy and fast. 


  1. Where's the 'like' button for this post??


  2. Little Mister looks happy, but I well know those feelings, having gone through the same thing with my first son.
    The picnic looked so cute, and makes a good memory.
    I love the "parrot"!

  3. Does his school have parent volunteers? I would be there all the time... I did that with our youngest who had the opportunity to go to Pre Kindergarten and then they hired me! :-) It was a perfect fit for me and I stayed 17 years and added 3 more in kindergarten before I "retired." It was difficult to watch moms put their 3 and 4 year-olds on the bus (I rode the bus as an aide, as well as worked in the classroom) and many had tears in their eyes as the doors closed. What is best is always right but not always easy. I think of you often and can picture your mornings. As for for supper every night, right? :-) Loved the picnic, parrot and that Little Mister's Smile!

    1. Yes, there are always volunteer opportunities, and I may consider getting more involved this year. You really served some serious time, Peggy! And a bus aide, too? That's one of the hardest jobs, I think. Since I've written this post, things have gotten a little easier although I would still rather things were different, at least for this year. Thanks for your kind words and helpful support!

  4. Love this, Monica! And a good reminder for me, cause I've felt like having a few pity parties myself lately. :) And love the peach parrot. So fun! I'm sure Matthew loved it.

    1. Thanks Lydia, and I guarantee, my pity parties are more pitiful than yours I'm sure! ;)


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