summer. sunshine, chlorine, warm nights, hot blacktop, baseball, bike rides, ripening vegetables, salty beach air, bare feet and flip flops and staying up late and ice cream cones on the back porch and running through the sprinklers; barbeques and watermellon and flashlight tag and iced tea and climbing trees and counting the stars... it's a season replete with moments of the everyday miraculous. for a kid, it stretches out endlessly. two months of sunburnt freedom. its the perfect time to get down to the business of making some lasting memories.
sometimes we plan for those things. camping trips, visits to grandma, swimming lessons... and other times the memories jump out at you, out of the absolute blue, catching you completely off-guard and demanding flexibility, spontenaity, and aplomb. three much-sought-after qualities in a mom. take today for instance.
i put annika down for her nap at the usual time, and thought to myself what a blessing it was that she stayed in bed this time without the usual 4 or 5 times of peeking her head out the door and asking for a book, or water, or a hug. about a half an hour after i thought she was sound asleep, i happened to walk by her room and the door was slightly ajar, so i glanced in. there was a small, red person crouched in front of the nightstand, making what appeared to be a cross between chinese heiroglyphs and anasazi cave paintings on the flat front surface of the night table.
i gasped, and the small red person turned around. low and behold... annika. covered from head to toe with red paint. (who knew those little paint pots held SO MUCH paint!) so after a rather vigorous scrubbing in the bath, and an ACTUAL nap, we went outside for an art project. figuring, that it is best, rather than discouraging creativity, to channel it into something acceptable... or at least, easier to clean up. so we painted. wanna guess what color her house was? and her tree? and her penguin?
so... as the girls were winding down with the painting, the boys were wanting to be helpful, so i set them the task of watering the plants. all was going smoothly, and i had just taken the paint supplies into the house, when max came bursting through the backdoor demanding a plastic bag. MOMINEEDAPLASTICBAGNOOOOOOWWWWW!!!!!
what in the world for? i asked.
i rummaged around and came up with one of those plastic strawberry containers. it took about 10 minutes of silent concentration shot through with squeals of fright and military-style commands for owen to BLOCKHIM!, and max to GRABHIM! QUICK! they finally succeeded in getting the frog into the strawberry container.
after such an overwhelming victory, they, naturally had to jump up and down, hugging each other and retelling the story again and again. meanwhile, i was reddying a bucket. the frog was a lot larger than i had thought it would be, about 4 inches without its legs stretched out.
so the bucket was ready and we transfered freddie (they had gone through a list of possible names for the frog, throwing out lefrog, beans, and king arthur as not 'realistic' enough) to the bucket. we searched online for some info about frogs, and after a while came to the conclusion that we would have to release freddie back into the wild. the rigors of hunting down live insects for him every day were simply too great.
just about the time that we had decided to say goodbye to freddie, he decided he had had enough of the bucket. with one mightly leap, (perfectly timed, just as we were leaning in to say one last farewell) he sprang from his plastic prison and landed with a slosh on the kitchen floor. we all screamed. pandemonium. owen and max were devising strategies for catching freddie, annika was on the couch, jumping up and down and making a noise that was either a laugh or a fair impression of a hyperventelating seal, and i was ... well, we'll skip me.
owen decided a spatula would be a good way to try to lift the frog, and made a few tentative attempts. max tried to summon the courage to just pick it up, but every time he got close, frightened freddie just hopped away.
we finally managed to sort of scoop him up in the original strawberry container, and he made it back to his original home in the roots of the pear tree. best of luck to you, freddie. thanks for stopping by to make a memory with us; and thanks, Lord, for being a God of family. a God of laughter. a God of joy.