Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I've had my share of surprises in my life. Some were painful (who knew you couldn't point an activated firestarter gel bottle at your face and squeeze???) and some were great but almost gave me a heart attack (my sister from Memphis flew up for my 50th birthday and just walked into the room unannounced). I was ecstatic when Ed gave me my first Celtic harp a few years ago- what a wonderful surprise! I had an unwelcome surprise this past Sunday when I glanced down at my license plate and realized it was due to have registration renewed in August.

Of course, our major surprise in the recent past was the discovery at her birth that our new grandbaby was a girl!

I think Holiday Inn ran a series of commercials once with the theme, "The best surprise is no surprise." Sometimes that's true. But in general, I really enjoy surprises. When you become an adult, it's easy to lose that exciting feeling that anything could happen at any moment. I guess when you're little, that feeling is always positive because you can't think of anything bad that could happen. As an adult, we know that bad things can and do happen, and if you are a believer in Murphy's Law, bad things will happen. So we tend to lose that sense of the next surprise waiting around the corner.

There are some surprises that leap out at me, and then there are others that make their way slowly to the surface, and all at once I realize, "Hey! Look at that!" For instance, I am always surprised when I read our son Matt's blog. His intellect is totally amazing! Now as I write this, I don't want to sound as if I thought he was less smart or that he couldn't have written about such complex ideas. We always knew he was smart. But since he has reached adulthood, I still marvel at the way his brain works and how much creativity he has. If you are interested in computer programming and web site development or just technological ideas, you should check out his blog.

Matt also had to have dental surgery this week. The problem should have been taken care of when he was a young teenager, but alas, no one suggested it and now the situation was immediately in need of treatment. Matt went into the surgery and through the surgery with an adult attitude of acceptance. All I could think about was Matt as a little boy, having to have a baby tooth pulled (a painful thing, since it had an extremely long root), and wanting to give half the tooth fairy money to his sister. Exactly when was it that he grew up?

One of the running jokes in our family is the definition of swine. It has always been a desire of mine to consider every occasion a teaching experience and to make sure our children are literate. I am not referring to the ability to read, of course, but to a possession of a general knowledge that I feel literate adults should have in our society. This particular joke started in a local restaurant when I was eating with the kids and their spouses. We were discussing the proverb, "Don't throw pearls before swine," and I took it upon myself to ask the them (the kids, not the swine) if they knew what swine were. Well, what the heck did I know?! They didn't grow up on a farm! How many times in their lives would they have had an opportunity to learn what "swine" meant? I was immediately reprimanded for my audacity in asking such a stupid question. Of course they knew what "swine" meant! They were college-educated adults, for goodness' sake! They still bring that up and are still amazed that I was surprised at their knowledge. What do I know? I still call them "kids," as you can see!

I had one of those sneak-up-on-you surprises this week as I stayed with our daughter and son-in-law to help out with our 2-1/2-year-old granddaughter Caroline and the new baby Charlotte. Our daughter, Rachel, has always been more on the stubborn side, with little flexibility and little tolerance for disappointments and changes in plans. She has many virtues, but I never would have put patience at the top of the list! Having said that, this week I have seen Rachel handling with utmost patience and calm her overturned household, undone chores, lack of sleep, C-section recovery, crying baby, whining toddler, and of course, me, her temporary live-in mother. I have seen things that would drive anyone else to a hair-pulling nervous breakdown, and Rachel just smiled and did what needed to be done. I raised a girl and it took me this long to really, I mean really, see the woman she has become.

What a blessing it is when we get to see our "kids" as adults - intelligent, wise, patient, skilled, taking on that which needs to be done with minimal complaining, exhibiting the serenity of acceptance on an adult level. We raised them both, and I like to think we had something to do with the adults they have become.

Yeah, I kind of like surprises!

1 comment:

Tif said...

Just wait til Caroline and Charlotte are teenagers. Then we'll see how calm Rachel is!